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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Hygienists in Provo, Utah

Provo, Utah provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for dental hygienists. Currently, 1,380 people work as dental hygienists in Utah. This is expected to grow 53% to 2,110 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.

The income of a dental hygienist is about $31 per hour or $65,860 per year on average in Utah. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $32 hourly or $66,570 annually on average. Incomes for dental hygienists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Dental in Utah, and not quite as good as the overall Dental category nationally. People working as dental hygienists can fill a number of jobs, such as: dental nurse, oral hygienist, and hygienist.

The Provo area is home to thirty-five schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Provo 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, it will take about two years to learn to be a dental hygienist if you already have a high school diploma.


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 Provo 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Utah Valley University - Orem, UT

Utah Valley University, 800 W University Parkway, Orem, UT 84058-5999. Utah Valley University is a large university located in Orem, Utah. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 26,696 students. Utah Valley University has an associate's degree program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated fourteen students in 2008.

Salt Lake Community College - Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake Community College, 4600 S Redwood Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84123. Salt Lake Community College is a large college located in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 29,539 students. Salt Lake Community College has an associate's degree program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated twenty-two students in 2008.

Careers Unlimited - Orem, UT

Careers Unlimited, 1176 South 1480 West, Orem, UT 84058. Careers Unlimited is a small school located in Orem, Utah. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 75 students and an admission rate of 100%. Careers Unlimited has an associate's degree program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated twenty-two students in 2008.


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.



Licensing agency: Department of Commerce
Address: Division of Occupational and Professional, Licensing, 160 E 300 S, P.O. Box 45805, Salt Lake City, UT 84145

Phone: (801) 530-6628
Website: Department of Commerce Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing


Provo, Utah
Provo, Utah photo by Emes

Provo is situated in Utah County, Utah. It has a population of over 118,581, which has grown by 12.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Provo, 92, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Provo cost $296,100 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, fifty-seven new homes were built in Provo, down from one hundred eighty-one the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Provo are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 35.7% of Provo residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Provo is 6.4%, which is greater than Utah's average of 6.3%.

The percentage of Provo residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 89.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventist Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are all churches located in Provo. The most prominent religious groups are the LDS (Mormon) Church, the Catholic Church and the Assemblies of God.

Provo is home to the Provo Temple and the Lakeside Campground as well as Utah Lake State Park and Cougar Stadium. Visitors to Provo can choose from Amenity Motor Inn, Hines Mansion Bed & Breakfast and Travelodge for temporary stays in the area.