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2 minutes reading time (445 words)

Dental Assistant vs. Dental Hygienist

While it is true that both dental hygienists and dental assistants will assist with patients, these two professions are not entirely the same. The main difference is the type of work a dental hygienist will perform, in comparison to that of a dental assistant. A dental assistant will work in a smaller dental practice, assisting in the office, performing clerical duties; however, a dental hygienist will help a dentist by performing actual dental work. The type of education that a dental assistant is required to have is not as much as a dental hygienist. Before you decide which of the two professions is the best choice, take a look at some of the differences between the two.

Dental Hygienist Career versus Dental Assisting Career

One-on-One

A dental assistant will begin working under the supervision of a dentist immediately, helping the dentist out with various tasks, most of which involve the office. Some dental assistants will help a dentist work on a patient’s teeth, but they will need to be supervised at all times, and the jobs that an assistant does pertaining to a patient’s teeth will be small. In contrast, a dental hygienist has the ability to work under the supervision of a dentist, but he can also work alone, in a one-on-one setting with the patient. The tasks assigned to a dental hygienist will be more advanced, in comparison to those assigned to a dental assistant. 

Educational Requirements

The education requirement is another contrast between these two career choices. As a dental assistant, you will need to enroll and successfully complete a diploma program; you do not need to pass a certification examination to become a dental assistant. However, in order to become a dental hygienist, you will need to receive certification, but you will not be able to take the exam until after you have successfully completed an associate degree program from an accredited college or university. If you would like to receive more job opportunities, you could go back to school and earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the future. 

Equipment 

As a dental assistant, you will not have access to the same equipment that a dental hygienist does. For example, a dental hygienist will be permitted to use equipment to clean a patient’s teeth, in addition to lasers, probes, x-ray units, scalars, and more. A dental assistant is not trained to use this type of equipment; instead, an assistant will work with software, and use dental dams, forceps, and other accessories.

Pay Scale

The amount of money that a dental assistant could earn is less than a dental hygienist. Dental assistants earn an average of $34,000 per year, while a dental hygienist could earn $69,000 per year.

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Comments 2

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Guest - Luton dentist on Tuesday, 02 December 2014 06:22

Both the career positions have its pros and cons.. however Dental hygienist is better choice when it comes to self growth and learning.It's a proper job profile which teaches insights of dentistry..
all the best to all the applicants.

0
Both the career positions have its pros and cons.. however Dental hygienist is better choice when it comes to self growth and learning.It's a proper job profile which teaches insights of dentistry.. all the best to all the applicants.
Guest - Sarah Carl on Friday, 19 December 2014 07:02

It is the excellent post to learn about which dentistry field is best. I also prefer dental hygienist than dental assistants.

0
It is the excellent post to learn about which dentistry field is best. I also prefer dental hygienist than dental assistants.

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