5 Characteristics of a Successful Dental Hygienist

become a dental hygienist

  • Positive Attitude
  • Good Listening Skills
  • Punctuality
  • Detail-Oriented
  • Empathy For Patients

A career as a dental hygienist can be rewarding. Excellent training isn’t the only thing someone needs to be successful. Here’s a closer look at the essential traits one should have to create long-term stability.

Positive Attitude

Presenting the best version of an individual’s attitude is needed so clients can feel comfortable. For many, a trip to the dentist can be nerve wracking, even if it’s just for a cleaning. The hygienist is usually the first person they see inside the room, so having a great first impression is necessary. Personal situations that someone may be dealing with outside of work need to be left at the door. The people the dental hygienist helps daily will have a better experience with someone who genuinely is happy to be there.

Good Listening Skills

Every patient who walks through the door will have specific needs they want to be addressed by the dental team. Clients want to feel that their questions and concerns are clarified before treatment begins. As a professional, the dental hygienist needs to have the ability to understand the perspective of others. Dentists who hire their hygienists depend on individuals who can help communicate the needs of every client. Patients are more likely to return when the dental practice listens to specific problems they are experiencing.

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Patients who enter the office most likely have busy lives, so the dental hygienist must be prompt. A bad reputation can be hard to overcome with chronic lateness, and word can spread to other locations. Many dental hygienists work with more than one dentist, and it’s unlikely another dentist will want to hire someone who isn’t on time. With a strong work ethic, a hygienist is compensated rather nicely. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary was almost $75,000 per year in 2018. Being late time to time isn’t a huge deal, but it’s essential to have clear communication with your team should a situation occur that might make you miss a patient appointment.

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Detail Oriented

Working in a small space-the mouth requires above-average dexterity skills. The hygienist has to meticulously remove all tartar, stains, and plaque for the teeth. It’s also essential to keep the patient happy and not harm their mouth in any way. The hygienist will need to use several dental instruments and maneuver them around the mouth. Creating pain for the client will prevent them from wanting to come back for future appointments.

Empathy For Patients

As stated earlier, many patients will feel a sense of uneasiness when they come to the dentist. A successful dental hygienist needs to put themselves in the perspective of the patients they serve. Making a client feel as relaxed as possible will go a long way. With the right rapport, the patients often overcome any anxieties or fears they’ve had about the dentist within the first few minutes. This career is very much like any customer service position. Making the patients happy is the cornerstone of being good at the job.

If someone thinks they would like to be a dental hygienist, they should have these characteristics. Along with stellar training, these traits will steer someone on the right path toward a great career.

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