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The dental assistant provides various tasks related to clinical administration and patient care. In contrast, the dental hygienist works for cleaning and polishing patient’s teeth.
While comparing the dental assistant vs. dental hygienist, it is observed that the dental hygienists also check for oral diseases by performing a dental health examination.

Dental Assistant vs. Dental Hygienist Responsibilities

The primary responsibilities of a dental assistant are,

  • To take care of the patients and enable them to sit on chairs comfortably.
  • Sterilize and clean all the dental pieces of equipment.
  • Prepare the clinical working areas to carry on treatment processes.
  • To dry the patient’s mouth through suction hoses and give the required instruments to the dentist during treatment.
  • Perform x-ray processes and other laboratory tasks.
  • Schedule all the patient’s appointments and their records so the patients can feel comfortable.

However, the typical responsibilities of a dental hygienist are,

  • To take care of the patient’s plaque, bacteria, and stains from the patient’s teeth.
  • Apply fluoride treatments to protect the teeth from decay.
  • Examine oral conditions of patients and provide health reports to dentists.
  • Help patients to select appropriate dental tools (e.g., floss, toothbrush, and mouthwash)
  • Provide the best education to the patients on brushing and flossing techniques.

Dental Assistant Program

The dental assistant program is itself a challenging task. It requires both technical and interpersonal skills. There are several ways to receive the training, which includes,

  • A formal dental assisting program
  • On-the-job training (OJT)

On-the-job training in place of formal dental assisting education is accepted in some states. But usually, other states require students to complete a one or two-year dental assistant program accredited by CODA.

Dental Assistant Salary

According to the HR-reported data, the average salary of a dental assistant is noted as $44,431 in California (as of June 2021). But a particular range lies in between $34,831 and $53,737. Also, the salary varies state-wise.

Dental Hygienist Program

An associate’s degree in the hygienist program requires two years to complete. Typically, 300 dental hygiene programs are accredited by CODA.

Hygienist Salary

Based on the data, the average salary of a dental hygienist is $84,907 in California (data recorded in June 2021). But as mentioned earlier, the salary also varies state and nation-wise.
So, the salary contrast is clear between a dental assistant and a dental hygienist.

If you are thinking of becoming a dental hygienist just because of their handsome salary, WDAS will first encourage you to become a dental assistant first.
This technique gives you a wide variety of knowledge for your upcoming dental career. It also provides you with the skillset of becoming a successful hygienist in your desired future.
Therefore, while contrasting the dental assistant vs. dental hygienist, the studying program of dental hygienists requires a long commitment. Being a dental hygienist, it’s a gratifying job but requires a lot of dedication. One has to learn a variety of subjects in a short period. But if you succeed in doing so, the hygienist salary will be as promising as your hard work.

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