When starting a career in the dental field, you should know the differences between a dentist and a dental hygienist. Most dental students will be pursuing one of these career paths. The office tasks and education requirements are the two major differences between the job titles. After you have learned about these differences, you will be ready to get a career in the dental field.

Office Tasks

The dental hygienist is one of the most important people in a dental office. They prep and sterilize the tools before a procedure. They assist the dentist during the procedure and they explain the procedure to the patient. The hygienist is also responsible for updating medical records. The hygienist does not just stand by and watch procedures. They get to do some procedures themselves. They clean the teeth and remove plaque. Dental hygienists take and develop x-rays and works with the dentist to make a diagnosis.

The dentist spends his day doing procedures and diagnosing patients. He does not step foot in the receptionist area. The medical records are brought to him by the dental hygienist. The dentist main responsibilities include performing root canals, removing dead teeth and filling cavities.

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Licensure and Schooling

Just like a doctor, becoming a dentist can take many years. They need to work as a dental assistant for six years but before that, they need to complete a one-year residency. A requirement of the residency is that the student possess a four-year bachelor degree and a P.H. D. This can take up to eight years to achieve. During the residency, the dentist will practice procedures on patients. This will prepare them for their time as a dental assistant and eventually, the dental exam.

The dental hygienist can complete their schooling in less than two years. The only requirements of a dental hygienist are a two-year degree from one of the many dental hygiene programs accredited by the American Dental Association and a passing score on the American Dental Association exam. If one is looking to become a dental hygienist, they should think about taking math and science classes to brush up on their skills.

Both dentistry and dental hygiene are good fields to get into if one is looking to get into the dental field. Each career as major differences but one similarity is that they both help people smile. A dentist is a good choice for those looking for a lifelong career. A dental hygienist is great for someone who wants a quick change in careers. Both jobs will provide one with a sense of accomplishment.