This might be confusing for those who are considering employment at a dental practice and aren’t sure whether they want to be a dental assistant or hygienist. That said, consider the following differences between dental assistants and dental hygienists so you can feel more confident in your choice of career.
What does a dental assistant do?
Dental assistants help to perform technical tasks and provide oral care to patients. They assist the dentist by taking X-rays, recordkeeping, and scheduling appointments.
Depending on the offices in which they work, a dental assistant may assistant a dentist during procedures, take a patient’s blood pressure or pulse, and sterilize dental equipment. Dental assistants also help to ensure patients are comfortable before, during, and after their treatment.
What does a dental hygienist do?
While dental assistants perform preparatory tasks and break-down duties in the office, dental hygienists perform more advanced tasks that involve direct patient care.
Dental hygienists polish and clean patients’ teeth, remove soft and hard deposits from patients’ teeth, use several tools to remove plaque and tartar, and develop X-ray film.
How do the two careers differ when it comes to education?
Some states require dental assistants to be licensed while others require aspiring dental assistants to complete certificate or diploma programs. Certificate programs typically last for a year. Employment opportunities for dental assistants are expected to increase by 18% by 2024.
Aspiring dental hygienists require an associate’s degree in dental hygiene, which often takes three year’s to complete. Certain states may have licensing requirements, but often aspiring dental hygienists need to pass an accredited training program with additional examinations. Employment opportunities for dental hygienists are exposed to increase by 19% by 2024.
Are you considering employment at a dental practice?
If you’re considering employment at a dental practice, you’re not alone. According to a survey, up to 70% of dental assistants who hold a DANB’s CDA certification received a raise in their current position.
The Dental Assistant School at the American Institute of Dental Assisting offers real-world experience and practical dental assistant training to get you off on the right foot. To learn more about our dental assistant training courses and live clinic training, contact the Dental Assistant School at the American Institute of Dental Assisting today.