Nav: Home | Inst. | Burs. | Careers
Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienists (oral hygienists) are concerned with the promotion of oral health and the prevention of dental disease.

They remove stains and tartar from teeth and polish them. They apply decay-preventing agents to teeth, insert temporary fillings and take impressions and castings of study models. They give patients information about good home dental care and healthy nutritional practices.

Dental hygienists perform diagnostic tests for interpretation by the dentist, such as intra-oral and extra-oral X-rays. They assist dentists during dental operations.

Dental hygienists are professional health educators with their own consulting rooms who work under the supervision of dentists in private practices, or for the Department of Health in hospitals, clinics or schools, where they may also teach in dental hygiene programmes.

Consulting rooms are usually modern, airy and well equipped. Part of the work is sometimes done in operating theatres. If a dental hygienist works for a government health department the job may include a certain amount of travelling to surrounding schools and institutions.

Satisfying Aspects
- helping people to improve their health
- the opportunity to work part time
- having a defined area of expertise

Demanding aspects
- working on Saturdays
- working under pressure
- being limited in the scope of practice

A dental hygienist should:
- enjoy working with people;
- be able to put people at ease, especially children;
- be patient, courteous and tactful;
- have good communication skills;
- enjoy the sciences;
- have a neat, clean appearance and good health;
- have manual dexterity;
- able to work well under pressure.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Mathematics, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences

Degree: Wits, UL

Diploma: Wits, UP, UWC

Dental hygienists must register with the Interim Medical and Dental Council of South Africa after completing their diploma or degree courses.

A selection committee selects a limited number of applicants on merit.

- Private dental practices
- Hospitals
- Clinics
- State health departments
- Universities

Oral Hygienists’ Association of South Africa
P?O?Box Box 253
Kirkwood, 6120
Tel: (041) 585-589 Fax: (041) 585-4039 ...

S?A?Dental Association
Private Bag X1
Houghton, 2041
Tel:?(011) 484-5288 Fax:?(011) 642-5718