Objectives: This qualitative research was conducted to understand the experiences of dental hygienists with respect to emotional labor and stress through in-depth interviews, and analyze experiences that are difficult to grasp in quantitative studies. Methods: From October 7 to October 14 2020, a total of seven study participants were selected and underwent in-depth interviews. A phenomenological research methodology was applied for intensive analysis. Results: The results of the interviews were grouped into five central-categories: relationships in the workplace (trouble with the staff, discrimination against staff, relationship between subordinates and superiors), relationships with non-major (trouble with laboratory staff, inferiority complex and behavior of non-specialists), emotional labor for the patient (patient-centered, patient selfishness, exquisite guardian), conduction of business (passing the work, deterioration in health due to emotional labor), organizing emotions (patience and a sense of collapse, conversation with a coworker).
Conclusions: Based on this study, we need to develop tools to measure dental hygienists’ emotional labor and stress as well as conduct follow-up research on ways to improve them.