Dental Hygienist’s Work Conditions Can Affect Care Delivered to Patients

(PRWEB) April 16, 2015

The favorite hygienist normally seen for care may not be there the next visit to the dental office. Sometimes, the public relies on people without knowing the risks their profession places on them. Take the average hygienist, for example, generally they work for a small business, and although their job is ranked as one of the top paying and most desired professions, that may, or may not be true. US News ranked dental hygiene the 5th best profession to pursue in the United States. US News estimates hygienists make annual salaries of about $ 71,110, even while many work part time. US News also expects 33.3 percent employment growth for this field up to 2022. ( The problem is, for many hygienists this perception does not match the environment they currently work in.

These statistics and statements do not accurately match the conditions a hygienist works under. A survey of California Dental Hygienists (conducted February 26 – March 11, 2015) revealed that only 56% had a dependable salary and 25% stated, that though they were employed, they were underemployed and lacking the adequate hours needed. Hygienists fall under non-exempt employees and only 17% were paid legally with an hourly wage and overtime. 15.5% had to clock out if patients no-showed. When asked why they did not contact the labor board, many reported they were afraid they would lose their job. Others said they did not want to get their dentist in trouble ( In addition, the dental practice can be in jeopardy if they are not aware of current laws.

Business Insider reported on a Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network analysis showing dentistry ranked second among the most-unhealthy jobs in America. Dentistry ranked very high in exposure to disease and contaminates. ( The area that may impact hygienists the most, is also the area there is the most control over; the time spent sitting. This risk is very taxing on the body and most people are not even aware of it.

“Sitting disease” is the result of sitting too long, and it has a direct effect on metabolism, as well as the negative impact of an overall sedentary lifestyle. It may not be a diagnosable disease yet, but if you sit the majority of the day and don’t balance it out with physical activity, your health could be in jeopardy. Medical research has shown that prolonged sitting increases the risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even death (

According to a survey from dental hygienists on, it was revealed that only 5% of hygienists are getting their daily 15-minute breaks, which are mandated by law. It was found that these breaks are not being scheduled into their day. If these breaks were in place, this condition could possibly be avoided. 16% of hygienists reported that they had missed work because of a physical condition related to their job in the past year.

The dentist running a small business, may not even know they are breaking the law and putting that favorite hygienists health at risk. Dentists intensions are to provide patients with the best of care and they may not be aware that current labor laws include daily breaks for the hygienist and they are to be paid as a non-exempt employees.

Is that favorite hygienists health at risk? Ask them, get a break today?”

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