Dental assistant vs dental hygienist

Dental Assistant v/s Dental Hygienist

If you are under the impression that a dental assistant is the same as a dental hygienist then you must know that you are completely wrong. The only similarity that these two have is they both work under the supervision of dentists but their job profile; their roles and duties all differ from another. Let us look how these two differ in various aspects.

Job responsibilities

  • Dental Assistant: The dental assistant has a host of duties to carry. These mostly include scheduling appointments, maintaining patients’ records, managing inventory and so on. In short, the dental assistant conducts majority of the administrative tasks under the supervision of a dentist.
  • Dental hygienist: The job responsibilities of a dental hygienist mostly tilt towards clinical aspects in a dentist’s clinic. A dental hygienist mostly carries out jobs such as patient screening, removing plague, applying preventative treatments and so on.

Salary Levels

  • Dental Assistant: A dental assistant gets a median salary of around $32,380. This salary may increase based on the skills and experience of the person.
  • Dental Hygienist: A dental hygienist earns more than a dental assistant. The median salary that a dental hygienist earns is around $66,570.

Required Certifications

  • Dental Assistant: There is no need for a dental assistant to have a certification in an educational program in majority of the states in the United States. The certification, which is usually required to become a certified Dental Assistant, is the Certified Dental Assistant or the CDA certificate. However, a person can get this even if he/she works for two years and successfully completes a school program.
  • Dental Hygienist: It is important for a person to complete a valid educational program to become a Registered Dental Hygienist or RDH. A person also needs to clear a written as well as clinical exam. The certification program and licensing procedure may vary from state to state.

Educational qualifications

  • Dental Assistant: There is no specific education required for a person to become a Dental Assistant. This is mainly because; a person gains more experience in the on-the-job training after entering the work force.
  • Dental Hygienist: To be a good dental hygienist, it is necessary for a person to attend a Commission on Dental Accreditation or CODA educational program. This course is usually of 2-4 years of duration depending on the type of program.

These were some of the major differences between a Dental Assistant and a Dental Hygienist. Hope you must have now got an idea about how these two differ from one another.

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