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Int J Dent Hyg. 2009 Feb;7(1):17-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-5037.2008.00314.x.

Working profiles of dental hygienists in public and private practice in Finland and Norway.

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Institute of Dentistry, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.



The aim was to compare the working profiles of Finnish and Norwegian dental hygienists in public and private practice. To this end, we compared the procedures performed, the type of patients and the time devoted to different tasks.


A questionnaire survey was originally conducted among a representative sample of dental hygienists in Finland (n = 595) and all authorized dental hygienists in Norway (n = 1,138) in 2004. The questionnaires collected data on the dental hygienists' age, gender, year of graduation, working experience, work sector (private or public), working time spent on different activities and patient groups. The questionnaire also assessed how frequently the dental hygienists performed 25 different treatment measures.


The Norwegian dental hygienists spent 45.4% of their clinical time on check-ups, whereas the Finns spent 49.9% of their time scaling. Dental hygienists in Finland and Norway working in the public sector spent 42.9% and 74.6% of their working time dealing with children and youth respectively.


The working profiles of dental hygienists in Finland and Norway were quite similar, although differences in distribution by activities, type of patients and treatment measures do exist. The main activity of the dental hygienists was clinical work. The most commonly practised clinical activity among Finnish dental hygienists was scaling, and among Norwegians, check-ups. Public dental hygienists in both countries dealt mainly with children and youths. Oral hygiene instruction was the most commonly reported treatment measure among both Finns and Norwegians.

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