Southern Ontario Dental College

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Dental Assistant vs Dental Hygienist: Which Career Is a Right Fit for You?

Posted in Articles, Dental Assistant, Dental Hygienist, Dentistry.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Canada have been growing at incredible rates. And never is that more apparent than for the dental hygienist.

With an average salary of around $34.64 per hour and a whopping growth rate of 285 percent, dental hygienists are in high demand. This is especially true in Ontario, which contributed to nearly half of the country’s SMB growth.

You’ve dreamed of working in dentistry for years. And there’s never been a better time to pursue a new career in this booming space than right now.

Are you ready to discover a career in dentistry that you’ve been waiting for? Then keep reading to discover the differences in the job description and education requirement for a dental assistant vs dental hygienist.

Dental Assistant vs Dental Hygienist Job Descriptions

As their job titles may suggest, a dental assistant and dental hygienist have different roles in the workplace. To discover which of these careers is right for you, check out the diverse duties each dental professional must perform on a daily or weekly basis.

Dental Assistant Duties

A physician’s assistant is to a doctor what a dental assistant is to a dentist. As a dental assistant, it’s your duty to support the dentist. This may include but is not limited to:

  • Filing paperwork
  • Processing x-rays
  • Making casts of patients’ teeth
  • Administer local anesthesia
  • Prepare patients for treatments or surgeries

Dental Hygienist Duties

While the exact job description of a dental hygienist may differ depending on what territory you live in, these professionals are most typically educators. The role of a dental hygienist is to teach patients how to prevent dental issues. But you may also have a more hands-on job taking x-rays or even cleaning teeth.

Dental Hygienist vs Dental Assistant Education Requirements

In addition to distinct job descriptions, the education requirements for dental assistants and dental hygienists differ. Here are the educational requirements for a dental assistant and dental hygienist, respectively.

Dental Assistant

The good thing about becoming a dental assistant is that this job doesn’t require any formal schooling. Some territories actually offer on the job training to entry-level dental assistants, too. However, some employers will require you to at least hold a one-year certificate from a certified dental assistant program.

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists have much more responsibility than do dental assistants. That’s why it should come as no surprise that the educational requirements increase if you want to pursue a career in dental hygiene. You’ll typically encounter jobs that require an Associate’s degree at the least and a dental hygienist degree and license at the most.

Dental Hygiene Licenses to Further Your Career

Now that you know the difference in a dental assistant vs dental hygienist, are you ready to begin your career in dental hygiene? Request information from Southern Ontario Dental College today and be among the 95 percent of our students who find a job right after graduation.

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