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What we think the dental hygienist industry will look like in the next 5 years

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5 years ago, the dental hygienist industry looked a little different than how it does today.


The dental industry job market is growing at a pretty fast rate, thanks to courageous and resourceful industry professionals constantly upping the game for their patients. While dental hygienists were once known ‘teeth cleaners,’ they now serve the function of both preventative care and disease screening, making them an important part of their patient’s overall health.


So what about the future? Where can we see the dental hygienist industry heading in the next 5 years? 


We don’t have a crystal ball — though, that would be pretty awesome — but we do have some predictions based on how the past 5 years have shaped up.


More dental industry jobs


As we’ve seen, there is already a growing demand for dental industry jobs – specifically, hygienists. Think about the past few visits you’ve paid to the dentist. Odds are there was a dynamic dentist hygienist duo standing above you. And you spent way more time with them than you did with the actual doctor.


Lucky for us, that demand keeps increasing, especially as our world is learning more and more about connections between oral health and overall health. So if you’re looking to become a dental hygienist, there’s never been a better time. (Hint hint.)


Increase in preventative care 


Already, dental hygienists have assumed the role of targeting those problems in our mouths before they arise. And lucky for us, that’s what the future of the profession will continue heading.


Preventative care (routine oral exams, x-rays, cleanings, and fluoride treatments) is gaining more and more traction, and we can’t imagine how much it’ll grow in the next 5 years. (Probably a lot.)


With a bit of luck and a lot of research, our world might become one of a lot less emergency dental procedures and a lot more dental preventative treatment. If this is the case, our awesome patients can save time, money, and some painful trips to the dentist they’d rather not take.


Artificial Intelligence


While no one can promise anything, we know that our world (both dental-related and not) is coming closer and closer to relying on AI. If you haven’t heard of ‘Robo-dentists,’ they’re a lot less West World than you might think, but they’re still pretty smart.


Some of these robots are already being used to analyze dental industry statistics, interpret patient speech, and interpret images. In some clinics, they can even perform minimally invasive procedures (filling cavities, cleaning, extraction teeth).


It might sound a little creepy, but it’s the reality of our industry’s future, and it’s revolutionary. And you might as well start getting comfortable with it, because it’s only going to advance in the next 5 years.


Other advancements 


Along with all of these pretty exciting developments, many professionals are predicting more responsibilities that dental hygienists may someday have. 


For example, some believe dental hygienists will one day be able to prescribe radiographs, do blood work requisitions, diagnose disease independently, and specialize in more complex specialties and therapies. 


Although already a pretty demanding profession, the dental hygienist job is likely to become more technical and a lot more rewarding.


We have a lot to look forward to, and given how much the industry has changed already, we’re likely to see a whole different dental industry in 5 years’ time.


Read more fun facts, expert advice, and dental industry news on the Biteline blog.
And don’t forget to share with your dental friends!

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