As a dental hygienist, you will play an essential role in helping patients maintain good oral health. Performing regular cleanings and offering helpful tips for effective home care are among the key duties in your job description.
Dental team careers
- Performs patient screening procedures, including x-rays
- Teaches patients how to practice good oral hygiene
- Applies preventive materials such as fluoride and sealants to the teeth
- Counsels patients regarding good nutrition and its impact on oral health
- Removes calculus and plaque (hard and soft deposits) from the teeth
Personal satisfaction: One of the most enjoyable aspects of a career in dental hygiene is working with people. Personal fulfillment comes from providing a valuable health care service while establishing trusting relationships with patients.
Prestige: As a result of their education and clinical training in a highly skilled discipline, dental hygienists are respected as valued members of the oral health care team.
Variety: Dental hygienists use a variety of interpersonal and clinical skills to meet the oral health needs of many different patients each day. Hygienists have opportunities to help special population groups such as children, the elderly and the disabled. They may also provide oral health instruction in primary and secondary schools and other settings.
Creativity: Because dental hygienists interact with such diverse population groups, they must be creative in their approach to patient management and oral health education.
Flexibility: Full-time and part-time employment options and the availability of evening and weekend hours enable dental hygienists to balance their career and lifestyle needs. Hygienists also have opportunities to work in a wide variety of settings, including private dental practices, educational and community institutions, research teams and large group practices.
Security: Dental hygiene is projected to be one of the 30 fastest growing occupations in future years. Due to the success of preventive dentistry in reducing the incidence of oral disease, the expanding older population will retain their teeth longer, and will be even more aware of the importance of regular dental care. With the emphasis on preventive care, dentists will need to employ more dental hygienists than ever before to meet the increased demand for dental services.
Opportunities for non-traditional students: If you’ve been out of school for a while but are seeking a career change, dental hygiene may be an excellent choice for you. Online learning and flexible scheduling will benefit students with family responsibilities as well as those who are working while they learn.
There are more than 300 accredited dental hygiene education programs in community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools and universities across the U.S. Most associate degree programs take at least two years to complete. Some universities offer four-year baccalaureate programs. Innovative training methods include distance learning and institution-based, didactic coursework combined with community experience.
You will receive hands-on clinical instruction in the form of supervised patient care experiences. Dental hygiene programs may also include courses in liberal arts (for example, English, speech, sociology and psychology); basic sciences (anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, immunology, chemistry, microbiology or pathology); and clinical sciences (dental hygiene, radiology and dental materials).
After completing your dental hygiene education, you may choose to seek additional training in areas such as education, business administration, basic sciences, marketing and public health.
When your coursework is complete, you can become a registered dental hygienist (RDH) by passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (a written test) and the authorized licensure exam in your state.
To learn more about careers in dental hygiene, contact your own dentist, dental hygienist or the dental society in your area. Arrange to visit a nearby dental office to observe a dental hygienist at work. You also can contact an accredited dental hygiene program to meet with a counselor or schedule a visit to the school. For more information on accredited dental hygiene education programs and continuing education courses, contact:
The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)
The American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA)
The American Dental Education Association (ADEA)
As a dental assistant, you will handle a wide range of tasks such as taking x-rays and impressions and helping make patients comfortable before, during and after treatment.
