Dental Hygienist Resumes: Examples Section-by-Section

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Dental hygienists are in great demand and job opportunities are increasing rapidly. 

It’s not so much about enabling big, white, toothy smiles, but rather because of your vital role in the health-care system. Did you know that dental hygienists have a key role to play in terms of the prevention of cardiovascular disease? If you didn’t, you better believe it. 

Researchers have found that oral health has a direct impact on the vascular system. The implications are that periodontal and endodontic diseases, which you spot in your patients, are directly associated with the risks of heart attack and stroke. 

Our mouths are full of bacteria and dental hygienists play a pivotal role in minimizing infection and keeping our gums and teeth healthy. 

The industry is also highly regulated, and licensing is mandatory throughout the US.

You probably realize that almost all dental hygienists are women – the stats show that no more than 4% are men. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t get a job if you are male! 

At the same time, whether you are male or female, finding a new job as a dental hygienist can be really intimidating. 

We are here to help you, with tips and examples, and a full resume sample at the bottom of this article. 

Resume objective for dental hygienists

Including an objective in your dental hygienist resume allows you the opportunity to give a quick snapshot of why you are an excellent candidate for the job opportunity a potential employer is advertising. 

While dental hygienists all have the same basic education and training, there may be specific areas that a particular job demands. Some adverts detail all the skills, abilities, education, and experience required for a job while others post more general ads.

While your resume objective should mirror the requirements of the dentist or dental practice looking for a dental hygienist, if these aren’t specified, in the latter situation, you will need to be proactive. 

But you could also use a personal brand statement in your resume objective, showing succinctly what the employer will get if they hire you. Either way, the objective will show why you are the best dental hygienist for the job. 

The example below is a bit of both. 

Sample Objective

Passionate, hardworking, and tooth-loving dental hygienist committed to improving oral health. Comprehensive knowledge of oral anatomy, procedures for oral prophylaxis that causes disease, and aseptic and sterilization techniques. Experience exposing and processing radiographs.  

Need more insights? Check out surgical technician resume sample

Resume skills for dental hygienists

Dental hygienists are expected to have hard and soft skills for the job. 

A job might demand the ability to work with specific equipment and you may need a good knowledge of certain types of computer software. 

In addition to computer and typing skills, you will need to demonstrate that you can perform oral prophylaxis, apply fluoride topically, operate recall systems, sterilize instruments, and expose, process and mount dental radiographs, and digital x-rays. 

But in addition to easily-tested technical skills, most potential employers focus on the so-called soft skills including outstanding communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving abilities. 

You’ll need a good chairside manner and a passion for the industry. Many patients are afraid of having dental treatment and they are often sensitive to pain. You need to be aware of this and have the compassion to help them overcome these fears.

As a dental hygienist, you share information about the status of a patient’s oral health with the patients (and the dentists you are working with). You sometimes need to do some lifestyle coaching to help patients improve their oral health. You also develop hygiene care plans for them. 

Dental hygienists also follow very strict rules and protocols, which means you need to be detail orientated and organized. 

Read the job posting carefully to figure out how to structure your resume and include the skills the employer is looking for. 

Sample Skills

Sensitive to patients needs | Self-confident | Well-organised | Time management skills | Oral prophylaxis procedures | Radiography and digital x-rays | Dental impressions | Fluoride applications | Restorative and periodontal charting | Computer-generated imagery

Dental hygiene work experience

Employment opportunities are potentially quite broad for dental hygienists. But in reality, most tend to work for dentists in private oral health and dental practices.

There are a lot of other options including hospitals that offer dental services, managed care organizations, school systems, correctional institutions, centers that cater for pediatric and geriatric people, as well as federal, state, and municipal health departments in cities. But the opportunities for dental hygienists are limited, largely because of the restrictive US supervising laws. 

Nevertheless, ADHA states that there has never been more opportunity for dental hygienists! 

The laws regarding supervision are enacted by each state, and they determine what services dental hygienists can perform, which settings they can practice in, and the level of supervision required. If you move to another state, you will need to familiarize yourself with local supervision laws and get a license to practice in that state.  

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that dentists, dental practices, and any other potential employer of dental hygienists want people who have experience. 

If you are battling to get a job, or need to expand your work experience, you might try volunteering for a non-profit organization. Some dentists will employ casuals to fill in when their regular dental hygienist is on vacation or ill. These positions aren’t generally advertised so you’ll have to go out there and find them. 

Sample Work Experience

William E Logan DMD

Dental Hygienist, 2017 – 2019

Provided dental hygiene services including dental prophylaxis, took and processed x-rays, and carried out oral examinations. Also scaled teeth, screened exams, undertook treatment plans, and was responsible for oral care.

