A dental hygienist is a licensed dental professional who specializes in preventive oral health, typically focusing on techniques in oral hygiene. Local dental regulations determine the scope of practice of dental hygienists. In most jurisdictions, hygienists work for a dentist, and some are licensed to administer local anesthesia. Common procedures performed by hygienists include cleanings known as prophylaxis, scaling and root planing for patients with periodontal disease, taking of prescribed radiographs, dental sealants, administration of fluoride, and providing instructions for proper oral hygiene and care.Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_hygienist Last Updated: February 26, 2014, 9:55 pm
Dental hygienists typically need an associate’s degree in dental hygiene. Bachelor's degrees in dental hygiene are also available, but are less common. A bachelor's or master's degree is usually required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs.
Almost all dental hygienists work in dentists’ offices. They work closely with dentists and dental assistants. Dental hygienists wear safety glasses, surgical masks, and gloves to protect themselves and patients from infectious diseases. When taking x rays, they follow strict procedures to protect themselves and patients. They may spend long periods bending over to work on patients.