The duties of a dental assistant are among the most comprehensive and varied in the dental office. Although state regulations vary, responsibilities may include:
- Assisting the dentist during a variety of treatment procedures
- Taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays)
- Asking about the patient's medical history and taking blood pressure and pulse
- Serving as an infection control officer, developing infection control protocol, and preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment
- Helping patients feel comfortable before, during and after dental treatment
- Providing patients with oral care instructions following surgery and other procedures, such as the placement of a restoration (filling)
- Teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health, including tooth brushing, flossing and nutritional counseling
- Taking impressions of patients' teeth for study casts (models of teeth)
- Performing office management tasks
- Communicating with patients and suppliers, which may involve scheduling appointments, answering the telephone, billing and ordering supplies
- Solo dental practices with only one dentist
- Group practices with two or more dentists
- Specialty practices such as oral and maxillofacial surgery (removal of teeth and correction of facial deformities), orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics (straightening teeth with braces or other appliances), endodontics (root canal treatment), periodontics (treatment of gum problems), prosthodontics (replacement of lost teeth) and pediatric dentistry (treatment of children)
- Public health dentistry, including settings such as schools and clinics which focus on the prevention of dental problems within entire communities
- Hospital dental clinics, where they assist dentists in treating bedridden patients
- Dental school clinics, assisting dental students as they learn to perform dental procedures
- Insurance companies, where they may work in dental claims processing
Variety: Dental assisting is a challenging and rewarding career, demanding versatility and a willingness to assume responsibility for many different tasks.
Flexibility: Since dental assistants are in demand, career options include both full-time and part-time positions, giving you the freedom to arrange your schedule around family and lifestyle needs.
Excellent working conditions: Dental offices are interesting, pleasant, people-oriented environments.
Personal satisfaction: Dental assisting involves people contact, and with this comes the personal satisfaction of knowing you've really helped someone with a valuable health service.
- Dental assistants receive their formal education through academic programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes, universities or dental schools.
- Graduates of these programs usually receive certificates. Most academic dental assisting programs take nine to eleven months to complete.
- Some schools offer accelerated training, part-time education programs or distance learning options.
- The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) is responsible for accrediting dental assisting programs. There are approximately 240 CODA-accredited programs in the United States.
- Most dental assistants who choose to become nationally certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Becoming a CDA shows that you are trained and ready to assist dentists and other dental team members in providing quality care.
- Dental assistants are eligible to take the CDA examination if they have completed a CODA-accredited program. Individuals who have trained on the job or have graduated from non-accredited programs are eligible to take the national certification examination after two years of full-time work experience as dental assistants.
- Some states also recognize passage of components of the CDA examination, such as the Radiation Health and Safety examination, or the Infection Control examination, for licensing and regulatory purposes.
- State regulations vary, and some states require or offer registration or licensure. For more information on the type of education, training or registration dental assistants must have in your state, contact your state board of dental examiners.
Contact your dentist or your local dental society to learn more about careers in dental assisting. You may be able to visit a dental office to observe dental assistants at work. You also can contact an accredited dental assisting program and arrange to talk with a counselor or visit the school.
To learn more about dental assisting careers, continuing education courses and educational programs, contact:
The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)
The American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA)
The Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB)
Dental office manager
Dental office managers oversee many of the duties that help make a dental practice a successful business. Dental office management job titles vary. For example, titles may include office manager, patient coordinator, business manager, practice administrator, or insurance and finance coordinator.
- Manage the practice’s daily operations, including marketing and communications
- Interview, coach and supervise staff
- Make sure the practice complies with federal, state and local regulations
- Manage patient financial accounts as well as oversee the dental practice finances
Variety: Dental office managing is a challenging and rewarding career, demanding versatility and a willingness to assume responsibility for many different tasks.
Flexibility: Career options include both full-time and part-time positions, giving you the freedom to arrange your schedule around family and lifestyle needs.
Excellent working conditions: Dental offices are interesting, pleasant, people-oriented environments.
Personal satisfaction: Working as a Dental Office Manager involves people contact, and with this comes the personal satisfaction of knowing you've really helped someone with a valuable health service.
Typically, dental office managers have a variety of educational backgrounds. Some dental office managers have bachelor’s or associate degrees or some other type of formal education. But there are a variety of other educational opportunities available outside of a college or university setting.
Contact your dentist or your local dental society to learn more. You may be able to visit a dental office to observe office managers at work.
To learn more about Dental Office Management, including continuing education courses and educational programs, contact:
American Association of Dental Office Management (AADOM)
Dental laboratory technician
Dental lab technicians blend art and science to create custom dentures, crowns, veneers and orthodontic appliances that restore smiles — and confidence.
