Recent legislation in Denmark has made it possible for dentists to delegate their tasks to dental hygienists. Previous studies have shown that Danish dental hygienists primarily were performing assignments within their own work field. These assignments include prophylaxis or instructing patients in oral health care. However, studies have also shown that Danish dental hygienists performed dental nurse assignments such as chair-side assistance, unit cleaning and disinfection of instruments.
The objectives of this study were to investigate (i) the range of work assignments performed by Danish dental hygienists, (ii) the types of dentist tasks performed by Danish dental hygienists and (iii) job satisfaction among Danish dental hygienists.
Dental hygienists graduating in 2004–2007 were invited to participate in this study.
Participants answered an email-distributed questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of questions regarding job satisfaction, assignments performed, postgraduate course attendance, receiving assistance from a dental nurse and which work assignments Danish dental hygienists wish to perform in the future.
The results of this study showed that 90% of Danish dental hygienists were satisfied with their job and 52% were performing dentists’ tasks. Among dentists’ tasks performed by Danish dental hygienists, invasive caries therapy was the most frequently performed task.
The type of assignments performed by Danish dental hygienists today appears to be changing compared to previous studies. From initially performing prophylaxis and chair-side assistance for the dentist, Danish dental hygienists today are performing a wider range of tasks which includes dentists’ tasks.