The Dental Hygienist provides preventive oral health care through: oral health screening, teeth debridement, scaling and root planning, polishing and oral health counseling. It is expected that they provide direct patient care and receive guidance from higher-level or supervisory staff members for only the most complex patients. Employees at this level serve as staff dental hygienists at the full performance level.
Learn more about this agency


The incumbent will be required to have had previous training and certification in administering local anesthesia (both block and infiltration) under supervision of the dentist and be proficient in taking radiographs.

Customer Service

  • Relationships with management, co-workers, patients, and the general public are consistently courteous, respectful, and cooperative in nature.
  • Employee will display a cooperative attitude and will effectively work together to implement the organization's mission and goals and support performance measures.
  • Employee will ensure productivity is maintained at the established level utilizing recommended Central Office Relative Value Unit (RVU) requirements.

Patient Care

  • Sets up operatory for planned dental procedure and cleans the dental unit for timely turnover.
  • Completes preliminary dental examinations on dental service patients. The hygienist reviews patient's medical and dental history for evidences of past and present conditions such as medical illness and use of drug which may complicate or alter dental hygiene treatment; examines the teeth and surrounding tissues for evidence of plaque and periodontal disease such as oral cancer; interprets routine x-rays to identify tooth structures, calculus, and abnormalities such as cavities and deep periodontal pockets. Refers abnormalities such as cavities, traumatic occlusion, and suspicious lesions to the dentist.
  • Performs a complete oral prophylaxis on ambulatory and non-ambulatory patients. Performs deep subgingival scaling, root planning, and curettage under local anesthesia. Polishes the teeth and applies stannous fluoride for hypersensitivity and caries prevention. Provides bedside prophylactic treatment using specialized procedures for comatose patients, neurosurgical patients, and other types of non-ambulatory patients.
  • In postoperative care of oral surgery and periodontal surgery patients, performs suture removal, changes dressings, applies topical anesthetics, and provides home care instructions. In oral cancer patients, takes impressions for construction of mouth guards, applies fluoride, and maintains recall system for careful follow-up of each patient.
  • Assists the dentist by making repairs and adjustments to the teeth by smoothing rough edges of restorations, removing overhanging margins of fillings, reducing sharp edges of fractured teeth, polishing and finishing amalgam restorations, and inserting temporary filings in teeth.
  • Handles instruments safely; Cleans dental prosthesis, fixed and removable.
  • Manages dental recall system, referring patients to the dentist for additional care when needed.
  • Provides patient education appropriate to the veteran's needs and oral condition.
  • Accomplishes all procedures within standard infection control protocols.

Preventative Dentistry

  • Instructs patients at chairside in oral hygiene, brushing and flossing techniques and periodontal aids which increase the amount of stimulation to the teeth. Plans and adapts instructions in home care techniques, tailoring them to the oral hygiene needs and oral problems of individual patients.
  • Regularly instructs nurses and nursing assistants in the proper techniques of oral hygiene to be applied to the bedridden, handicapped, disabled or chronically ill patient.
  • Provides adequate stock of oral hygiene supplies and instruction pamphlets for clinic patients.

Dental Imaging

  • Images are characterized by diagnostic quality, accurately oriented and exposed.
  • Dental imaging safety techniques are utilized, and retakes are minimized.
  • Exposes radiographs on patients including bite wing, periapical and panoramic x-rays. Adjusts voltage, amperage, and timing of x-ray equipment.

Infection Control

  • Demonstrates proper infection control procedures in setting up and cleaning dental operatories
  • Ensures Instruments are properly pre-treated for pick-up by SPS personnel
  • Demonstrates proper infection control procedures in exposing images

Information Management

  • Maintains patient confidentiality per HIPAA with written and verbal information
  • Follows computer security regulations

Patient Safety

  • Modifies care as necessitated by patient's age and abilities (patient transfer and position)
  • Provides accurate and understandable instructions to patients
  • Participates in patient identification and time out per JCAHO requirements
  • Monitors patient condition during treatment, being alert for signs of physical distress

Clerical Functions

  • Assists patients in scheduling appointments
  • Assists in filling gaps in the schedule due to late cancellations and failed appointments
  • Charts findings, treatment plans, and treatment provided in patient records in a concise and understandable manner.

