Q&A: Is There A Difference Between A Dental Hygienist And A Dental Assistant?

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Question by Sam G: Is There A Difference Between A Dental Hygienist And A Dental Assistant?
I Read That Dental Hygienist Get Paid Around $ 60,000 A Year, More Or Less. There’s A School Really Close By That Can Make A Me A Dental Assistant But I Wasn’t Sure If There They Were The Same Position With Two Different Names. Please Help.

Best answer:

Answer by jackiebaltazar@sbcglobal.net
a dental hyg. goes to full time school for 2 years. Not sure how much they get paid but it’s more than the Dental assistants.

A dental assist. goes to school for approx. 9 mo. Gets paid approx. $ 12.00.

These also depend on what state you live in.
But a Dental Hyg. will earn more than a DA, always.

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  • ruggles08 says:

    A Dental Assistant helps the dentist by handing the Doctor tools etc. They also take Xrays if they are licensed to do so. Some Dental Assistants are trained on the job but there are programs that teach you. I think the school is less than one year long. Unless you get extra education to place fillings, you won’t make as much as a Dental Assistant as a Hygienist does.
    A Dental Hygienist goes to college for 2-4 years depending on the program. They clean people’s teeth, place sealants on kids teeth, take Xrays and do some Deeper Scaling on people with Gum Disease. In some states they can give shots to get patients numb for procedures too. Dental Assistants don’t get paid as much as Hygienists do
    because of job duties and education. It really depends on where you live and work. I don’t make quite that much as a Hygienist but wish that I did! Good luck and don’t pick your career based only on wages. Do you mind the sight of blood? Seeing a tooth pulled out? Dirty nasty teeth that haven’t been cleaned in years sometimes?! :)

  • Stephanie Renee says:

    They’re soo not the same.

    Most dental assisting programs last between 9 and 11 months, leading to a certificate or diploma.

    Although the earning potential is greater, a dental hygienist education requires a 2- to 4-year associate’s or bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. Some dental hygienists may also pursue a master’s degree.

    Dental Hygiene programs (at least in Florida) tend to be very competitive with high GPA requirements, point systems and a 65+ on the Nurse Entry Test…

    The biggest difference to me is that hygienists basically choose their own work schedule and often work in a dentists office, but operate independently. They are essentially their own boss- whereas an assistant can work for an hourly wage, have no choice of patients and be responsible for cleaning the bathrooms after hours…. :-)

    Dental Assistants are typically responsible for the following tasks:

    * Working closely with patients before, during and after procedures
    * Assisting the dentist during a variety of treatment procedures
    * Taking and developing x-rays
    * Preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment
    * Taking impressions of patients’ teeth for study casts (models of teeth)
    * Teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies
    * Performing office management

    Dental Hygienists perform a wide range of services, primarily in preventative oral health care. They share some of the same duties as dental assistants, such as creating molds and taking x-rays. In addition, a dental hygienist often performs the following types of tasks:

    * Collecting information about the patient’s oral and medical health history
    * Removing calculus, stains and plaque (hard and soft deposits) from all surfaces of the teeth
    * Making molds of patients’ teeth used for evaluating treatment
    * Charting patients’ dental conditions for the dentist
    * Applying fluorides and decay preventatives
    * Administering local anesthetics
    * Removing sutures and dressings

    Hope this helps! :-)

  • Unknown says:

    Yes there is a BIG difference between DAs and DHs!!!

    D. assistants only assist dentists, orthodontists, endodontists, etc. They get paid only 12 to 20 dollars per hour depending on experience and where you live. Most make about 15-18 an hour on average.
    And DAs can be trained on the job, you dont need to go to school for it. BUT Certified DAs (meaning they took a national written exam after going through a 1 year program) are hired more often than people who have not become certified.

    A DH is a COLLEGE graduate. To become a D. hygienist you must go to a 2 year college for an associates in hygiene OR a 4 year college for a Bachelors in hygiene (you only need 2 years to work in private practice. BS degrees are basically pointless for hygienists, a waste of time and money).

    Hygienists usually do not make 60,000. They make about 30,000 to 50,000 depending on experience and which state they are in.
    Hygienists do not assist dentists. (which comes down to about 25 to 40 dollars an hour. Most make about 30-38 an hour depending on the state and experience). They work on their own cleaning patient’s teeth and educating the patients about oral care.

    The difference is that DAs work along side the dentist (actually sitting there handing instruments during procedures) and hygienists do not. Hygienists work on patient’s alone cleaning teeth, examining the patient’s mouth, and placing sealants and fluoride treatments to kids.

    And DAs are trained on the job or get a 1 year certificate.
    DHs MUST get a college degree (exception is in Texas and Alabama they now allow DHs to be trained on the job which is scary because it means their DHs are unqualified). Always insist on a DH working on you that has a college degree (which is the law in every other state besides the 2 I mentioned above).

    If you are interested in the dental field I suggest you enroll in a local COMMUNITY COLLEGE that offers DA and DH programs. Enroll in the 1 year DA program and then when you finish you can work right away as a DA. AND if you are interested in becoming a DH you can apply to that same college’s DH program and you are more likely to get in as one of their DA graduates. Also in the community colleges the DAs take a few of the SAME classes as the DHs so that you can get some of those out of the way if you later enroll in the DH program, which makes it easier for you.