  • Assisted the dentists with medical emergencies
  • Helped the dentists decide which treatments should be used for gum and teeth diseases
  • Successfully completed a dental practice management software training course 
  • Managed the treatment room and ensured 100% cleanliness and sterilization of instruments

Virginia Correctional Center

Dental Hygienist, 2016

Responsible for dental and oral hygiene care and education. Performed routine dental cleanings and treatment. Examined teeth and gums for cavities, diseases, and infections. Performed x-rays and undertook radiography.

  • Traveled to other facilities as a member of the Center’s mobile dental unit
  • Learnt how to do dental and periodontal charting
  • Prepared patients for dental treatment 
  • Took over the Center’s head care education and training program

The University of Pittsburgh

Dental Hygienist, 2014 – 2015

Provided dental hygiene services including dental prophylaxis, took and processed x-rays, and carried out oral examinations. Also scaled teeth, screened exams, undertook treatment plans, and was responsible for oral care. 

  • Upgraded my computer skills to be able to enter treatment plans into the computer
  • Helped to promote treatment plans to encourage patients to start treatment
  • Launched a community education program to teach young people the importance of dental  hygiene
  • Volunteered to help with institutional fundraising and doubled the income within six months

Dental hygienist education

There are so many educational programs that those wanting to become dental hygienists are spoilt for choice. 

According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA), there are more than 300 entry-level, 60 degree-completion, and about 18 master’s degree dental hygiene programs. 

This means that as a qualified dental hygienist you have done about 2,000 hours of classroom study, in a whole whack of academic studies that include anatomy, physiology, pathology, and immunology.

Generally, a degree or diploma in dental hygiene is the accepted minimum education. A master’s degree is considered a plus and will usually give you priority above other applicants. 

Programs take between two and four years to complete. 

Internships and externships are also available both during and after study periods. These always look good on a resume. 

To be able to practice, dental hygienists must be registered by the state in which they want to work. This means that they need to complete a program that has been accredited nationally, and shows that they have passed a national state clinical examination. If these are successful, the dental hygienist will receive a state license that enables her (and sometimes him) to provide oral health care services and patient education. 

All registered dental hygienists are accredited and they then become a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH). 

There are a couple of exceptions. In Indiana, RDHs are called LDHs – which stands for Licensed Dental Hygienist. And Colorado and Wyoming don’t require mandatory CE. 

Dental hygienists also need to have a working knowledge of the Hipaa Privacy and Security rules that cover dental firms, and a good knowledge of relevant federal regulations.

Sample Education

Lane Community College, 2015 – 2016

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Dental Hygiene

  • Cooperative Education Internship in Clinical Hygiene at Lane’s dental clinic

Courses

Education and learning don’t stop for RDHs. Even after you’ve got your license you will need to complete certain continuing education (CE) requirements to keep it. The exact requirements in different states vary, including the number of credit hours needed. 

You can claim continuing education credits from several nationally recognized agencies:

  • The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD)
  • The Council on Dental Accreditation (CODA)
  • The American Dental Association (ADA) 

Dental education programs that are affiliated with ADHA, the National Dental Association (NDA), and the American Academy of Dental Hygiene (AADH) are also acceptable. 

ADHA also offers CE opportunities including webinars and has detailed guidelines for what is required for dental hygiene licensure renewal. 

Courses are offered at most community colleges and universities. Some involve seminars, others require hands-on work. The possibilities are endless. Those shown below are just three of hundreds of ADA CE online courses. New ones come up all the time.  

Sample Courses

  • Fluoridation Advocacy – How to Share Evidence-Based Findings to Lay Audiences 
  • Bare Essentials to Inflammation 
  • COVID-19 Response – CDC Guidance for Dental Settings

Certifications 

In addition to the fact that every state in the US requires dental hygienists to be licensed, many jobs also call for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. This stands to reason when you realize the relationship between vascular wellness and oral health. Many conditions cause vascular inflammation including periodontal disease, which is caused by oral bacteria that literally invade the vascular system. 

According to the ADHA, two out of three dental hygienists have reported noticing signs of hypertension and heart disease in their patients. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) has found that 80% of the US population has some kind of periodontal gum disease, usually caused by poor brushing and flossing habits. 

The American Heart Association offers certification for healthcare providers titled Basic Life Support (BLS) which is exactly the same as CPR certification. Both of these certifications are only valid for two years and will have to be regularly renewed.

The exact certification requirements are specified by each state, but a basic healthcare provider level is usually specified. 

Sample Certifications

  • BLS/CPR certification

Complete dental hygienist resume sample

To get a good idea of what your complete dental hygienist resume should look like, we have compiled a resume in response to a real job posting. 

