Dental Assistant vs Dental Hygienist Career

6 June 2016

I was always undecided regarding the career that I wanted to pursuit. As I got older and looked at many choices in careers I realized that I wanted to have a career in Dental Care. Dental Hygienists is a better career than Dental Assistant because of better pay. While both dental assistants and dental hygienists work under the supervision of dentists, their roles in the dental office vary. A dental assistant has administrative duties and also helps the dentist during patient procedures. Meanwhile, a dental hygienist focuses on clinical work with patients, even performing some tasks without a dentist’s immediate oversight. A dental hygienist performs tasks that are more advanced and independent; they perform several tasks that were only done by dentists in the past.

Their duties are to polish patients’ teeth, removing hard and soft deposits from teeth and using several tools to remove tartar, plaque and stains. Hygienists may also develop x-ray film. While, Dental hygienists help patients develop and keep good oral health. For example, they may explain the relationship between diet and oral health. They also may give advice to patients on how to select toothbrushes and other oral-care devices.

Dental assistants often prepare other materials for use by the dentist, such as x-ray machines, impression materials, anesthetics and cement. Other 8509175 tasks may include office secretarial work such as billing patients, making sure payments are received and ordering dental supplies. According to The (U.S Labor Bureau Statistics) “Many states require the dental assistant to be licensed, especially if he or she will be working with x-ray machines.“

Dental hygienists wear safety glasses, surgical masks, and gloves to protect themselves and patients from infectious diseases. When taking x rays they follow strict procedures to protect themselves and patients. They may spend long periods of time bending over to work on patients. According to (UMSL) “Dental assistants work in a well-lighted, clean environment. Their work area usually is near the dental chair so that they can arrange instruments, materials, and medication and hand them to the dentist when needed.” Dental assistants must wear gloves, masks, eyewear, and protective clothing to protect themselves and their patients from infectious diseases. Assistants also follow safety procedures to minimize the risks associated with the use of x-ray machines. High school students interested in a career as a dental assistant should take courses in biology, chemistry, health, and office practices.

According to (educationalportal) “To pursue further education, the Commission on Dental Accreditation within the American Dental Association (ADA) approved 269 dental-assisting training programs in 2006.” These Programs included classrooms, laboratories, and preclinical instruction in dental-assisting skills.. In addition, students gain practical experience in dental schools, clinics, or dental offices. Most programs take 1 year or less to complete and lead to a certificate or 8509175 diploma. Two-year programs offered in community and junior colleges lead to an associate degree.

To become a dental hygienist you need to take more courses in science, math and English. (allalliedhealthschool) states that “Each dental hygienist school has different entry requirements, such as a high school diploma, minimum of age 18, High school courses in math, chemistry, biology and English.”

Most programs prefer applicants who have completed at least one year of college. Some bachelor’s programs require two years of college prior to enrollment in a dental hygiene program as well as completion of courses in chemistry, English, speech, psychology or sociology. (Hygienecareerdirectory) states that “Employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2008, in response to increasing demand for dental care and the greater substitution of hygienists for services previously performed by dentists.” Job prospects are expected to remain very good unless the number of dental hygienist program graduates grows much faster than during the last decade, and results in a much larger pool of qualified applicants. Median hourly earnings of dental assistants were $14.53 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.94 and $17.44 an hour.

The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.87, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $20.69 an hour. Benefits vary substantially by practice setting and may be 8509175 contingent upon full-time employment. According to the (American Dental Association,) “87 percent of dentists offer reimbursement for continuing education courses taken by their assistants.” Dental hygiene programs are often found at 2- and 4-year schools, and all U.S. states require the hygienist to graduate from one of these programs to practice dental hygiene.

There is a high demand for dental hygienists, and the BLS projected 36% growth in the field between 2008-2018. As of May 2009, median annual earnings of dental hygienists were $67,340, according to the BLS. Hygienists is a more independent career, and it follows the same routine everyday and the money for a dental hygienists is a lot better for the work they do. Dental assistants don’t really have the same freedom as hygienists or make the money they do. They are also the ones in the office who work the latest, have more office responsibilities and have to basically learn how to read the mind of the dentist and be his/her right hand person. This is why Dental Hygienists is a better career than Dental Assistant.

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