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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Hygienists in San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for dental hygienists. Currently, 9,210 people work as dental hygienists in Texas. This is expected to grow 39% to 12,760 people by 2016. This is better than 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 about $33 hourly or $69,670 per year on average in Texas and about $32 per hour or $66,570 annually on average nationally. Earnings for dental hygienists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Dental in Texas and not quite as good as general Dental category earnings nationally. Dental hygienists work in a variety of jobs, including: oral hygienist, hygienist, and dental nurse.

The San Antonio area is home to forty schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of San Antonio where you can get a degree as a dental hygienist. Given that the most common education level for dental hygienists is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, 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 San Antonio include:

  • Dentist. Diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums and related oral structures. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting vitality of teeth.
  • 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.
  • Nuclear Medical Technologist. Prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies utilizing a variety of radioisotope equipment. Prepare stock solutions of radioactive materials and calculate doses to be administered by radiologists. Subject patients to radiation. Execute blood volume, red cell survival, and fat absorption studies following standard laboratory techniques.
  • Radiation Therapist. Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards. Duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices; and maintaining records, reports, and files. May assist in dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.
  • Radiological Technician. Maintain and use equipment and supplies necessary to demonstrate portions of the human body on x-ray film or fluoroscopic screen for diagnostic purposes.
  • Radiology Technologist. Take x-rays and Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT or CT) scans or administer nonradioactive materials into patient's blood stream for diagnostic purposes. Includes technologists who specialize in other modalities, such as computed tomography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance.
  • 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

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio - San Antonio, TX

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Dr, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is a small university located in San Antonio, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,023 students and an admission rate of 19%. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated thirty-three and one 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: Texas State Board of Dental Examiners
Address: 333 Guadalupe, Tower III, Suite 800, Austin, TX 78701

Phone: (512) 463-6400
Website: Texas State Board of Dental Examiners

LOCATION INFORMATION: San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas photo by Zereshk

San Antonio is situated in Bexar County, Texas. It has a population of over 1,351,305, which has grown by 18.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in San Antonio, 80, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in San Antonio are valued at $174,900 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, 2,665 new homes were constructed in San Antonio, down from 4,253 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in San Antonio are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 24 minutes. More than 21.6% of San Antonio residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in San Antonio is 6.6%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of San Antonio residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 65.1%, is more than both the national and state average. El Buen Samaritano United Methodist Church, Pentecostal Holiness Church and Pentecostal Home Missionary Church are all churches located in San Antonio. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

San Antonio is home to the Monte Vista Residential Historic District and the Main and Military Plazas Historic District as well as Kennedy Park and Buckeye Park. Shopping centers in the area include Windsor Park Mall, Windsor Park Shopping Center and Wonderland Shopping Center. Visitors to San Antonio can choose from Alpha Hotel, Alamo Executive Suites Inc and Chevy Chase Apartments & Townhomes for temporary stays in the area.