Why are most dental hygienists female

Dental hygienist: Dental employee with a future

When your teeth hurt, it's usually too late. Then a trusted dentist has to come to his mouth with a drill, syringe and other device. It is better to have your teeth professionally cleaned in the dental practice at regular intervals. But the dentist doesn't necessarily have to do this himself. "To a large extent, tooth decay and periodontitis can be avoided with preventive professional tooth cleaning. Dental hygienists are trained to specialize in cleaning teeth and maintaining oral health," says Irene Thiesen. She is a qualified dental hygienist and president of the Professional Association of German Dental Hygienists (BDDH).

Dental hygienists are primarily active prophylactically in order to prevent damage from occurring in the first place. However, if the patient is already suffering from periodontal diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis, the specialists also apply therapeutic measures. They also advise the patient. Because many diseases or damage can be prevented with a changed diet or oral hygiene.

Dental hygienists are usually part of the team in the dental office. The doctor could take over all of their activities himself, but there are advantages if specially trained specialists are employed here. The biggest one is the relief of the doctors. "The dentists can concentrate on other tasks and hand over areas such as prevention and therapy for periodontal patients to the dental hygienist. This way, the time resources can be used much better," says Thiesen.

If you want to work in this profession, you need a completed training as a dental assistant as well as further training as a dental prophylaxis assistant. As part of the training, which is offered as advanced training, the basics of biology, anatomy, histology, chemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, instrument and material science, law, psychology as well as nutrition and periodontology are taught.

99 percent of the employees are women

But not only specific specialist knowledge is required for the work. Dental hygienists should be able to deal with people well and have empathy. Motor and manual skills are particularly important for the work. Yes, by hand. "We are actually doing manual work in the patient's mouth," says Thiesen. And even if it is mainly about teeth cleaning: Many patients are afraid or feel uncomfortable. Therefore empathy is very important.

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Incidentally, Thiesen deliberately chooses the feminine form of the job title, because men are rarely seen in this job. "A good 99 percent of the employees are women." And their chances of getting a job are very good, because female dental hygienists are in demand - both as employees and on a freelance basis.

Despite good career opportunities and interesting areas of responsibility, the job also has negative aspects. So the physical strain during work should not be underestimated. "Your hands, arms and back are already strained while you work, because most of the time you sit at work and instrumentation in the oral cavity also requires strength," says Thiesen.

For the dental hygienist, however, the positive aspects of her job far outweigh her. "We are in close contact with people and make a valuable contribution to maintaining a patient's health."

  • Salary: no information
  • Working hours: The job can be carried out full-time or part-time, so the working hours vary.
  • Training: The prerequisite for further training as a dental hygienist is completed professional training as a dental assistant and further training as a dental prophylaxis assistant,