When it comes to taking care of your oral health, you have two key players – a dental hygienist and a dentist. While they both play an important role in ensuring good oral health, there are some distinct differences between the two professions.
What’s the difference between a dental hygienist and a dentist?
First, a dentist is a doctor. They went to dental school, which is essentially a medical school for the teeth and the hygienist is not a doctor, so that’s the first off. That’s a huge difference.
A dentist needs to do four years of Undergrad and four years of dental school, so a minimum of eight years of college to become a dentist.
If you want to specialize, if you want to be an endodontist or an oral surgeon or an orthodontist, you can specialize and do even more schooling, but the minimum is eight years of college for a dentist, for a hygienist.
Sure you couldn’t do it years of college, but you don’t need to. The minimum is generally three years. You could probably get by in three years with dental hygiene.
If you want to see my video explaining all the different routes and all the different schooling options to become a hygienist, you can click this video here.
Did you happen to read the difference between the assistant and hygienist yet? Anybody? Well, if you did, my bugs life hierarchy metaphor is, I’m proud of it.
I’m going to use that right now to explain the difference between a dentist and hygienist. The hygienist has his or her duties and can also do everything that an assistant does. Then there’s the dentist.
Of course, the dentist has his or her duties and they could do everything the assistant does and everything the hygienist does because they are the doctor and they either own the office or they are your boss at the office.
The duties of a hygienist, I already said in my other video, which is including but not limited to everything from cleaning teeth and administering local anesthetic to sterilizing instruments, taking x-rays, all that good stuff.
But the basic thing is the hygienist cleans your teeth.
Now a dentist, this is the person who comes in, checks for any cavities is able to diagnose things, so they’re the ones that are going to come in and be like, you have a cavity.
Hygienists can technically say, this tooth looks suspicious, so that’s all at your normal preventative appointment. Now, if you do have something going on, this is when you’ll see the dentist a lot more. I
f you have a cavity, you’re going to see the dentist for a filling. The hygienist is not going to do a filling. Basically, if you need any restorative work, that’s going to be the dentist.
Some dentists even do their own root canals or send you to a specialist if you need to see a specialist for the extraction or some kind of gum issue like periodontal surgery.
In conclusion, the dentist is a doctor, the hygienist isn’t the doctor! Very easy. 🥰
Who makes more money a dentist or a dental hygienist?
Is dental hygiene a good career choice?
Is the dental hygiene program hard?
What is the highest paying states for a dental hygienist?
The states and districts that pay Dental Hygienists the highest mean salary are Alaska ($114,320), California ($100,830), Washington ($90,690), Arizona ($85,890), and New Jersey ($85,860).