What is the difference between a Dental Hygienist and a Dental Assistant?

dental hygienist vs. dental assistant

The critical service your dentist provides often requires the assistance of other dental professionals.  Dental Hygienists and Dental Assistants both serve vital functions in a dentists’ office.  What is the difference between their duties? 

The Dental Assistant

Dental Assistants have acquired a certificate or diploma in order to assist the dentist with general dentistry practices.  They are typically responsible for assisting during procedures, taking and developing x-rays, teaching patients proper oral care, preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment, performing administrative tasks, taking patient’s blood pressure and pulse, taking impressions of patients’ teeth, and maintaining dental instruments.

The Dental Hygienist

Registered Dental Hygienists have an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene.  They are more hands-on and require additional technical training as compared to Dental Assistants.  Their duties are typically split into three types of services for patients.  The first is to promote good oral health.  The second is educational in nature, helping patients to develop skills for maintaining their oral health.  The third is therapeutic in nature, providing treatments to stop disease and maintain healthy oral tissue.  Registered Dental Hygienists will often clean teeth, perform plaque and stain removal, collect and compile patients’ oral health information, create molds of patients’ teeth, administer local anesthetic, and perform suture and dressing removal.

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To receive excellent oral care from trusted Dentists, Dental Hygienists and Dental Assistants, please enroll via our registration form or call an EDP representative at (800) 777-1085.

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