Employee Education

  • Complies with Employee Education requirements.
  • Completes mandatory annual safety training sessions.

Work Schedule: Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 4:30pm
Financial Disclosure Report: Not required

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job
  • Designated and/or random drug testing may be required
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959
  • You may be required to serve a probationary period
  • Subject to a background/security investigation
  • Must be proficient in written and spoken English
  • Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process


Applicants pending the completion of educational or certification/licensure requirements may be referred and tentatively selected but may not be hired until all requirements are met.

Basic Requirements:

  • United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy.
  • Education: Associate Degree or higher in an accredited dental hygiene program. This program must be accredited by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
  • Licensure: Applicants must be currently licensed to practice as a dental hygienist with a full, current, and unrestricted license in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or the District of Columbia.
  • Certification: Public Law 97-35 requires that persons who administer radiologic procedures meet the credentialing standards in 42 CFR Part 75. Essentially, they must have successfully completed an educational program that meets or exceeds the standards described in that regulation, and is accredited by an organization recognized by the Department of Education, and be certified as radiographers in their field. Accredited dental hygiene programs contain curriculum addressing radiologic procedures which will meet the requirement for certification as dental radiographers.
  • English Language Proficiency: Dental hygienists must be proficient in spoken and written English as required by 38 U.S.C. 7402(d), and 7407(d).

May qualify based on being covered by the Grandfathering Provision as described in the VA Qualification Standard for this occupation (only applicable to current VHA employees who are in this occupation and meet the criteria).

Grandfathering Provision: All persons employed in VHA as a dental hygienist on the effective date of this qualification standard are considered to have met all qualification requirements for the title, series and grade held, including positive education and licensure/certification that are part of the basic requirements of the occupation. For employees who do not meet all the basic requirements in this standard, but who met the qualifications applicable to the position at the time they were appointed to it, the following provisions apply:

(1) Employees grandfathered into the GS-682 occupational series may be reassigned, promoted up to and including the full performance (journeyman) level, or changed to lower grade within the occupation, but may not be promoted beyond the journeyman level or placed in supervisory or managerial positions.

(2) Employees who are appointed on a temporary basis prior to the effective date of the qualification standard may not have their temporary appointment extended or be reappointed, on a temporary or permanent basis, until they fully meet the basic requirements of the standard.

(3) Employees initially grandfathered into this occupation, who subsequently obtain additional education and/or licensure/certification that meet all the basic requirements of this qualification standard must maintain the required credentials as a condition of employment in the occupation.

(4) If an employee who was retained as a dental hygienist under this provision leaves the occupation, the employee loses protected status and must meet the full VA qualification standard requirements in effect at the time of reentry as a dental hygienist.

Preferred Experience: Minimum of five (5) years of experience practicing clinical hygiene with preference given to applicants who have experience working within a VA Medical Center.

NOTE: You will be required to have previous training and certification in administering local anesthesia (both block and infiltration) under supervision of the dentist and be proficient in taking digital radiographs.

Grade Determinations:GS-9: You have at least one year of experience equivalent to the GS-8 grade level and are able to demonstrates the clinical competencies at that level. 1) Knowledge of state of the art preventive dentistry measures for patient instruction and training, 2) Knowledge of anatomy and physiology in order to interpret the examination request accurately; to understand the functioning and interrelationship of the various anatomical structures appearing on the radiographic image and the various stages of the examination to judge the acceptability of the radiography for diagnostic use; and to present for viewing, 3) Skill in providing individual and group oral health care instructions to inpatients, outpatient, Nursing Home Care Unit patients, etc, and 4) Knowledge of VA, The Joint Commission (TJC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and related regulations and guidelines pertaining to dental matters.

