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What Different Career Paths Does a Dental Hygienist Have? Dentistry, Orthodontics, and More

Posted in Articles, Dental Hygienist.

You might assume that the career path as a dental hygienist is one-track. But you’d be wrong. If you’re enrolled (or thinking of enrolling) in a dental hygiene program then it’s good news for your career prospects.

Open wide and come with us as we explore the different career paths you can take as a certified dental hygienist. You might be surprised.


It’s no secret that the demand for dental hygienists is on the rise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US, the job outlook is expected to rise there by 11%. This is much faster than the average when compared to other industries and job roles.

This means that the career prospects in dentistry as a dental hygienist are incredibly promising. This career path would involve putting all your skills learned in the classroom and on the job to work in a working dental office. You would be seeing patients and assisting the dentist by removing plaque, taking X-rays and educating patients on good oral hygiene.


Orthodontics is a branch of specialized dentistry that deals with the diagnosis and correction of misaligned teeth. This particular career path would involve seeing patients to provide advice and corrective procedures for teeth that are protruding or crooked.

As a specialist in orthodontics, you would be working with children and adults who require braces or other forms of dental hardware. As one of the many different career paths available to a dental hygienist, it can be incredibly rewarding to see the progress your patients are making as a result of your advice and intervention on their behalf.


A passion for academia combined with a solid foundation in dental hygiene will stand you in good stead for a career in research. This career path would allow you to turn your knowledge of all things dentistry into the next big breakthrough in dental hygiene.

There a variety of institutes and organizations performing important research in all fields of dentistry. These include the Canadian Dental Research Institute in Canada and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in the US.


If you have a passion for dental hygiene and you’re a great speaker then a career in education might be for you. With a degree or certification in dental hygiene from a reputable institution, you could be well on your way to teach in the classroom.

Education is one of many different career paths and can be taken further than just educating patients on good oral hygiene practices. You can be an educator and influencer who helps the next generation pursue one of the many different career paths in the world of dentistry.

Paediatric Dentistry

If you prefer working with children then paediatric dentistry is the career path for you. This would see you working with children from birth right through to adolescence.

Your advice and assistance would ensure children get the best start to their oral hygiene routine. You would be providing guidance on best practices and giving corrective help to your young patients and helping them disspell the irrational fear some have of the big scary dentist.

So Many Different Career Paths

With so many different career paths, the problem you have might be one of choice. Take some time to decide what you are most passionate about and then pursue your chosen career path. However, with a great start as a dental hygienist, it’s never too late to change to any of the great careers we’ve mentioned.

If you’re looking for some free help or advice to help start (or continue) your dental career or education then get in touch with us now. Alternatively, if you’re just looking for more great articles then take a look at our blog for everything you need.

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