Dental laboratory technology is both a science and an art. Since each dental patient's needs are different, the duties of a dental laboratory technician are comprehensive and varied. Although dental technicians seldom work directly with patients, except under the direction of a licensed dentist, they are valuable members of the dental care team. They work directly with dentists by following detailed written instructions and using impressions (molds) of the patient's teeth or oral soft tissues to create:
- Full dentures for patients who are missing all of their teeth
- Removable partial dentures or fixed bridges for patients who are missing only one or a few teeth
- Crowns, which are caps for teeth that are designed to restore their original size and shape
- Veneers that enhance the appearance and function of teeth
- Orthodontic appliances and splints to help straighten and protect teeth
Dental technicians work with a variety of materials including waxes, plastics, precious and non-precious alloys, stainless steel, a variety of porcelains, and composites or polymer glass combinations. Many technicians skillfully use sophisticated instruments and equipment. It is important for the technician to help create tooth replacements that are both attractive and functional.
- Most dental lab technicians work in commercial dental laboratories employing from two to 200 people.
- The average laboratory employs about five to ten technicians who may provide a full range of dental prosthetic services or specialize in producing one particular type of prosthesis (for example, removable partial dentures, crown and bridge, etc.)
- Opportunities are also available in private dental offices for technicians who like close one-on-one contact with a dentist.
- Some lab technicians work in dental schools, hospitals and companies that manufacture dental prosthetic materials.
- Dental laboratory technology education programs offer some teaching positions for experienced technicians.
Opportunity: Thanks to constant advancements in technology and materials, there is growing demand for restorative and cosmetic dentistry, creating expanded opportunities for laboratory technicians.
Flexibility: Dental lab technology is a flexible career offering several opportunities for advancement. Experienced technicians can find well-paid positions in commercial laboratories based on their technical or communication skills, become department heads in larger laboratories with supervisory responsibilities, or even own their own laboratories. Dental technicians also may teach dental technology courses in educational programs and apply their knowledge to research, sales and marketing of prosthetic materials, instruments and equipment.
Independence: Technicians perform much of their work without close supervision. They often experience the satisfaction that results from taking an entire project from start to finish.
Creativity: Dental lab technology requires the skill and touch of an artist. Technicians need to be creative when they make prostheses.
Security: The services performed by dental technicians will always be needed. With the population growing older, there will be a continued demand for prostheses which improve these individuals' nutrition, appearance and ability to speak clearly.
Personal fulfillment: Dental lab technicians experience the satisfaction of knowing they help provide a valued health care service that improves patients’ oral health and self-image. Technicians play a significant role in delivering dental health care and take pride in producing a hand-crafted product.
- Dental lab technicians may complete a two-year program at a community college, vocational school, technical college, university or dental school. Graduates of these programs receive either an associate degree or a certificate. Some programs offer a four-year baccalaureate program in dental technology.
- Most candidates need a high school diploma or equivalent to apply to an accredited dental lab technology program.
- The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) is responsible for accrediting dental laboratory technology programs. There are 14 commission-accredited dental laboratory technology programs in the United States.
- Dental lab technicians can become certified by passing examinations that evaluate their technical skills and knowledge. The examinations are administered by the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology.
- A dental technician who passes certification examinations becomes a Certified Dental Technician (CDT). CDTs specialize in one or more of six areas: implants, complete dentures, removable partial dentures, crown and bridge, ceramics or orthodontics.
- Maintaining the National Board Certification CDT credential requires you to commit to continuing education throughout your career. CDTs who celebrate milestone certification anniversaries are recognized throughout the profession for their contributions.
To learn more about dental lab careers, talk with your own dentist or arrange to visit a local dental laboratory. The National Association of Dental Laboratories offers helpful career resources here. The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology also maintains a CDT mentor directory with volunteers who are ready to help candidates meet their certification goals.
Your local dental society or the local component of the National Association of Dental Laboratories will offer resources as well. You can contact an accredited program to talk with a counselor or visit the school.
The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)
The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology (NBC)
The National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL)
The ADA congratulates the following certified dental technicians, who have reached significant career milestones.
