In my previous post, I talked about what steps you can take to becoming a dental hygienist. I am sure if you read through the article, you might be wondering what opportunities are available for dental hygienists in South Africa.
Dental hygienists are needed in hospitals and medical establishments to assist dentists in delivering efficient and fast medical attention to patients without breaching the professional ethics and conduct of the medical and dental council in your country.
Who Is a Dental Hygienist?
A dental hygienist is a professional who performs the necessary procedure needed to evaluate the state of the oral cavity of patients with the intent of giving relevant information to the dentist that would be monitoring the case assigned.
They are important members of the dentist’s medical team because they work closely with dentists during different dental procedures including surgery and also they educate patients on different ways to maintain oral hygiene. Some of their daily responsibilities include:
- Removing plaque and polishing patients’ teeth
- Providing patients with adequate information to improve dental health
- Monitor and update each patient’s dental history
- Perform routine checkups during patients appointments and report findings to the dentist
Dental hygienists work in community health centers, private health centers, schools, and government establishments depending on their qualifications and years of experience working in such areas.
What Skills Do I Need To Have?
The role of a dental hygienist is one where you would have to interact with different patients daily hence, some of the skills required of you include;
- Interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
- Time management
- Knowledge of medical and dental terminologies
- Ability to conduct yourself in line with the ethic standard
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to work effectively on a team
- Proper documentation of cases handled
- Know how to remove deposits from teeth
- Can take X-rays and apply fluoride to the teeth if need be
The Requirement to Study Dental Hygiene in South Africa
Candidates who would love to study for a diploma or bachelor in dental hygiene should adhere to institution-specific requirements and other general requirements which may include:
- Passing the entrance examination with excellent grades
- Have good NSE result with good scores
- Have a science background
- Be willing to commit the required time to both practical and theoretical aspects of the course.
What Kind of Job Can I Get As A Dental Hygienist?
Dental hygienists work in different hospitals, community health centers, private organizations, and government medical facilities in the positions listed below;
- Dental office manager
- Dental insurance officer
- Dental hygiene program director
- Dental hygienist
Universities in South Africa Where You Can Study For a Degree Dental Hygiene
To work in South Africa would require that you have a bachelors or masters degree in universities such as:
- University of Pretoria
- University of the Witwatersrand
- University of the Western Cape
- University of KwaZulu-Natal
- University of Limpopo