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Dental hygienist

A dental hygienist provides treatments to clean and maintain healthy teeth.
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What does a dental hygienist do?

A dental hygienist provides treatments to clean and maintain healthy teeth. You’ll also give advice to children and adults on how best to keep their teeth and gums clean. You’ll use a variety of tools in treatments. 


What do I need to do to become a dental hygienist?

Before you can work as a dental hygienist, you will need to take one of the following General Dental Council (GDC) approved courses:

  • a foundation degree in oral health science
  • a diploma of higher education (DipHE) in dental hygiene, or dental hygiene and dental therapy
  • a degree in oral health science, or dental therapy and dental hygiene

To get on to a recognised degree course, you usually need at least two A levels or equivalent, with one in a science subject. You also need five GCSEs A-C, including maths, English and science. 

Science-based level 3 vocational courses may also provide an alternative – check with universities. 


Related skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Patience
  • Teamwork

Academic route

  • At least two A levels or equivalent, one in a science subject

Vocational route

  • Science-based level 3 courses

Related subjects

  • Biology
  • Chemistry

Essential qualifications

  • Foundation degree in oral health science
  • Or DipHE in dental hygiene
  • Or Degree in oral health science
  • Or Degree in dental therapy and dental hygiene

Where could I be working?

You’ll work indoors, usually in a dental surgery or a dental hospital. You may be working privately or for the National Health Service (NHS). 


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