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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Hygienists in Clarksville, Tennessee

Dental hygienists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Clarksville, Tennessee area. About 3,040 people are currently employed as dental hygienists in Tennessee. By 2016, this is expected to grow 25% to about 3,790 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for dental hygienists are expected to grow by about 36.1%. In general, dental hygienists clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease.

Dental hygienists earn approximately $27 hourly or $58,040 per year on average in Tennessee. Nationally they average about $32 hourly or $66,570 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Dental, people working as dental hygienists in Tennessee earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Dental nationally. People working as dental hygienists can fill a number of jobs, such as: oral hygienist, hygienist, and dental nurse.

The Clarksville area is home to twelve schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Clarksville where you can get a degree as a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so you can expect to spend about two years studying to be a dental hygienist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Dental Hygienist

Dental Hygienist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, dental hygienists clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. They also may educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop X-rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.

Dental hygienists furnish clinical services and health education to further optimize and maintain the oral health of patients and the general public. They also clean calcareous deposits and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums, using dental instruments. Equally important, dental hygienists have to feel and visually examine gums for sores and signs of disease. They are often called upon to record and review patient medical histories. They are expected to examine gums, using probes, to identify periodontal recessed gums and signs of gum disease. Finally, dental hygienists remove excess cement from coronal surfaces of teeth.

Every day, dental hygienists are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for dental hygienists to feel lymph nodes under patient's chin to uncover swelling or tenderness that could indicate presence of oral cancer. They are often called upon to maintain patient recall system. They also expose and develop x-ray film. They are sometimes expected to chart conditions of decay and disease for diagnosis and treatment by dentist. Somewhat less frequently, dental hygienists are also expected to conduct dental health clinics for community groups to augment services of dentist.

Dental hygienists sometimes are asked to apply fluorides and other cavity preventing agents to arrest dental decay. They also have to be able to administer local anesthetic agents and make impressions for study casts. And finally, they sometimes have to place and remove rubber dams and temporary restorations.

Like many other jobs, dental hygienists must be reliable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Clarksville include:

  • Licensed Practical Nurse. Care for ill, injured, or disabled persons in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Licensing required.
  • Respiratory Therapist. Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, and operate equipment.
  • Surgical Technician. Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. May help set up operating room, prepare and transport patients for surgery, adjust lights and equipment, pass instruments and other supplies to surgeons and surgeon's assistants, hold retractors, and help count sponges, needles, and instruments.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Dental Hygienist Training

Tennessee State University - Nashville, TN

Tennessee State University, 3500 John Merritt Blvd, Nashville, TN 37209-1561. Tennessee State University is a medium sized university located in Nashville, Tennessee. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 8,005 students and an admission rate of 46%. Tennessee State University has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated thirty-two and nine students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Associate Fellow: Your Associate Fellow certificate lets your patients know that you are an experienced, credentialed implant professional.

For more information, see the American Academy of Implant Dentistry website.

Certified Dental Technician: Certification is the process of assessing a dental technician's knowledge and applied skill level necessary to perform the tasks required of a dental technician.

For more information, see the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology website.

LICENSES

DENTAL HYGIENIST

Licensing agency: Board of Dentistry
Address: Division of Health Related Boards, Department of Health, Cordell Hull Bldg 1st Floor, 425 Fifth Av North, Nashville, TN 37247-1010

Phone: (615) 532-3202
Website: Board of Dentistry Division of Health Related Boards Department of Health

LOCATION INFORMATION: Clarksville, Tennessee

Clarksville, Tennessee
Clarksville, Tennessee photo by Avala

Clarksville is situated in Montgomery County, Tennessee. It has a population of over 119,735, which has grown by 15.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Clarksville, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Clarksville cost $97,300 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, six hundred thirty-five new homes were built in Clarksville, down from 1,038 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Clarksville are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 24 minutes. More than 19.8% of Clarksville residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Clarksville is 8.8%, which is less than Tennessee's average of 10.2%.

The percentage of Clarksville residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 45.3%, is less than both the national and state average. Spring Creek Church, South Chapel and Saint John Baptist Church are among the churches located in Clarksville. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Clarksville is home to the Industrial Historic District and the Trice Landing as well as Fairgrounds Park and New Providence Recreation Area. Shopping malls in the area include Governors Square Mall Shopping Center, Clarksville Square Shopping Center and Two Rivers Mall Shopping Center. Visitors to Clarksville can choose from Comfort Inn North, Hampton Inn Clarksville and Guesthouse Clarksville for temporary stays in the area.