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How to Become a Pediatric Dental Hygienist

Mukta Gaikwad
The job of a pediatric dental hygienist demands dealing with temperamental children and their oral hygiene. It requires training and a license from the American Dental Association's program to become a pediatric dental hygienist.
Teaching dental hygiene to a child can be 1 of the toughest task of a parent. Failed attempts of imbibing dental discipline in children is the cause of painful cavities and regular visits. This is where a role of dental hygienist comes into play, as he works closely with a dentist and can help a child overcome dental hygiene problems at a younger age itself.
A pediatric dental hygienist is responsible for not only treating dental problems amongst kids, but also sorting out various behavioral issues related to oral health. To develop an expertise for such a job, an aspiring pediatric dental hygienist has to undergo prescribed training programs and internships to gain real experience.

Pediatric Dental Hygienist's Education Requirements

Formal Education

The basic premise of pursuing any career is getting formal education. Graduation provides a stepping stone for aspirants and gives an insight of the professional world that lies ahead of them. Thus, start by researching the good dental colleges that you can apply to.
Make your applications, appear for the entrance examinations and register yourself in a good college. Many colleges offer associate programs or bachelor's degree and master's degree. Completion of the course is very important to start your own private practice. Scoring a respectable GPA is a crucial factor for getting good internships and the best jobs.


After you complete your graduation, the next step is putting the academic gains to practical usage. Internships provide you an opportunity to learn the subject in greater detail and depth. Look out for private practitioners or hospitals that need interns.
Getting a hands-on experience will allow you to work under pressure, learn the tricks of dealing with children, hone your communication skills and acquire some pediatric skills on the job.
These skills are never learned within the confines of a classroom or in limited spaces of textbooks. Thus, interning is an eye opener for those who think, that a job as such is only theoretical in nature.


After interning for a while, the next step for becoming a pediatric dental hygienist, is obtaining a license.
One needs to have completed minimum graduation in dental hygiene and must have passed American Dental Association's program, National Board Dental Hygiene written examination in addition to regional or state clinical board examination to obtain a license to practice as a dental hygienist.
One cannot have a private practice without a license. Thus, if you aim to set out on your own to earn a good salary, preparing early for the exams would benefit greatly.


Most of the colleges have placement cells, which provide assistance to students while job hunting. Mostly, private pediatric dentists, recruit freshmen in the dental hygiene field. You can also go back to the place you interned to inquire about job openings.
A pediatric dental hygienist works closely with a dentist. He has to clean teeth, take x-rays, remove deposits stuck between the teeth and educate the patients about dental health. He also has to deal with children throwing tantrums, who get too fidgety and who are absolutely adamant about following prescribed dental hygiene.
On the plus side, the average dental hygienist salary offered for this job is around $74,000 per year. Dentistry is one of the recession proof jobs as health care cannot be avoided despite any kind of global economic crisis. Thus, is it one of the lucrative professions in the coming years.