Michael Acquaviva, CDT, Millstone, NJ
Mark Anderson, CDT. Asheville, NC
Gary Ballard, CDT, Fruitland, UT
William Barton, CDT, TE, Williamsburg, MI
Matthew Beckmeyer, CDT, Cincinnati, OH
Bernard Belen, CDT, Glendale, AZ
Christopher Bell, CDT, Boerne, TX
Joseph Bertram. CDT, Appleton, WI
JefferyBurton, CDT, Menasha, WI
Andrew Canterbury, CDT, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Ronald Cargulia, CDT. Lucas, TX
Kraig Ceynar, CDT. Fairfax, IA
Adina Chambers. CDT, Seneca Falls, NY
Won Chung, CDT, Cranston, RI
Kevin Clem, CDT, Lubbock, TX
Jody Crawford, CDT. Waco. TX
Cindy Cusimano, CD, Las Vegas, NV
Gregory Cutright, CDT, Houston, TX
Robert Czupryna, Master, CDT, TE, Grand Saline, TX
Cindy Deaton, CDT, Southaven, MS
Robert Durham, CDT, TE, Huntersville, NC
Stephen Edens, CDT, Gainesville, GA
Abel Fernandez, CDT, Sunnyvale, TX
Bozena Filar, CDT, North Bend, OR
John Flohr, CDT, Clever, MO
Kenneth Fournerat, CDT, Lake Charles, LA
Nicholas Franco, CDT, Austin, TX
Wolfgang Friebauer, CDT, Costa Mesa, CA
Russell Giannotti, CDT, Smithtown, NY
Harry Harding, CDT, Taylorsville, KY
AdolphHartmann, CDT, Chicago Heights, IL
Michael Hellmann, CDT, Sarasota, FL
Mark Hidde, CDT, Medford, OR
Marianne Hoerner, CDT, Dubuque, IA
Melissa Hughes Loughlin, CDT, Ft. Wayne, IN
Joan Jagerson, CDT, Rosemount, MN
Kurt Jans, CDT, Fairmont, MN
Bassam Jarkas, CDT, Sherwood, AR
Robert Jones, Jr., CDT, Greenville, SC
Brian Kaiser, CDT, TE, Louisville, KY
Stephan Katzel, CDT, Oak Lawn IL
Terry Laschinger, CDT, Lakeville, MN
Jeffrey Lindsey, CDT, Grant, AL
Shawn Little, CDT, New Braunfels, TX
David Lyons, CDT, TE, Bluff City, TN
Joseph McCann, CDT, Zionsville, IN
David Morales, CDT, Fountain Valley, CA
Sean Mullaney, CDT, Lexington, KY
Steven Nelson, CDT, Aliso Viejo, CA
Nguyen Phan, CDT, Houston, TX
Mark Rothan, CDT, Cincinnati, OH
Byung Ryoo, CDT, Round Lake, IL
Kristine Schmitz, CDT, White Bear Lake, MN
Sharon Schuler, CDT, Port St. Lucie, FL
Keevin Shigenaka, CDT, Fountain Valley, CA
Vladimir Shmerkovich, CDT, Brooklyn, NY
Felix Silva, CDT, San Luis Obispo, CA
Phyllis Smith, CDT, Deer Park, TX
Patty Smith. CDT, Denison, TX
Jack Snead, CDT, Garland, TX
Raymond Stuckey, CDT, Medford, NY
Robert Teachout, CDT, Prescott, MI
Andre Theberge, CDT, Matthews, NC
Fadi Touma, CDT, Dundas, Ontario, Canada
Elizabeth Vandenberg, CDT, Milwaukee, WI
Armando Vasquez, CDT, Oro Valley, AZ
Steve Webster, CDT, Angleton, TX
Kari Willey, CDT, Bennett, CO
Douglas Wolfe, CDT, Everett, WA
Jose Zamudio, CDT, McAllen, TX
Julio Zavala, Master CDT, Metairie, LA
Angelo Allen, CDT, New Market, VA
Charles Anderson, CDT, Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Vincent Astorino, CDT, Taylor, MI
Leonard Aucoin, Jr., CDT, Violet, LA
Sherill Aumiller, CDT, Kirkland, WA
Luis Baca, III, CDT, Brownsville, TX
Michael Backoff, CDT, Orchard Beach, MD
Terry Bagley, CDT, Cedar Rapids, IA
