Posted on: April 28, 2021 Posted by: akshaysharma Comments: 0
dental hygienists vs dental assistants

What is the requirement to go to a dental clinic? In order to get your teeth examined you will go to a dental clinic. The dental hygienists and dental assistants will take most of your time at the dental clinic. The duties and roles of hygienists and assistants are different.

Dental assistants

Basically, the duties of administrative patient care and dental care are performed by the dental assistants. When a patient visits a dentist then the logistics are handled by these people. Sterilizing dental instruments, ensuring the comfort of the patients, taking them to examination chairs, handling payments, scheduling follow-up appointments, processing laboratory tasks and x-rays are included in the logistics. Sometimes only topical anesthetic, fluoride application, sealants application and coronal polishing are allowed to the dental assistants in a few states.

Dental hygienists

For any oral disease the examination of patients is performed by the dental hygienists. The responsibility of cleaning the patient’s teeth is with these people. They also educate the patients about the practices of preventive dental care. They use ultrasonic tools, power and hand for performing the job. For checking the issues of alignment of jaws or teeth they perform the patient mouth’s x-rays. These people take care of the teeth of the patient by removing plaque, stains and tartar.

Dental hygienists and dental assistants have different requirements of certification and education. A lot of variation can be seen in the requirements of dental assistants. For performing an on-the-job training no formal education is needed in some states. But on the other hand, a graduation is needed by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) accredited vocational program for dental assistants in some other states in which they have to complete 1- or 2-year graduation.

Now in the field of dental hygiene an associate’s degree is necessary for a dental hygienist. The CODA accredits a number of programs of dental hygiene that are more than 300. It takes 2 years for the completion of the dental hygiene program and getting an associate’s degree in this field. Patient management, medical ethics, pathology, radiography, nutrition, physiology and anatomy are included in the courses.

The dental patient’s needs can be taken care of by the hygienists as well as by the dental assistants. Their licensure pathways, educational pathways and duties are distinct. A very good dental knowledge needs to be possessed by the hygienists as well as by the assistants so that the dental patients’ needs can be taken care of effectively. Along with this strong interpersonal skills, clear communication, attention to detail and hand dexterity are a number of skills that need to be demonstrated by the hygienists as well as the dental assistants.

For maintaining the certification of current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the dental hygienists and dental assistants are needed by a large number of dental clinics. A national growth at an average rate or faster than this is being experienced by both of these.

Comparison of the two

Dental assistant

Typical responsibilities

  • Providing help to patients with billing
  • Scheduling appointment with patients
  • Updating patient records
  • Completing laboratory tasks
  • Processing x-rays
  • Using suction hoses for drying the mouth of the patients
  • At the time of dental procedures, providing instruments to dentists
  • Sterilizing dental instruments
  • Ensuring the comfort of the patients by leading them to chairs

Work environment

  • Physician clinics
  • Public health clinics
  • Private dental clinics

Median salary

$18.59 per hour or $38,660 per year


  • CPR certification course from American Red Cross
  • Dental Assisting National Board (DANB)
  • Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)

Dental hygienist

Typical responsibilities

  • Educating patients to brush and floss daily
  • Helping patients in selecting oral hygiene tools
  • Documenting records of the patients
  • Assessing the patient’s oral health
  • Taking and developing dental x-rays
  • Protecting tooth decay by applying the treatments of fluoride and sealants
  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque from the teeth of the patients

Work environments

  • Physician clinics
  • Public health clinics
  • Private dental clinics

Median salary

$35.97 per hour or $74,820 per year


  • CPR certification course from American Red Cross
  • State board of dental examiners (As per the state the resources vary)
  • Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)

In case of any dental problem, I will visit the Dental clinic near me. They will provide me the best possible treatment for all my dental problems.

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