Wednesday, April 08, 2020

So are you thinking about applying to dental hygiene school? Would you like to know the qualities it takes to be a good dental hygienist?

Whether you are taking impressions, scaling teeth, placing sealants or anything else, you will need to have good manual dexterity and good hand eye coordination. Playing Pac-Man when you were little can actually help you after all!

Having a good background in the sciences helps. The ability to read and comprehend your biology and microbiology textbooks will give some indication if you will be able to follow some of the intense vocabulary in the dental textbooks. There are a lot of diseases, bacteria and viruses, conditions, etc that have huge, long, hard to pronounce names, so it will help if you can take a class in medical terminology before getting into the program.

Time management skills are also top on the list. Having basic organization skills and the ability to maintain a schedule. Being on time is a big plus as your day will go a lot smoother for you and your patients if you are not 15-20 minutes behind schedule the entire day. Remember when you go the dentist or orthodontist and they always call you 30-45 minutes late? Yup, well you should try not being that person!


Another good quality is being a true team player. No one likes the prima-donna hygienists who think they are better than everyone with an RDH or DDS after their name. Helping out the rest of the staff at the end of the day by cleaning trash, sterilizing instruments, etc.. will go a long way when you are running behind and need help yourself.


There are other skills that could be beneficial to you. Having experience in sales and assertiveness is a plus because you have experience working with the public and in often times it will be your responsibility to sell treatment to the patient such as periodontal procedures, bleaching, sealants, etc.

Being a good listener and motivator is key. Dental Hygienists should be caring and sympathetic individuals with a genuine care for someone's oral and overall health. Also being sensitive to someone's needs and realizing that patients perceptions of needs change depending on their culture.

All in all there are many different qualities that an RDH should have and this page is in no way all you should possess.

Please fill out the box below to add your tips on what makes a good RDH! I will add it below for others to see and will give you full credit for your thoughts!

Submitted content:

A Good RDH gives that extra TLC to all patients and is deligent about making sure the patient understands their dental status on terms and words they can comprehend. Also takes the extra time needed to put a patient at ease so that they enjoy their treatment and participate in their dental health. Most importantly is the outcome that words cannot reveal when you see the improvement and they see the improvement of their own mouths in the mirror.


Taryn Brown

Being an open minded person is a big key to being a successful hygienist. Sometimes you need to take time to understand the reasoning for a patient's behavior before you lash out on him or her for not flossing twice daily, especially if a patient is from a different culture. I have learned that that has helped me the most while being in school.

The #1 NBDHE

Reviewin the World!

Home | About Andy | Dental T-Shirts | National Board Help | Student Message Board | Scavenger Hunt | Nasty Calculus Photos  | Dental Songs & Videos