While the general duties required are very clear, there is no specification in terms of experience, except that a very thorough knowledge of dental hygiene is required. The more experience you can show, the more likely you are to clinch the position. 

Licensed Dental Hygienist

Objective

Experienced dental hygienist able to provide excellent oral hygiene care. Comfortable and skilled at assisting dentists with the administration of anesthetics. I have developed periodontal maintenance programs and implemented successful disease treatment programs. 

Skills

Preventive care | Oral care instruction | Prophylaxis | Diagnostic digital x-rays | Radiography |  Recall systems | Fluoride applications | Restorative and periodontal charting | Good time management skills

Work Experience

Top Tooth Dental Group

Registered Dental Hygienist, 2019 – Present

Performed the full range of clinical procedures including scaling and root planning, periodontal maintenance, fluoride, intra-oral camera, and sealants. Worked closely with the resident dentist.

  • Took responsibility for choosing the best oral hygiene treatment plans for patients 
  • Undertook complete periodontal and restorative charting for our practice 
  • Ran several successful workshops for newly trained dental hygienists on patient education
  • Launched and ran several fun vacation workshops to educate children about the importance of dental hygiene

DC Health Center

Registered Dental Hygienist, 2016 – 2018

Provided comprehensive dental prophylaxis care plus radiographs and dental education to patients. Responsible for cleaning and sterilizing all dental instruments. Assisted with maintaining and re-supplying stock required for treatment rooms.

  • Worked with management to evaluate and develop the standard of dental services offered at the center
  • Took over supervision of sterilization and other precautions to ensure 100% infection control
  • Developed a dental health program to prevent dental disease which was welcomed by patients
  • Won the Center’s annual I Can Make a Difference award in 2017 and 2018

365 Dental Care Center

Registered Dental Hygienist, 2015

Responsible for periodontal therapies and various hygiene-related services twice a week. Cleaned teeth and examined oral areas for disease. Recorded and reviewed patients’ medical histories. Assisted with emergencies.

  • Assisted the dentist and permitted to take patient’s blood pressure, x-rays, and impressions for diagnostic models
  • Recommended treatment in line with patients’ clinical conditions
  • Took responsibility for following through with oral procedures in accordance with the dentists’ treatment plans 
  • Commended for passion and enthusiasm

Certifications 

  • CPR, valid until 2021
  • Valid license to practice in Ohio 

Education

School of Dentistry, University of Washington 

Non-credited Periodontics Observational Externship, 2016

  • Observed periodontal osseous surgery and esthetic soft tissue grafting as well as implant placement and therapy. 

Eastern Washington University 

BS in Dental Hygiene, 2012 – 2015

  • A in Radiology, B+ in Periodontology
  • Admitted to the PB Dental Hygiene Practitioner program

Courses

  • Comprehensive CE ongoing – full list of courses completed available on request

Key Takeaways

Registered dental hygienists have more knowledge and skills than their patients probably even begin to imagine. They don’t just clean our teeth in a sterile dental environment, they also examine patients for all kinds of signs of oral disease and provide preventive care, particularly oral hygiene. 

Dental hygienists are highly qualified, and in addition to a two-, three-, or four-year degree, they need to be licensed by the US state in which they practice. 

The prospects are exceptionally good for dental hygienists right now because employment opportunities are set to grow exponentially. But there is still competition for jobs. So sharpen your pencil and get your resume sorted. With the right resume that sells you and your skills, you’ve got it! 

  • Dental or oral hygienists are licensed dental professionals who are registered with dental associations and licensed by regulatory bodies in their country and/or state. 
  • The competencies required for a dental hygienist are broad and intense. They include biomedical knowledge, analytical skills, communication, critical thinking, and even manual dexterity and strength. 
  • The American Dental Hygienists’ Association has acknowledged that dental hygienists play an integral role in the country’s health-care system. 

Tips from Experts

“Employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow 11% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.” – US Bureau of Labor Statistics

“The better your resume, the better your chance of getting the dental hygienist job you want.” – Tonya Lanthier, dental hygienist, Atlanta, Georgia

Conclusion

Dental hygiene is a challenging but rewarding profession that takes education, training, and experience to succeed. 

The industry is highly regulated, and there are lots of hoops to jump through. Licensing is mandatory and unless you can tick all the boxes, you won’t get that extra special position. But there are currently an increasing number of vacancies and opportunities, so get your resume out there and find the job of your dreams. 

Good luck! You deserve it after all those hours of study and work. 

Sources

Methodology

In addition to our own expertise as professional resume consultants, for every resume guide we write, we curate dozens of recent job postings and resumes to make sure all our recommendations align with current trends for each specific industry and career path. Learn more about our methodology here. 

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