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It is essential to go to a dental clinic for examination, cleaning, and treatment (if required) at least twice a year. You should not wait until you have a dental problem before you visit the dental clinic. Meanwhile, while you are at a dental clinic, you would notice that two sets of people work on your teeth. The first person that cleans your teeth is the dental hygienist while the second person is the dentist. Both dentists and dental hygienist usually work together to improve your dental health. However, the differences between them are explained below.


The amount of education that a dentist must have is higher than a dental hygienist. A dentist must attend a dental school for 4 years to graduate with a degree while a dental hygienist only needs an associate degree in dental hygiene, which lasts for 2 years.

However, both of them are required to pass exams to be licensed to practice, but a dentist must get a license in the state where he/she want to practice.

What is the Difference Between a Dentist and Dental Hygienist?

Order of Meeting

When you go to a dental clinic, the first person you will meet is a dental hygienist, who will enlighten you on how to care for your teeth properly. The dental hygienist will also clean your teeth and assess your teeth and gums for oral diseases or gingivitis that you may have. After this, the dentist will attend to you to diagnose any problems check X-rays, repair teeth, perform procedures such as dental crowns, root canals, cavities, fillings, and more. The dentist will also prescribe medicine and provide more skilled and detailed treatment while a dental hygienist will give general teeth care.


Another difference between a dentist and a dental hygienist is the pay that a dentist receives. Dentists are doctors; they receive more pay than dental hygienists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for dentists as of 2016 was $156,900 while dental hygienist received $79,910 per annum. As a result, when you go to a dental clinic, you get to meet the dental hygienist diets for general dental cleaning and care.


The duties of a dental hygienist include:

  1. Cleaning the teeth and gums
  2. Teaching patients the basics of brushing and flossing
  3. Detecting signs of oral diseases
  4. Taking X-rays of the patient’s mouth
  5. Recording treatment and creating treatment plans
  6. Using sealants and fluoride treatment to protect patients’ teeth

The duties of a dentist include:

  1. Decay removal from the teeth
  2. Giving anaesthetics to patients for procedures
  3. Cavities’ filling
  4. Repairing teeth
  5. Prescribing medications
  6. Reading of x-rays for treatment