Career Library

Dental hygienists and dental therapists

National Occupation Code (NOC): 3222

Dental hygienists provide dental hygiene treatment and information related to the prevention of diseases and disorders of the teeth and mouth. They are employed in dentists’ offices, hospitals, clinics, educational institutions, government agencies and private industry. Dental therapists carry out limited dental services related to the prevention and treatment of diseases and disorders of the teeth and mouth. They are employed by the federal government and the provincial governments to provide services in rural and remote communities.

Job Duties for Dental hygienists and dental therapists

Dental hygienists
  • Conduct patient screening and oral health assessments, including taking vital signs and documenting patient medical and health history
  • Take dental impressions
  • Take and develop X-rays
  • Perform preventative dental procedures such as teeth cleaning, scaling, gum stimulation and fluoride and sealant applications
  • Provide oral care instructions such as oral hygiene procedures, strategies to maintain and improve oral health and on the impact of nutrition on oral health
  • Consult with dentists on patient care
  • May perform restorative and orthodontic procedures under the direction of a dentist
  • May supervise dental assistants in their health care functions
  • May participate in community- or school-based oral health initiatives such as oral screening.
Dental therapists
  • Perform routine dental check-ups, oral cancer examinations and emergency dental examinations
  • Take dental impressions
  • Take and develop X-rays
  • Perform preventative dental procedures such as teeth cleaning, gum stimulation and fluoride and sealant applications
  • Provide oral care instructions such as oral hygiene procedures, strategies to maintain and improve oral health and on the impact of nutrition on oral health
  • Perform routine teeth restorations and uncomplicated extractions and provide post extraction oral care instructions
  • Refer patients to other dental professionals for care beyond the scope of the dental therapist
  • Provide oral health promotion activities
  • May supervise dental assistants in their health care functions.

Working Conditions for Dental hygienists and dental therapists

Work is performed indoors, typically in a private clinic; some perform duties from hospitals or other large healthcare facilities. Rigorous safety measures are usually in place, with bodily fluids, oral hygiene ailments, and x-rays regularly exposed. As dental hygienists and therapists work on patients from close quarters and in slim margins, they must be extremely attentive.

Alternate Job Titles

  • Community Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Hygiene Technician
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Hygienist Technician
  • Dental Nurse
  • Dental Therapist
  • Expanded Duty Dental Hygienist
  • Expanded Duty Dental Nurse
  • Licensed Dental Therapist
  • Orthodontic Hygienist
  • Periodontal Hygienist
  • Registered Dental Hygienist
  • Registered Dental Therapist
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Nurse
  • Dental Therapist
  • Hygienist