The Hardest Parts About Being A Dental Hygienist

If you have just graduated from a dental hygiene program or you are even a couple of years in, you may have already experienced some of these difficulties. 

Either way, here are some of the hardest parts of being a dental hygienist and what you can do about it. 


Physical Strain

 Physical strain may not be something you would initially think of when thinking about the dental hygienist profession. In the beginning, you may not feel it at all.


 As years progressed in the profession a lot of hygienists typically report some feelings of aches and pains throughout the day, as well as other physical taxes this takes on your body.


 A large portion of these will be due to having to hold your body at weird angles in order to perform efficiently for your patients. It is always important to take care of your spinal and neck health when it comes to being a dental hygienist. These movements of bending, and angling your body in order to provide the best service possible to a patient need to be considered and thought of every day. 


It is also important to pay attention to your wrist health. As a dental hygienist, you are continually making unusual wrist movements and consistent wrist intensive uses throughout each day.


It is always to be important to be cognizant of wrist issues and help to treat them before they become worse. Common symptoms may be something along the lines of carpal tunnel which results from consistent and intensive use of your wrist.

Career Variety

  Career variety isn't something a lot of people associate with being a dental hygienist, and this is because there isn't that much career variety. Yes, the day-to-day may change slightly depending on what is needed for the patient each day, but overall you are going to be doing the same things each day. 


Don't get us wrong, this doesn't mean being a dental hygienist is boring. A lot of the daily responsibilities of a dental hygienist combined with the passion individuals have to be a dental hygienist makes each day exciting. However, there isn't a lot of room to move completely upwards into a different kind of position other than a lead dental hygienist or to gain more certifications in order to increase your credentials.


 If you would like to continue on to become a dentist this will require further education as well as certifications accordingly.


 Being able to consistently know what you are doing each day is a positive trait of a career, and this will make sure you are not blindsided at any point walking in. This becomes even more positive when you truly do love what you do, but it is important to recognize that there is not a lot of career variety. 


A large portion of variety will depend on the amount of technology that your dental office implements as it is more widespread.




 You will still have the same end goals more or less every day.


Time Management

Odds are you probably always wished for a little more time since your first appointment. As a dental hygienist, you tend to have a lot to do and it never feels like quite enough time. There may be times where it feels like even an extra 10 minutes might be a Saving Grace.


 The time allowed will also vary from dental office to dental office. There will be some dental offices that will give a hygienist an hour to perform a cleaning and finalize the appointment, and we have heard of offices that make them get it done within 30 minutes. So before considering a position at an office full-time, it might be a good idea to get all of this information to know that they are a good fit for you.


There are going to be some instances where your entire schedule may seem to get thrown off. While this is not a conclusive list of everything that may occur to have your schedule thrown off, these are some of the most common.

  • Patients that don't show up.
  • Patients that are late.
  • Getting pulled to assist with another patient or the dentist.
  • Machines not functioning.
  • Not being able to find certain equipment if you are temping.
  • The organizational structure of the dental office. 
  • Patients that need more treatment than they initially booked for. 

There are some cases where we even recommend asking for the doctor to come to check your patient for about 15 minutes or so before you actually need them.


This will give you some buffer time to finish conducting their cleaning, and it will also give the doctor some time if he is running late or in the middle of something else to help accommodate his busyness.


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Posted in dental hygienist at 10/13/2021 8:11pm