Difference Between Dental Hygienist and Dentist

Difference Between Dental Hygienist and Dentist
Difference Between Dental Hygienist and Dentist

Contrary to popular belief, not every person who takes a look at your teeth in a dentist office is a dentist. In fact, for every individual dentist that works in a particular location, there are often two or three dental hygienists who assist them with their work. These positions work together to ensure that you have a comfortable and fruitful visit that leaves your mouth feeling healthier than ever. Learn the difference between a dental hygienist and a dentist to better understand the process at your local dentist office.

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists are the professionals responsible for cleaning a person’s teeth before the dentist sees them for a procedure. Their cleanings are designed for treating and preventing oral diseases that then leaves the dentist a clean environment to perform their role. This takes a considerable load off of the dentist and frees them up to focus more on cavity fillings and examinations. Dental hygienists are also responsible for educating patients on how to best care for their teeth moving forward and what areas of oral hygiene they can improve upon.


Once a dental hygienist is finished cleaning an individual’s teeth, they then hand the patient off to a dentist to examine. The dentist will look at the notes made by the hygienist and use them to get an idea of a person’s overall oral hygiene habits. Using this and the examination’s results, they diagnose any problems in a person’s mouth and perform the procedures to fix them. Because these treatments are more advanced and need more experience to perfect, dentists are required to have more education in order to legally practice.

If you have an interest in the dental industry and would like to start your career as a dental assistant, reach out to the American Institute of Dental Assisting. Our dental assistant school in Mesa, Arizona, provides you with top-notch education and training on your terms. With day, night, and weekend classes in the program, you can participate in the way that best fits your schedule and gets you on the path to a new career.

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