J Dent Hyg Sci.  2020 Dec;20(4):200-205. 10.17135/jdhs.2020.20.4.200.

Dental Hygienists in Japan

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dental Hygiene, College of Medical Science, Konyang University, Daejeon 35365, Korea
  • 2Department of Oral Epidemiology, Graduate School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, 734-8553, Japan
  • 3Graduate School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, 734-8553, Japan

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the status of dental hygienists in Japan. The study explicated the history, core curriculum, National Examination for Dental Hygienists, work roles of dental hygienists, and workplaces of dental hygienists. This study was based on the government policy report on dental hygienists and the information published by each public institution. The latest statistics presented by the institutions were collected through official websites. The employment information of graduates from Hiroshima University was analyzed based on actual field study. The results of the study revealed that social demand for dental hygienists has steadily increased and policies and education have been revised accordingly. The work roles of dental hygienists have expanded to meet the needs of the treatment and those of public health fields. In line with major policy changes, the educational period has been extended from 1 year to 3 or 4 years, while the mandatory credits for graduation have been established. Licensing examinations were being performed by the local governments since 1948 due to the different situations of dental hygienists in different areas. In 1992, they were converted into a single national examination. The work roles have expanded from assisting dental treatments to health guidance, home care, and perioperative care. Consequently, the number of dental hygienists has increased, especially in healthcare facilities for the elderly. Dental hygienists perform various roles. However, the most essential role is to provide the best oral care services to the patient. The expected role of dental hygienists has expanded in alignment with public healthcare needs and support for the elderly. The government and universities are expected to bring about improvements such as diversifying the channels of education and establishing policies to respond to growing patient needs by cultivating excellent dental hygiene professionals.

Keyword

Curriculum; Dental hygienist; Japan; National examination
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