Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists

(NOC 3222)

in All Health

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 Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 65 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 4385 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions. With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers.

The median employment income for 59% of Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $58,657. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$30.00

Minimum

$34.00

Median

$40.79

Maximum

Annual Pay

$21,604

Minimum

$53,822

Median

$73,756

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.38

Minimum

$25.50

Median

$41.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,740

Minimum

$43,853

Median

$88,944

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

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

Dental hygienists perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Conduct an initial dental assessment and consult with dentists on patient care.
  • Take dental impressions.
  • Instruct patients regarding oral hygiene procedures.
  • Clean and stimulate the gums to prevent gum disease.
  • Remove stains and deposits from teeth to prevent tooth and root decay.
  • Apply fluoride treatment.
  • Take and develop X-rays.
  • May perform restorative and orthodontic procedures under the direction of a dentist.
  • May supervise dental assistants in their health care functions.

Dental therapists perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Conduct dental assessments and consult with dentist on patient care.
  • Take dental impressions.
  • Take and develop X-rays.
  • Remove stains and deposits from teeth to prevent tooth and root decay.
  • Apply fluoride treatment.
  • Instruct patients regarding oral hygiene procedures.
  • Supervise dental assistants in their health care functions.
  • May drill and fill cavities, extract teeth and replace portions of tooth crown.

Sample job titles

  • dental hygiene technician
  • dental hygienist
  • dental nurse
  • dental therapist
  • orthodontic hygienist
  • periodontal hygienist
  • registered dental hygienist
  • registered dental therapist

Skills

To work in these jobs, you should have good interpersonal skills and a desire to help others. Patience and the ability to handle stressful situations may be needed. You must be efficient and accurate, yet sensitive to the needs of patients. Good manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and an aptitude for detailed and precise work are necessary.

Job requirements

  • Dental hygienists are required to complete a college program ranging from one to three years, or other approved program in dental hygiene recognized by the governing board within the province or territory of residence.
  • Dental therapists are required to complete a two- to three- year college diploma or equivalent credentials from an approved dental institution or complete the dental therapy diploma program offered by the First Nations University of Canada in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
  • To become a dental hygienist in Nova Scotia you must complete an accredited education diploma in dental hygiene and be licensed by the College of Dental Hygienists of Nova Scotia.

Other considerations

None

By the numbers

Quick look

655

employed in 2016

82.2%

employed full-time

1.5%

self employed

96.4%
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3.6%
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42.1

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

77.1%

employed full-time

10.2%

self employed

83.6%
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16.4%
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43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

56.8%

Halifax

12.2%

Cape Breton

11.5%

Northern

10.1%

Annapolis Valley

10.1%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

95.4%

Health Care and Social Assistance

3.8%

Public Administration

0.8%

Other Industries

What is the age of Employment?

39.2%

25-34

29.4%

35-44

19.6%

45-54

9.8%

15-24

Compared to: All Health

31.4%

45-54

27.6%

35-44

20.5%

55-64

15.2%

25-34

4.9%

65+

Top levels of education

37.2%

University certificate or diploma

N/A
30.7%

Bachelor's degree

N/A
17.5%

College certificate or diploma

N/A
13.9%

University advanced certificate or diploma

N/A
1.5%

Doctorate

N/A

Compared to: All Health

39.4%

College certificate or diploma

$36,693 median annual income
27.6%

Bachelor's degree

$57,186 median annual income
7.2%

Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry

$83,000 median annual income
6.9%

High school

$24,119 median annual income
5.1%

Master's degree

$87,808 median annual income

Education & training

Dental hygiene/hygienist

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to clean teeth and apply preventive materials; provide oral health education and treatment counselling to patients; identify oral pathologies and injuries; and manage dental hygiene practices. These programs include courses in dental anatomy, microbiology, and pathology; dental hygiene theory and techniques; cleaning equipment operation and maintenance; dental materials; radiology; patient education and counselling; office management; supervised clinical training; and professional standards.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Dental Hygienist

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.

Regulating body:
College of Dental Hygienists of Nova Scotia
11-2625 Joseph Howe Drive
Halifax, NS B3L 4G4
(902) 444-7241
(902) 444-7242

Contacts

Canadian Dental Hygienists' Association
1122 Wellington St W,
Ottawa, ON K1Y 2Y7
Tel: (800) 267-5235
Fax: (613) 224-7283
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
380 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
Tel: (902) 461-0871
Fax: (902) 461-9572

Job postings

There are currently no job postings for this occupation.