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Dental Hygienist

VOC Course University Course Year 12 Preferred Subject Prerequisites Interview Working With Children check Police Check First Aid

Dental hygienists use preventive, educational and therapeutic methods for controlling oral diseases to help individual patients and groups achieve and maintain oral health.

Dental hygienists may work in a team with other dental practitioners.


    Dental hygienists may perform the following tasks:

  • assess and record oral health conditions and plan treatments
  • educate, counsel and provide instruction for people of all ages, as well as other healthcare professionals, on oral health and hygiene, plaque control and nutrition
  • renove deposits and stains from teeth by scaling, root debridement and tooth polishing
  • identify and apply prevention strategies and control mechanisms for dental caries (decay) and periodontal (gum) disease
  • select and use appropriate fluoride treatments, and polish tooth restorations
  • apply professional tooth whitening agents
  • place temporary dental restorations
  • expose, process and interpret dental X-rays
  • take impressions of patients' mouths for the construction of study casts, mouthguards and orthodontic appliances
  • carry out orthodontic procedures that do not initiate tooth movement (such as band sizing and selection or bonding of fixed retainers)
  • apply and remove periodontal dressings and rubber dams
  • stabilise teeth affected by gum disease
  • select and administer pain control techniques, including local anaesthesia
  • renove dental sutures (stitches)
  • instruct patients on looking after their teeth and mouth after operations


  • good hand-eye coordination
  • able to perform precise and detailed work
  • good problem-solving skills
  • good communication skills
  • interest in healthcare work
  • able to work as part of a team

Interest Area

Medical Influencing/Personal Contact Scientific


VOC Course University Course Year 12 Preferred Subject Prerequisites Interview Working With Children check Police Check First Aid

To become a dental hygienist you usually have to complete a VOC qualification in oral health (dental hygiene) or a degree in oral health or oral health therapy approved by the Dental Board of Australia. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics are normally required. Applicants may also be required to attend an interview. A number of institutions in Australia offer these courses. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information as requirements may change.

Additional Information

    Before undertaking clinical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a Provide First Aid Certificate, a National Police Certificate, a Working with Children Check (NSW) or Working with Vulnerable People Check (ACT), and fulfil immunisation requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

    It is a legal requirement for graduates to be registered with the Dental Board of Australia before practising as a dental hygienist in any state or territory in Australia. For full details, see the board's website.

    The Dental Hygienists' Association of Australia is a professional association that represents dental hygienists at a national level. Visit their website for more information.


Dental hygienists mainly work with other dental professionals in private dental practices. There are some opportunities in community health centres, schools, childcare centres, aged-care facilities, dental hospitals, regional clinics and supported residential facilities.

There are limited training places available and competition is strong.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Dental Hygienist Australian Dental Association Dental Board of Australia Dental Hygienists' Association of Australia Inc. Centre for Oral Health Strategy NSW Dental Health Program - Health Directorate ACT

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