Difference Between Dental Hygienist and Dental Assistant

Dental care clinics are the ones necessary for many people’s smiles. Dental care is not only hygiene but also for dental ailments.

Though there are many dental kits available in the market, the people visiting dental clinics is unstoppable. The clinics or hospitals are always highly qualified with infrastructure which builds trust in the patients too.

The more impacting feature of the dental offices is the working staff. They make a remarkable difference to the patients’ lives while they come for treatment.

While entering dental clinics, it is hard to recognize who is who. There may be many people and it is assumed all are doctors and attendants, which is not the case.

The dental offices have mixed staff, doctors, hygienists, and assistants. The two most important staff is dental hygienists and dental assistants.

Though both of them report to the doctor in the clinic as such. They have a few differences and distinctions that must be known.

Dental Hygienist vs Dental Assistant

The main difference between a dental hygienist and a dental assistant is their roles in the dental office, a dental hygienist is more connected to the patient’s care and treatment wherein a dental assistant has a mix of responsibilities; office administrative work and patient care assistance.

Dental Hygienist vs Dental Assistant


Comparison Table Between Dental Hygienist and Dental Assistant (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonDental HygienistDental Assistant
Main Role in the Dental ClinicDental Hygienist is majorly involved in Patient care duties and assists the doctors during the treatment. At times, the hygienist also performs treatments to the patients under the supervision of the doctor.The dental assistant has a huge responsibility for patient care and office administrative work.
Educational QualificationDental Hygienist must hold an associate or a bachelor’s degree in dental hygieneDental Assistant must hold a certificate or diploma.
Level of connecting with the PatientsDental Hygienists work closely with the patients during the treatment they may deal with the patients one on one for the treatments too. They help create records for the patient’s visit and the treatment offered.A dental assistant is a person who receives and makes plans for the treatment. They may take X-rays and provide results to the patient. They may also hold a record of patients’ visits and the treatment is undergone.
Role with the DoctorDental Hygienist works closely with the doctor of the clinic to offer treatments.Dental assistants are connected and report to the doctors, however, their connection is indirect through dental office procedures.
Medical report MaintenanceDental Hygienist is the one who prepares medical reports. Based on the X-rays and treatments.The dental assistant’s job is to store the record properly for correspondence and future reference.


What is Dental Hygienist?

A dental hygienist is a certified dental professional working in a dental clinic or a hospital under the guidance of the doctor. A dental hygienist must be registered with the dental association or dental regulatory body in their place of practice.

It is expected of the dental hygienist to have completed an associate or bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene before completing the examination. The dental hygienist works closely with the dentist of that clinic to help in the patient’s treatment and care.

A dental hygienist can also work independently or along with a dentist to provide dental care to the people. The clinical procedures of a dental hygienist are specific concerning their job role.

The dental hygienist is expected to examine the patient to analyze the treatment to be offered. They also have the responsibility of coaching the patients about preventive measures for proper dental hygiene.

The hygienist records all the treatments in a record which is maintained for future reference. The report also includes the add-ons like the Xray data and corresponding inference of the treatment offered.

Dental hygienists belong to a team of dentists, dental therapists, and dental assistants. They can also work independently to offer proper dental care to the people.

Dental Hygienist

What is Dental Assistant?

A dental assistant is a person who is along with the dental who takes care of the office administration of the clinic. Apart from that, they also connect with the patients at times to offer treatment support to the doctors.

Their job roles differ from the others in the dental team. They do a lot of office administration and patient wise report preparation and storage.

They are also considered as the catalyst behind the efficiency of the treatment offered by the dental team. They support the doctor or the hygienist or the therapist with the required instruments to treat the patients.

The dental assistant job role is in demand as it requires to be flexible in managing a different variety of tasks.

Their role not only limited to office work but also on-demand for offering patient care advice and also getting ready with the treatment area with the necessities.

The dental assistant’s job is closely connected to the dental hygienists too. The record notes about the treatment which is again verified and recorded as a report for future use.

The most important role in the dental clinic is the management of clinical waste. The dental assistant is the person to keep away the waste safely to safeguard the hygiene of the hospital area.

Dental Assistant

Main Differences Between Dental Hygienist and Dental Assistant

  1. Both of these professionals work together in a dental hospital. They have similar roles at times, however, they have huge differences concerning the job roles. The main difference between a dental hygienist and a dental assistant is dental hygienist closely work with the dentist to offer treatment to the patients while the dental assistant takes care of the office administrative work along with patient care duties.
  2. The educational qualification of these professionals also differs. The dental hygienist must hold an associate or a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene whereas a dental assistant must have a diploma.
  3. Dental hygienists are found to work closely with the patients during their treatment. They are the ones who pre examine and analyze the treatment methods. The dental assistant also works closely with the patients in terms of report generation and also gives timely advice for their dental care.
  4. Dental hygienists work closely with the doctors during the treatment. They may also do the treatment with the help of the dental assistants. The dental assistant connects with the doctor is limited to passing the instruments and maintaining the administrative work of the dental hospital.
  5. A dental hygienist is a person who makes the report for the patients. The report is prepared from the notes taken by the dental assistant. The dental assistant also stores the report safely for future use.
Difference Between Dental Hygienist and Dental Assistant



Both these professionals are in critical job roles. They both work together for the betterment of the patient as well as the hospital. Their roles intersect in certain areas however, their responsibilities are different.

While the hygienist takes care of the patient’s treatment, the assistant shall take notes of the treatment for future records. When the dental hygienist is making the report for the patient, the assistant hands it over to the patient safely.

When the instruments are being used for treatment, it is the job of the assistant to keep it sterilized. All the more a wonderful team is required for a wonderful treatment.



  1. https://www.ada.org/en/education-careers/careers-in-dentistry/dental-team-careers/dental-assistant
  2. https://carrington.edu/blog/what-does-a-dental-assistant-do/
  3. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/aapd/pd/2004/00000026/00000005/art00008
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