Dental Hygienists and Dental Assistants: What’s the Difference?

There are several reputable, fulfilling, and stable careers in the field of healthcare. Among these, dental hygienists and dental assistants are the two positions that have a lot of importance. They provide services of good quality to the clients while working with the dentists and supporting them. However, you need to know that the profession of dental hygienists is different from that of dental assistants. The responsibilities and duties of dental hygienists are large in number. On the other hand, in the daily activities of dentists, the dental assistants assist them. The dentist basically supervises the dental assistant.

In the coming 10 years, positive growth is expected in these two professions. It will be helpful to you to have a knowledge of each role’s certification process, program requirements, and responsibilities so that you have enough information before opting for any of these two as your profession.

Dental assistant

Appointment scheduling, recordkeeping, and patient care are the various types of tasks that a dental assistant executes. As per the employer and the state, a variation can occur in his duties. When the patient undergoes the treatment than for supporting the dentist and maintaining dexterity a DA helps a lot.

Dental hygienist

The roles of a DH are:

  • For any dental problem, he examines the patient
  • He takes part in providing preventive care
  • For oral hygiene and oral health, he educates the patients

Responsibilities of a DA and DH

The daily responsibilities of DA are as follows

  • He sterilizes the instruments used in the dental procedures
  • For procedures and treatments, he prepares the patients
  • He ensures that on the dental chair the patient is comfortable
  • Also, He keeps the dental treatment records
  • He schedules appointments
  • During the procedures, he provides all the necessary instruments to the dentist\
  • He uses suction hoses so as to dry the mouth of the patients
  • The dentist supervises him to perform various tasks of the lab as well as to process X-rays
  • He completes the payment and billing with patients

The daily responsibilities of DH are as follows

  • He documents the treatment plans and patient care
  • He removes teeth plaque, stains, and tartar
  • For protecting teeth, he applies fluorides and sealants
  • He takes and develops dental X-rays
  • For flossing, brushing, and maintaining good oral hygiene he educates the patients
  • He assists the dentist in finding reports and assesses the oral health of the patients

Educational requirements

For DA

Depending on your employment in a particular state, the DAs educational requirements vary. In some states passing the accredited program by completing graduation, it is important so as to become a DA. But in other states, providing on-the-job training to the employees is important without requiring a formal education.

An important tip

Pursuing chemistry, biology, and anatomy courses is important for students of high school who want to become DA.

For DH

Here in the field of dental hygiene, an associate degree is needed for becoming a DH. Normally 3 years are needed for completing these programs. A license is necessary for every DH. Sometimes a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in the field of clinical practice, teaching, or research is needed to become a DH.

An important tip

Pursuing math, chemistry, and biology courses is important for students of high school who want to become a DH.

The work environment of DA and DH

The work environment of DA

In 2019 there were 354,600 jobs for DAs. There are basically 3 categories of the largest employers of DAs:

  • Government
  • Physician’s office
  • Dentist’s office

In the daily activities, the DHs get support from DAs. A dentist supervises a DA in performing various tasks. A DA can put on gloves, protective clothing, surgical masks, and safety glasses. The DAs may work on:

  • Weekends
  • Evenings
  • Full-time

The work environment of DH

In 2019 there were 226,400 jobs for DHs. The categories of the largest employers of DHs are the same as that of DAs.

They also put on gloves, surgical masks, and safety glasses just like DAs. The DHs may choose part-time work.

The Best dentist near me provides the treatment for every dental problem. I visit there for a regular dental check-up two times in one year. He uses the latest equipment for treating his patients. His nature is very polite.

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