dental hygienist salary

In the United States of America, the average salary of a dental hygienist as of 2023 is $91,979 annually. The hourly rate is $44.56. Typically the average salary range usually falls between $$68,486 and $123,531 yearly. This depends on many factors that include education, certifications, additional skills, and years of experience.

Furthermore, the dental hygenist salary in some States is higher than in other states in the USA. The States and districts that pay Dental Hygienists the highest mean salary are Alaska ($115,050), California ($109,970), Washington ($95,450), Nevada ($89,360) and the District of Columbia ($94,650).

Subsequently, some cities in the metropolitan areas also tend to pay the highest salary in the dental hygenist profession in the USA. Cities that pay higher include Santa Maria, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Fairbanks, and San Francisco.

Santa Maria, California pays an average salary of $133,730; San Jose, California, pays $120,340; Santa Rosa, California, pays $118,980; Fairbanks, Alaska pays $117,760 and San Francisco, California $117,470.

However, if you decide to work in California, it is important to note that the cost of living in this area is 39% higher than the national average. Housing is 96% higher than the national average, while utilities are 28% higher. While in Alaska, the cost of living is 127.1% higher than the US national average. This makes Alaska one of the most expensive states in the U.S.

If you are fascinated by teeth or flossing is at the top of your priority list, or you have a flair for oral hygiene and other people’s dental cleanliness, you should explore this career.

Who is a dental hygenist?

A dental hygienist is a licensed dental professional who works as the right-hand man of the dentist. Unlike the dental assistant, a registered dental hygenist can work independently or with other dental professionals to provide full oral health care. To summarise, a dental hygenist profession is higher than a dental assistant profession and less than a dentist.

Related article: Dental assistant salary in California and licensing procedure

Dental hygienists offer a broad range of clinical services to their patients. They examine patients to provide patient-specific preventative and educational treatments to promote and maintain good oral health.

 Dental hygienists are also the primary resource for oral cancer screening and prevention. They also may perform dental radiography and administer local anaesthesia.

Dental hygienists can work in a range of dental settings including independent, private and specialist practices, and also in the public sector.

To become a dental hygenist, a person will need to have either an Associate’s or bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene from an accredited college or university. They also have to register with a dental association or regulatory body within their country of practice.

In the United States of America, Dental hygienists must hold an educational qualification approved by the American Dental Association. Dental hygienists in the United States must obtain licensing from the State they practice in. They must have also passed a written board known as the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination or a clinical board exam before getting licensed. After completing these examinations and obtaining their licences, dental hygienists may use the letters “R.D.H” after their names to indicate that they are now licensed, dental hygienists.

Licensure rules in the United States of America

State licensure requirements vary. However, most states require an associate degree in Dental Hygiene.

In California, Registered dental hygienists in alternative practise (RDHAP) may provide treatments without the supervision of a dentist. They can provide care to homebound individuals, residential facilities and institutions. RDHAPs can give patient care for up to 18 months or longer. However, the patient receives a prescription from a dentist or physician for extra oral therapy.

SEE: Travel Nurse Jobs California: Highest Paying Roles

Colorado is currently the only State that allows unsupervised dental hygienist practice. Most services require the authorisation or supervision of a dentist. Hygienists may operate their own dental hygiene business; this is because most services do not require the authorisation or supervision of a dentist.

In Connecticut, dental hygienists may practise without supervision in institutions, public health facilities, group homes, and schools. They must, however, have two years of work experience to enjoy such privilege.

Under certain situations, a qualified Maine dental hygienist with an independent practice may function without the supervision of a dentist. A dental hygienist, for example, must complete 2,000 work hours of clinical practice over two years before applying for an independent licence. They also must have completed a bachelor’s or associate degree from a CODA-accredited dental hygiene program. Another condition is completing 6,000 work hours of clinical practice during the six years before applying for an independent license.

In Michigan, Dental hygienists with grantee status can work in a public or nonprofit environment, a school or a nursing home that administers dental care to a low-income population. To obtain a grantee status, hygienists Dentists working with dental hygienists are not required to be present to authorise or provide treatment. However, dental hygienists must be available to interact with a dentist to check patient data and implement emergency measures. Hygienists must apply for grantee status with the state department of community health.

In Washington, dental hygenist can practice unsupervised anywhere, provided the hygienist refers their patients to a dentist for treatment. 

Average Dental hygienist salary vs Other health Jobs

Comparable health jobs earn the following in the United States of America:

  • Dentists’ annual average salary is $180,830
  • A registered Nurse’s annual average salary is $80,010
  • Clinical Laboratory Technicians’ annual average salary is $55,990
  • Dental Assistant’s annual average salary is $42,310
  • A dental therapist’s annual average salary is $70208
  • Oral health therapists’ annual average salary is $70208








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