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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Hygienists in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

There are many career and education opportunities for dental hygienists in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. Currently, 4,170 people work as dental hygienists in Wisconsin. This is expected to grow by 31% to about 5,470 people by 2016. 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.

The income of a dental hygienist is about $29 per hour or $60,570 annually on average in Wisconsin. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $32 per hour or $66,570 annually on average. Incomes for dental hygienists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Dental in Wisconsin, and not quite as good as the overall Dental category nationally. Dental hygienists work in a variety of jobs, including: dental nurse, registered dental hygienist , and oral hygienist.

There are thirty-nine schools of higher education in the Milwaukee area, including two within twenty-five miles of Milwaukee where you can get a degree to start your career as a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so 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 Milwaukee 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.
  • 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.


Milwaukee Area Technical College - Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee Area Technical College, 700 W State St, Milwaukee, WI 53233-1443. Milwaukee Area Technical College is a large college located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 18,780 students and an admission rate of 54%. Milwaukee Area Technical College has an associate's degree program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated thirty-seven students in 2008.

Waukesha County Technical College - Pewaukee, WI

Waukesha County Technical College, 800 Main Street, Pewaukee, WI 53072-4601. Waukesha County Technical College is a medium sized college located in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,955 students. Waukesha County Technical College 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: Dept of Regulation & Licensing
Address: Health Professions Bureau, 1400 E. Washington Ave., P.O. Box 8935, Madison, WI 53708-8935

Phone: (608) 266-5511
Website: Dept of Regulation & Licensing Health Professions Bureau

LOCATION INFORMATION: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin photo by Towpilot

Milwaukee is located in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. It has a population of over 604,477, which has grown by 1.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Milwaukee, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Milwaukee cost $167,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, ninety-six new homes were built in Milwaukee, down from one hundred sixty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Milwaukee are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is administrative and support and waste management services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 18.3% of Milwaukee residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Milwaukee is 10.6%, which is greater than Wisconsin's average of 7.7%.

The percentage of Milwaukee residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 47.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Church of the Epiphany, Saint Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church and German Full Gospel Church are among the churches located in Milwaukee. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Milwaukee is home to the Caroline Hall and the Wood as well as Cannon Park and Fifth Ward Playground. Shopping malls in the area include Juneau Village Shopping Center, Times Square Shopping Center and Grand Avenue Mall Shopping Center. Visitors to Milwaukee can choose from Edge-O-Town Motel, Manor House Hotel and Days Inn West Allis for temporary stays in the area.