Jose Barrera, CDT, Pharr, TX
Alan Bourgouin, CDT, Goffstown, NH
Joseph, Breaux, Master CDT, Beaumont, TX
Michael Cash, CDT, Oceanside, CA
Alicia Caudle, CDT, Evans, GA
Kang Choe, CDT, Bellevue, WA
Rack Choi, CDT, Houston, TX
Robert Clark, CDT, Gilroy, CA
David Cline, CDT, Ft. Thomas, KY>
Jesus Colunga, CDT, El Paso, TX
Paul Contreras, CDT, Abilene, TX
Steven Daggett, CDT, Stoughton, WI
Steven DeMatos, CDT, New Port Richey, FL
Michael Desjardins, CDT, Kittery, ME
Cynthia Diamond, CDT, Flomaton, AL
James Doherty, CDT, Lake Helen, FL
Mark Ensminger, CDT, Enola, PA
Michael Fialkievicz, CDT, Columbia, CT
Deborah Fichter, CDT, Tomball, TX
Benjamin Frazier, CDT, Opelika, AL
Robert Fuglestad, Master CDT, Frontenac, MN
Georgette Geels, CDT, Coppell, TX
James Goodwin, CDT, Somerset, KY
Darren Gordon, CDT, TE, Sandia Park, NM
James Gwaltney, CDT, Green River, WY
Debra Hall, CDT, New Waverly, TX
Jason Hamilton, CDT, Bloomington, IN
Denis Hanlon, CDT, TE, Battle Ground, WA
Brandy Hauger, CDT, Liberty Hill, TX
Rodney Herring, CDT, Shreveport, LA
Don Hornbuckle, CDT, Lynnville, TN
Bryson Hyatt, CDT, Glasgow, KY
Henderson Jude, Jr., CDT, Debord, KY
Sung Kang, CDT, Palm Harbor, FL
Vahe Kodabakshian, CDT, Northridge, CA
Hyuk Kwon, CDT, Garland, TX
Barbara Lawler, CDT, Chatfield, MN
Colleen Liddy, CDT, Fanwood, NJ
Mark Longo, CDT, Manchester, CT
James Mahan, CDT, Morgan Hill, CA
Robert Mahony, CDT, Westminster, CO
Reynaldo Martinez, CDT, Grand Prairie, TX
Wayne Matychuk, CDT, Omaha, NE
Mary Susan McKittrick, CDT, Punta Gorda, FL
Anne Mitchell, Master CDT, San Antonio, TX
Karen Neag, CDT, Torrington, CT
Thuy Nguyen, CDT, Houston, TX
Blake Nunn, CDT, Albuquerque, NM
Joseph Oliva, CDT, Southbury, CT
Robert Oswald, CDT, Gainesville, TX
Vincent Ovalle, CDT, New York
William Parsons, CDT, Depew, NY
Derek Pawlak, CDT, TE, Plantation, FL
Richard Peebles, CDT, TE, Indian Hills, CO
Peggy Pospisil, CDT, Malmo, NE
J. David Ramirez, CDT, San Antonio, TX
Thomas Ray, CDT, Smithsgrove, KY
Robert Richmond, CDT, Huntsville, AL
Thomas Robey, CDT, TE, Brentwood, MO
Mohammed Sajid, CDT, Ft. Wayne, IN
Jose Salas, CDT, Miami, FL
Brad Schwenk, CDT, Jasper, IN
Kelley Sepulvado, CDT, Tyler, TX
Robert Showman, CDT, Shreveport, LA
Linda Solomon, CDT, Belton, MO
Kristin Spencer, CDT, Maplewood, MN
Gary Stone, CDT, Lino Lakes, MN
Shoji Suruga, CDT, Chesapeake, VA
Joseph Thomason, CDT, Stapleton, GA
Brenda Triplett, CDT, Pasadena, TX
Thomas Trottier, CDT, Florissant, CO
Belinda Trygstad, CDT, Cottage Grove, WI
Andrew Turbyfill, CDT, Columbia, SC
Mark Turner, CDT, TE, Boerne, TX
Kimberly Vasquez, CDT, Whitefish, MT
Juan Vazquez, CDT, Lakeland, FL
Debra Waldrip, CDT, Arlington, TX
Barry Watson, Jr., CDT, Port Charlotte, FL
Cybele Weilbacher, CDT, Dunedin, FL
Cheryl Wells Patterson, CDT, Dallas, TX
Robert Bartlett, CDT, Georgetown, KY
Stephen Bergan, CDT, Evansdale, IA
