Dental Assistant Or Dental Hygienist – You might think that dental hygienists and dental assistants perform the same function in the dental clinic. Don’t worry – you are not alone. Most patients who go to the family dentist also have the wrong perception, perhaps because the dentist does the act directly. New patients can easily tell the difference between your dental partners. Let’s find out what information we can come up with regarding the dental hygienist vs dental assistant argument.
Dental assistants are technically easier than dental hygienists in terms of training and education programs. The dental assistant training program lasts one year. On the other hand, a dental hygienist must spend 2 years of training and schooling to obtain a license. An additional year in the dental program covers the clinic side, allowing them to treat patients on their own.
Dental Assistant Or Dental Hygienist
Dental assistants can focus on meeting the requirements set by the state in which they wish to practice. Some US states do not require formal education but will require job training programs instead. The level of education that dental assistants must have usually allows them to be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Do you want to make it official? Dental assistants can also provide certification that their practice is recognized by the National Dental Assisting Council (DANB).
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In contrast, a dental hygienist requires more rigorous certification and education to obtain a license. A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in dental health allows them to fulfill the appropriate educational requirements in anatomy, physiology, dietary nutrition, radiology, pathological studies and patient management.
Welcome patient. You are the first person, other than the clinic receptionist, to greet patients when they go for their dental check-up.
Assisting dentists or health professionals. You help the dentist directly. You are the practitioner’s best friend or right-hand man, they say.
Prepare dental instruments. As a dental assistant, you prepare the materials and tools needed by dentists or hygienists based on the procedures to be performed.
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Clear. As part of your overall dental care duties, after each procedure, you as a dental assistant will be required to wash, sterilize and store dental instruments and other materials.
Perform office management duties. Because dental assistants assist dentists, they can fill out and organize records and process paperwork. Scheduling patients, processing payments, and handling billing tasks may also define the responsibilities of a dental assistant.
Work independently. Dental clinics can have dentists and dental hygienists who can treat their own patients. Unfortunately, they do not necessarily work together on the same patient.
Educate patients. Dentists rely on hygienists to conduct seminars or lectures to educate patients about proper dental hygiene.
Registered Dental Assistants
Use of prophylactic instruments. As part of the patient’s overall dental health, the dental hygienist is responsible for performing deep scaling, oral prophylaxis, and other procedures to maintain the teeth.
Looking for a higher paying job? Choose to be a dental hygienist rather than a dental assistant. For example, just because you can perform your own procedures rather than the dentist, you have a higher earning potential compared to a dental assistant who only oversees the needs of dental practitioners.
We can provide a rough estimate of their annual income to give you an idea of the difference in their salaries. The average annual salary of a typical dental assistant can be more or less $41000. Meanwhile, because dentists can treat their own patients, their income is relatively higher. For example, an average annual salary of $77,000 is not uncommon for a hard-working dental hygienist.
For those who are ambivalent about the dental business, the terms dental assistant and dental hygienist may seem synonymous and interchangeable. On the contrary, there are significant and distinctive characteristics between the two professions. Suppose you want to pursue a career in the dental industry. In this case, you need to understand and recognize the difference between a dental assistant and a dental hygienist before making your career decision. Do your research well, and it will be easier for you to differentiate between each one, based on their education, experience, practices and responsibilities within the dental office. Careers in healthcare are stable and rewarding, not to mention prestigious! If you are interested in dental care, you should be aware of two important positions: Dental Assistant (DA) and Dental Hygienist (DH). This position supports the dentist in providing quality service to clients, but there are some important differences between the two.
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Keep in mind that Dental Assistants and Dental Hygienists are separate professions. Dental Assistants work under the supervision of dentists in their day-to-day activities, while Dental Hygienists perform a wider range of job duties and responsibilities.
If you are thinking about going into dentistry, becoming a Dental Assistant or Dental Hygienist are two very rewarding careers. Both professions are in high demand and jobs are expected to grow positively over the next ten years. Before changing your career, you should know the responsibilities, program requirements and certification process for each role. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about these two noble professions.
Dental Assistants perform a number of different tasks, including patient care, record keeping, and scheduling appointments. Their duties may vary by state and by employer. The DA usually pays attention to detail, maintains excellent dexterity, and supports dentists when treating patients.
While both roles support the dental team, there are specific tasks that only Dental Hygienists can perform. They screen patients for signs of oral disease, provide preventive care, and educate patients about oral health and oral hygiene.
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Dental Assistants work closely with dentists and Dental Hygienists. This role is ideal for those who enjoy working with their hands while caring for patients. Dental Assistants provide essential support in the dental office, essentially acting as the dentist’s extra hand.
While both roles support the dental team, there are specific tasks that only Dental Hygienists can perform. They screen patients for signs of oral disease and provide preventative care. They also educate patients on how to maintain oral health and proper oral hygiene. Dental Hygienists often use some sophisticated tools in their work. In some cases, they may even use a laser to remove the stain with the help of an air polish. Dental hygienists also use X-ray machines to check teeth or gum problems.
The educational requirements for a Dental Assistant will depend greatly on the state in which you are seeking employment. While some places have no formal education requirement—allowing their employees to learn through on-the-job training—others will only accept DAs who have completed an accredited program and passed an exam.
Many of these programs can be found at community colleges or vocational schools. They usually take a year or less to complete, leading to a certificate or diploma. In this program, students learn through a combination of traditional classroom instruction and hands-on practice.
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Tip #1: High school students interested in a career in Dental Assisting should take courses in anatomy, biology, and chemistry.
Some states even allow their DAs to perform extended tasks such as crown polishing. In these states, Dental Assistants are usually required to be licensed, registered or certified by the National Dental Assisting Board (DANB).
To learn more about specific certifications or licensing requirements, contact your state’s Board of Dental Examiners.
To become a Dental Hygienist, you may need to earn an associate’s degree in dentistry. These programs often take around three years to complete. Although requirements vary from state to state, all DHs must be licensed.
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Some Dental Hygienists may even pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree. This degree may be required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in a school or public health program. To find a program, look at a community college, vocational school, or university. In addition, more than 300 Dental Hygiene programs are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Areas of study in this program may include anatomy, medical ethics, and periodontics (i.e. the study of gum disease).
Tip #2: High school students who want to become Dental Hygienists should consider courses in biology, chemistry and mathematics. Keep in mind that many DH programs require their applicants to complete prerequisites, which usually include college-level coursework. Summer school, anyone?
As with Dental Assisting, you can learn more about specific certification or licensing requirements by contacting your state’s Board of Dental Examiners.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 354,600 positions for Dental Assistants in 2019. The largest employers of them are in three main categories:
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DAs work under the supervision of dentists and often support Dental Hygiene during their daily activities. They may wear safety glasses, surgical masks, protective clothing and gloves. Many Dental Assistants work full time, although some may work evenings or weekends.
According to the BLS, Dental Hygienists had approximately 226,400 jobs in 2019. Their largest employers fall into the same three categories as Dental Assistants, with dentist offices leading the list (93%).
Like DAs, Dental Hygienists follow protocol and wear safety glasses, surgical masks and gloves. Unlike Dental Assistants, many RSs work part-time. This is because some dentists do not hire hygienists to work a few days a week.
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