Minnesota Dental Hygienists Facts and Data 2004

Each year when dental hygienists renew their licenses, the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care asks them to answer questions about their employment status and the nature of their practices. Response to the survey is voluntary and does not affect license renewal.

NOTE: In the tables below, “urban” is defined to include seven Twin City metropolitan counties (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington) and the cities of Duluth, Rochester and St. Cloud.

Numbers of Dental Hygienists

In January 2005, there were 4,296 dental hygienists with Minnesota licenses. Some were retired or not working as dental hygienists, and many lived or practiced in other states. The Board of Dentistry received an estimated 4,126 license renewals due January 1, 2004.

The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care received survey responses from 3,456 dental hygienists during 2004. At the time of license renewal, 2,724 of these said they working at least part time at a primary practice site in Minnesota.

The exact number of dental hygienists actually practicing in Minnesota is not known. Survey respondents represented approximately 84 percent of all dental hygienists renewing licenses in 2004. If active Minnesota-based dental hygienists responded to the survey at about the same rate as all dental hygienists renewing their licenses, the estimated total number of dental hygienists working at least part time in Minnesota would be about 3,240. If active Minnesota dental hygienists were more likely to respond to the survey, the estimated number of active Minnesota dental hygienists would be somewhat lower. Using the July 1, 2004 population estimate for Minnesota, 3,240 dental hygienists equate to 64 active dental hygienists per 100,000 people.

Because of different data sources and definitions, this estimate of 64 active dental hygienists is not directly comparable to other reported data. The Bureau of Health Professions in the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration reported that Minnesota had 3,410 practicing dental hygienists in 2000, or 69 dental hygienists per 100,000 people, exceeding the national number of 50. This federal data appears to include licensed dental hygienists practicing in states other than the state in which licensed.

All data reported below is for dental hygienists who work at least part time at a primary practice site in Minnesota, according to the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care survey of dental hygienists renewing licenses for 2004.

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Age and Gender of Dental Hygienists Active in Minnesota by Location

  • At 99.1 percent female, dental hygienists are the most female-dominated health profession in Minnesota. Nearly all hygienists are female in both rural and urban areas, as well in every major kind of practice setting.
  • The dental hygienist workforce is relatively young, with a median age of 41.
  • Nearly 30 percent of hygienists are under age 35.
Age Group

Statewide
n = 2,724
respondents

Urban
n = 1,906
respondents

Rural
n = 818
respondents

Less than 35
29.3%
28.1%
32.3%
35-44
31.5%
30.7%
33.1%
45-54
32.2%
33.1%
30.3%
55-64
6.2%
7.1%
3.9%
65 and older
.8%
1.0%
.4%
Total
100.0%
100.0%
100.0%

Primary Practice Settings by Location-Dental Hygienists Active in Minnesota

Most dental hygienists are employed in private solo or group dental offices.

Practice Setting

All Dental Hygienists

Urban
Rural
N=respondents

2,724

1,906

818

Solo private

51.5%

48.8%

57.9%

Group private

40.4%

41.1%

38.8%

Educational

1.8%

2.2%

1.0%

Clinic (non staff HMO)

1.9%

2.6%

.5%

Hospital (acute care)

.1%

.1%

.1%

Institutional

.4%

.4%

.6%

Public health facility

1.0%

.9%

1.1%

Staff model HMO

2.2%

3.1%

-0-

Other

.6%

.8%

2.4%


Primary Professional Activities and Duties

  • Patient care is the primary professional activity for 97 percent of dental hygienists working in Minnesota.
  • Most dental hygienists are responsible for infection control and taking or developing radiographs. Other common duties include laboratory procedures, and handling waste materials and soiled work garments.

Dental Hygienists Duties

Percent

Performing infection control measures

98.2%

Taking or developing radiographs

97.5%

Handling or transporting waste

45.0%

Handling or transporting soiled garments

35.5%

Laboratory procedures
35.4%

Sending out biopsy specimens

3.7%

None of the above

1.3%


Race and ethnicity

The dental hygienist workforce is overwhelmingly white. Small numbers of racial and ethnic minorities work in urban locations.

Race/Ethnicity

Rural

Urban

White

99.3%

97.2%

Black or African American

-0-

.4%

Asian

.1%

1.4%

American Indian or Alaska Native

.1%

.1%

Spanish/Hispanic/Latino

.2%

.4%

Other

-0-

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Updated Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 12:28PM