Doyle Bowles, CDT, Richmond, KY
Lisa Carter, CDT, Peoria, AZ
Brian Daniels, CDT, TE, Bannister, MI
Donna Duelberg, CDT, Victoria, TX
Jeffrey Effinger, CDT, Evansville, IN
Tracy Eggleston, CDT, Cedar Rapids, IA
Charles Fager, CDT, Lewisberry, PA
Kenneth Fort, CDT, TE, Gainesville, FL
Colleen Foster, CDT, Houston, TX
Donna Goldman, CDT, Desoto, TX
Mark Griffin, CDT, Henderson, TX
Carl Hickmott, CDT, Fenton, MI
Ray Holloway, CDT, Energy, IL
Cindy Jeansonne, CDT, Hammond, LA
Soonho Kim, CDT, Wichita, KS
Karen Knapp, CDT, Lexington, KY
Scott Larson, CDT, Baxter, MN
Janice Lawton, CDT, Mount Juliet, TN
Jean Lind, CDT, New Albany, IN
Randell McDade, CDT, Longview, TX
William McHail, III, CDT, TE, Star, ID
Greg McKeefer, CDT, Plano, TX
Reynold Merchant, CDT, Ozark, MO
Michael Nichols, CDT, TE, Elyria, OH
Michael Noriega, CDT. Grovetown, GA
James Pinto, II, CDT, Naples, FL
Douglas Ranker, CDT, TE, Haskins, OH
Sara Reid, CDT, San Antonio, TX
James Robinson, CDT, Gainesville, GA
Ruben Rodriguez, CDT, Apopka, FL
Todd Rogers, CDT, Charleston, SC
William Roy, CDT, New Albany, IN
Stephen Spoon, CDT, Houston, TX
Mitzi Sutphin, CDT, Goodview, VA
Jo Taylor, CDT, Florence, AL
Wendy Wagner, CDT, Midland, TX
Edward Watson, CDT, Arlington, TX
Timothy Weinschenk, CDT, Green Bay, WI
Brian Willison, CDT, Buffalo, NY
William Wirth, CDT, Elgin, IL
Sami Yared, CDT, Carrollton, TX
Craig Yoder, CDT, York Springs, PA
Betty Zoller, CDT, TE, Terre Haute, IN
Timothy Zuber, CDT, TE, Harrisonburg, VA
Michael Alonge, CDT, Green Valley, AZ
David Andrus, CDT, Byers, CO
Joseph Bakanowski, CDT, Reading, PA
James Bauer, CDT, Quincy, IL
Dennis Becker, CDT, Cedar Rapids, IA
William Brock, CDT, Coral Gables, FL
Michael Brock, CDT, TE, Creighton, PA
Alberto Camacho, CDT, Durham, NC
Kimberly Camp, CDT, Pensacola, FL
Rick Chambers, CDT, Amarillo, TX
Sharon Coutts, CDT, Mendham, NJ
William Disantis, Master CDT, TE, Yakima, WA
Douglas Frye, CDT, Farmington, MO
Louis Fung, CDT, Covina, CA
Courtney Glover, CDT, Beaumont, TX
J. Anita Gordon, CDT, Augusta, GA
Michael Gundrum, CDT, TE, Cincinnati, OH
Kevin Hansotte, CDT, Butler, PA
W. Kim Harper, CDT, Kinston, NC
Wanda Hincher, CDT, Elkin, NC
John Hirsch, CDT, Louisville, KY
Craig Hoitash, CDT, Westland, MI
Sherri Istilart, CDT, Indio, CA
Jeffery Johnson, CDT, Hopkinsville, KY
Wesley Johnson, CDT, Bettendorf, IA
Keith Kamin, CDT, Noblesville, IN
John Kupper, CDT, Wethersfield, CT
Dennis Lanier, CDT, Columbus, GA
Michael Lembke, CDT, Burnsville, MN
Richard Masters, CDT, Williamsport, PA
Karen Matschull, CDT, North St. Paul, MN
Jackie McEndree, CDT, Lubbock, TX
Moshe Mizrachi, CDT, Reynoldsburg, OH
Terrence Morse, CDT, Fairport Harbor, OH
Igor Narodovich, CDT, Chagrin Falls, OH
John Nienaber, CDT, Hebron, KY
Michael Nuth, CDT, Cottage Grove, MN
Christopher Nuzzolo, CDT, Toms River, NJ John Palmer, CDT, San Antonio, TX