In addition to the above, applicants must demonstrate the following KSAs:

1. Ability to assess the patient's medical, dental, anxiety/phobias, medications, and comorbidities for safe patient care.
2. Ability to assess the impact of patient's medical and dental condition on maintaining oral health, recognize age-related changes in individual patients, adapt patient environment, and maximize patient's physical comfort.
3. Skill in detecting plaque and calculus, dental abnormalities/pathologies, assessing inflammation and providing safe instrumentation for each procedure.
4. Knowledge to select appropriate available fluoride products and indications/limitations for safe proper application.
5. Knowledge of hygiene procedures in order to explain the process and indication, complications, and expected treatment outcomes for each.
6. Knowledge of proper usage of dental radiography equipment, radiation safety, assessment of proper image capture and interpretation of films.
7. Skill in educating patients and caregivers on periodontal disease, wellness, health maintenance, oral hygiene practices, parafunctional habits, and effects of illness, addictions, medications and tobacco on the oral cavity.

References: VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Appendix G37, Dental Hygienist Qualification Standard, dated May 12, 2014.The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-9.

Physical Requirements: Long periods of sitting and recurring bending and reaching are required while performing dental hygiene procedures. The hygienist must also demonstrate above average dexterity in manipulating dental instruments and materials.

Work involves regular and recurring exposure to the hazards of radiation and communicable diseases. The hygienist uses a lead shield for protection against radiation and frequently wears face mask, gloves, gowns and goggles during the performance of clinical procedures.


IMPORTANT: A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education.

Note: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: http: ope.ed.gov/accreditation/ . If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For further information, visit: http: www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html .

Additional information

Receiving Service Credit or Earning Annual (Vacation) Leave: Federal Employees earn annual leave at a rate (4, 6 or 8 hours per pay period) which is based on the number of years they have served as a Federal employee. VA may offer newly-appointed Federal employee's credit for their job-related non-federal experience or active duty uniformed military service. This credited service can be used in determining the rate at which they earn annual leave. Such credit must be requested and approved prior to the appointment date and is not guaranteed.

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.

It is the policy of the VA to not deny employment to those that have faced financial hardships or periods of unemployment.

This position is in the Excepted Service and does not confer competitive status.

VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply. The health-related positions in VA are covered by Title 38, and are not covered by the Schedule A excepted appointment authority.

Veterans and Transitioning Service Members: Please visit the VA for Vets site for career-search tools for Veterans seeking employment at VA, career development services for our existing Veterans, and coaching and reintegration support for military service members.

If you are unable to apply online view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application .

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

IN DESCRIBING YOUR EXPERIENCE, PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. WE MAY NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS REGARDING YOUR EXPERIENCE. Your application, résumé, C.V., and/or supporting documentation will be verified. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect consideration for employment.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religions; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

Trust determination process

Required Documents

To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes:

  • VA Form 10-2850c Application for Associated Health Occupations
  • Resume

VA Form 10-2850c Application for Associated Health Occupations can be found at: http: www.va.gov/vaforms/search_action.asp?FormNo=2850&tkey=&Action=Search . Required at the time of application.

The following documents are accepted, and may be required if applicable to your eligibility and/or qualifications for this position. Please use this checklist to ensure you have included all documents required for your application, such as a copy of your transcript (if using education to qualify), SF-50's (current/former Federal employees), etc.

  • Cover Letter
  • DD-214/ Statement of Service
  • Disability Letter (VA)
  • VA Form 10-2850c Application for Associated Health Occupations
  • Resume
  • SF-50/ Notification of Personnel Action
  • Transcript

Veterans' Preference: When applying for Federal Jobs, eligible Veterans should claim preference for 5pt (TP), 10pt (CP/CPS/XP), or for Sole Survivor Preference (SSP) in the questionnaire. You must provide a legible copy of your DD214(s) which shows dates and character of service (honorable, general, etc.). If you are currently serving on active duty and expect to be released or discharged within 120 days you must submit documentation related to your active duty service which reflects the dates of service, character of service (honorable, general, etc.), and dates of impending separation. Additionally, disabled veterans and others eligible for 10-point preference (such as widows or mothers of eligible Veterans) must also submit an SF-15 "Application for 10 Point Veteran Preference" with required proof as stated on the form. Documentation is required to award preference. For more information on Veterans' Preference, please visit http: www.fedshirevets.gov/job/vetpref/index.aspx .

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

More jobs: