A considerable part of the routine dental checkup, patients spend a large amount of the time with the dental hygienists. What they do is observe the condition of their teeth first, scrape plaque and tartar off from it, and floss in order to assess gum health. They may also treat you with fluorides or more, depending on the patient.

These tasks mentioned above are hands-on and mostly done without external assistance. These certain factors lead to a few misconceptions about hygienists and their responsibilities within a dental practice. Keep on reading to get a better picture of the role and what work is truly involved.

What Does A Hygienist Do?

Hygienists spend the most time in cleaning the oral cavity and preparing it for the extensive procedure. This only takes up so much time that people feel that this is the only thing that they do. However, that is not the entire truth. Granted that most of the time on face, hygienists seem to just clean teeth but they do prepare the patients for the next steps.

Do Hygienists Work Alone?

It is one of the most common misconceptions that hygienists work alone since their interaction with the dentists is minimally seen. It is true on the patient side since they do not get to see the kind of coordination or relationship a dentist has with the assistant/associate.

They render their services to the professionals in devising the appropriate treatment plan. This is true since the hygienists have a lot of information on the patients regarding their history, likes, dislikes etc., to share with others from the beginning.

Are Dental Hygienists Dentists?

As much as they can do and know, another issue of spending a large of time with hygienists is that patients assume they are dentists. However, in reality, the roles are different, along with the required schooling, salary, and even their goals.

Dental hygienists have one advantage, they strive for a quicker path to work. This happens because they require only 2 years of schooling; after which they apply for a license and step their foot in the field.

However, lesser years of dental school means they receive a lesser salary comparatively. While hygienists clean the patients’ teeth and educate them, the dentists, while they can easily clean the mouth too, put their focus more on correcting grave issues. They perform procedures for fillings of cavities, tooth extractions, and other procedures.


The dental world is indeed intriguing and offers ample opportunities not only for dentists but also for the hygienist, assistants, etc. If you want to know more, contact us at Greatwood Dental Assisting Program. Call 281 728 6012 for an appointment.