John Pearson, CDT, Deerfield Beach, FL
Daniel Perez, CDT, Dawsonville, GA
John Phillips, CDT, Fort Wright, KY
Stephen Polcyn, CDT, Oak Lawn, IL
Connie Powell, CDT, Mesquite, TX
Thomas Pyritz, DDS, MAGD, CDT, Pensacola, FL
Victor Ramirez, Master CDT, Nederland, TX
Raymond Rayeski, CDT, Hamburg, NY
Leila Joy Rosenthal, CDT, Brookline, MA
Laura Sheppard, CDT, TE, Elk Rapids, MI
Benson Shulman, CDT, TE, Boca Raton, FL
Joseph Sledge, CDT, Macon, GA
Bernardo Sosa, CDT, Tampa, FL
Michael Tarver, CDT, Woodstock, GA
Mark Tetreault, CDT, Northwood, NH
Glenn Thom, CDT, San Clemente, CA
Thomas Wester, Jr., CDT, TE, Hoover, AL
Leslie Wuerfel, CDT, Blasdell, NY
Douglas Baker, CDT, Naples, FL
John Belancio, Sr., CDT, West Berlin, NJ
John Brown, III, CDT, Waco, TX
Jose Castaneda, CDT, Ft. Worth, TX
Robert, Ditta, CDT, Fountain Hills, AZ
Billy Drake, CDT, Waxhaw, NC
Richard Guarino, CDT, Revere, MA
Stephen Hansen, CDT, TE, Shawnee Mission, KS
Glenn Haskins, CDT, Macon, GA
Kennedy Hawxhurst, CDT, Lake Forest, IL
Benjamin Hunt, III, CDT, TE, Albertson, NC
Jerry Kinderknecht, CDT, Germantown, MD
David Kiser, CDT, Thornville, OH
D. Michael Klein, CDT, Lee’s Summit, MO
Harry Koukides, CDT, Baltimore, MD
James Levesque, CDT, San Angelo, TX
Kim Lockett, CDT, Knoxville, TN
Gerry Mariacher, CDT, TE, Houston, TX
Gail Milton, CDT, East Weymouth, MA
Jeffrey Milton, CDT, East Weymouth, MA
Ray Morelock, CDT, Weatherford, TX
Jeffrey Moses, CDT, Chardon, OH
David Nakanishi, CDT, Bellevue, WA
Alfred Nelson, CDT, Huntingdon Valley, PA
Lynn Palmer, CDT, Houston, TX
Charles Pittman, Jr., CDT, Gainesville, GA
Bruce Rykken, CDT, Chanhassen, MN
Arthur Sandy, Jr., CDT, TE, Salem, SC
Charles Shearer, CDT, Wampum, PA
Stephen Strong, CDT, TE, Port Ludlow, WA
Gregory Thayer, CDT, Dillsburg, PA
Lonni Thompson, CDT, Columbus, OH
Margaret Treder, CDT, TE, Brookfield, WI
Stephen Walker, CDT, North Truro, MA
Thurman Byles, CDT, Belton, TX
Allan Castle, CDT, Boerne, TX
Howard Cosner, Jr., CDT, TE, Bradenton, FL
Roosevelt Davis, Master CDT, San Antonio, TX
Danny Diebel, CDT, FNBC, Lakeway, TX
Alvin Gibson, Master CDT, Gainesville, GA
John Hagler, CDT, Ocala, FL
Bruce Keeling, CDT, Phoenix, AZ
Darrel Kendall, CDT, Orlando, FL
N. Terry Loggans, CDT, Columbus, GA
Leonard Marotta, CDT, Farmingdale, NY
Howard Stone, Jr., CDT, Durham, NC
Masako Tanaka, CDT, Nagoya, Japan
John King, CDT, Poway, CA
Larry Lindke, CDT, Dunwoody, GA
John Porter, CDT, Riverview, FL
Delfino Rodriguez, CDT, Lubbock, TX
Paul Smith, CDT. Parsippany, NJ
David Tamekazu, CDT, Honolulu, HI
J. John Airhart, Master CDT, Metairie, LA
Joseph Estinson, CDT, Spokane Valley, WA
Jeffrey Isacson, Master CDT, Pine Brook, NJ
Johannes Kuehn, Master CDT, Simi Valley, CA
Robert Michael, BS, Master CDT, TE, Cedaredge, CO
James Morton, Sr., Master CDT, Conway, SC
Marty Rosumny, CDT, Beaverton, OR
