The simplest distinction between dental assistants and dental hygienists is that dental assistants work around teeth and dental hygienists work on teeth. We’ll explain.
Dental assistants graduate from dental assistant schools and perform a number of lab, patient care and office duties in a dentist’s office.
While dental assistants don’t generally work directly on teeth, they have a wide range of responsibilities including, but not limited to:
In addition, office-specific duties may be required, such as scheduling appointments, documenting patient records, billing insurance, etc.
Dental hygienists are licensed professionals that have more formal education and training than dental assistants and can consequently perform more duties including working directly on patients. Dental hygienists must pass a national written exam, regional clinical exam, and a state exam to earn a license to practice.
In addition to those things listed above, dental hygienists can also:
Hygienists may have other responsibilities, depending on the state in which they work.