Lawrence Araneo, Master CDT, Staten Island, NY
Frank Compolo, CDT, TE, E. Herkimer, NY
Sol Greenberg, Master CDT, East Meadow, NY
Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC)
In 2006, the ADA launched the community dental health coordinator program to provide support and services for people who may have difficulty gaining access to quality dental care. Learn more about this emerging role and what it takes to become a CDHC.
CDHCs are trained community health workers with dental skills who work as members of the dental team. As a CDHC, your goal will be to link patients with dental care providers who are ready to serve them. You will be a bridge between underutilized resources and patients who can benefit.
CDHCs focus on case management, navigation and oral health education and promotion. They may conduct motivational interviews to reveal issues or concerns that might keep patients from seeking oral care. Community mapping — which involves helping people identify oral health resources near them — may also be part of the role.
You can find trained CDHCs working in:
- Large group practices
- Dental clinics
- Faith-based settings
- Head Start programs serving school-aged children and their families
Several dental practices may also join together to hire a CDHC that works with all participating locations.
Personal satisfaction: The CDHC role is helping millions of people who lack access to adequate dental care find the services they need. As a CDHC, you can play a significant role in improving the oral health of hundreds, even thousands of people near you.
Career security: As the dental profession works to end the disparities that block so many people from getting the oral care they need, the demand for CDHCs will expand. Career opportunities will be strong in the years ahead.
CDHCs often come from the same communities where they grew up or attended school. This ensures they have a good grasp of cultural and language barriers that might affect patient habits, concerns and needs. CDHCs are trained to:
- Work in clinics, schools, private practices and public health settings in accordance with state laws and regulations
- Collect information to help dentists provide quality care
- Help patients set goals and learn skills to improve their oral health
- Coordinate care in accordance with a dentist’s instructions
- Help patients navigate the health care system
- Provide specific clinical services such as fluoride treatments, sealants and dental x-rays
There are CDHC training programs across the country, and graduates are now working in many states. In many cases, the curriculum is integrated with dental assisting and dental hygiene programs.
To learn more about the CDHC role and how you can get started, contact your state or local dental society.
Find an overview of CDHC careers and resources from the ADA's Action for Dental Health.