The median salary of dental hygienist was around $70,210 per year (May 2012). The salary of lowest 10 percent is less than $46,540 per year, while the salary of top 10 percent is more than $96,280 per year. Besides, these professionals also get some benefits such as sick leave, paid vacation, contributions to retirement fund, etc. However, these benefits may be available for only full time workers and it varies by employer.

Dental Hygienist Job Description

Generally, dental hygienists perform three main types of services, prevention, treatment and education. They work under the direct supervision of licensed dentists. They are responsible for performing basic dental care tasks such as keep the teeth and gums of patients clean. Polishing and removing plaque from the teeth of patients are the major duties of a dental hygienist. They review the oral health history of patients, screen and conduct routine check up, and teach patients appropriate flossing and brushing techniques. By using X-ray machines, they take pictures of teeth and develop film for the analysis of dentists. These professionals use different types of tools to perform their duties. They polish and clean teeth with hand, ultrasonic tools and power. Sometimes, they remove stains by using air-polishing device, which is used for spraying a combination of baking soda, water and air. The powered tool, they used for polishing teeth, works like an automatic toothbrush. The duties of these professionals may vary by state. They need to carve and place filling materials, periodontal dressings and temporary fillings in some states.

How to Become a Dental Hygienist


In order to work as a dental hygienist in the US legally, you must have a license from the respective state. Graduation from an accredited degree program, passing a state or regional specific and national exam are essential for getting a licensure. You can attend an accredited program at universities, vocational schools and community colleges. According to the reports of BLS, associate, certificate, bachelor and master’s degree are the credentials awarded to the students who want to pursue this career. However, most students prefer to enroll in associate degree program, which can be completed in two years. The course topics include chemistry, physiology, anatomy, pharmacology and clinical sciences. Commission on Dental Accreditation is the accrediting agency for dental hygiene programs.

A high School diploma or equivalent in subjects such as chemistry, biology, health courses and math is essential for enrolling in hygienist program. In order to get an admission in some dental hygienist bachelors degree programs, you must have 2 years of junior college. You must pass National Dental Hygiene Exam to get a license. After passing the national exam, you must also pass a regional dental hygiene exam, which involves a demonstration of your clinical skills. You are asked to remove plaque, tartar or calculus from teeth of real patients during the exam.

Duties of Dental Hygienist

• Remove plaque and calculus from teeth
• Provide dental health education about diet and tooth care
• Tale impressions and radiographs of teeth
• Carryout screening and monitoring procedure
• Treat and help to prevent gum disease
• Apply antibacterial materials, topical fluorides and fissure sealants to help prevent tooth decay
• Ensure to maintain sterile conditions
• Use a range of dental instruments
• Work closely with the instructions of dentists
• Keep up-to-date with new developments in profession
• Maintain patient records
• Remove deposits and stains from teeth
• Counsel and educate adults and children on dental health
• Apply and remove periodontal packs

How much does a Dental Hygienist Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage of a dental hygienist is around $68,250 per year. The hourly wage of these professionals is around $32.81.

Dental Hygienist Salary in USA

Bureau of Labor Statistics calculated the median salary of a dental or oral hygienist from a variety of sources. These professionals can work in a number of settings, which include dental clinics, hospitals, and schools. The salary of these professionals varies depending on experience, location and setting. If an oral hygienist works around 40 hours in a week, he/she works around 2080 hours per year. The average hourly wage of an oral hygienist is around $33.75. Top 10 percent professionals earn around $46 per hour and lowest hourly wage is around $26.38. The average income of an oral hygienist is around $70,210 per year. The lowest 10 percent earn around $46,500 per year. The salary of top 10 percent is around $96,000 per year. The salary of a highest paid oral hygienist is around $112,000 per year.

Dental Hygienist Salary by State

You may be curious to know the salaries of oral hygienists prevailing in specific state areas. The state by state breakdown provides you a clear awareness regarding the salaries prevailing in some states in the US. The salary is collected from Bureau of Labor Statistics.

California : $93,280
Nevada : $91,350
Washington : $90,540
District of Columbia : $88,320
Connecticut : $84,320
Texas : $71,980
Florida : $63,400
New York : $69,120
Michigan : $ 59,520
Arizona : $82,050

Dental Hygienist Salary in Canada

The full time salary of this occupation in Canada is around $60,000 to $70,000 per year. The average hourly salary is around C$35.00. The hourly salary range is from C$25 to C$48 per hour. The average salary of oral hygienist is around C$72,800 per year.

Dental Hygienist Salary in UK

An oral hygienist can earn around £25.00 per hour in the United Kingdom. The range of hourly wage is from £19.00 to £34.25. The average yearly wage of these professionals is around £52,000. If you have a few years of experience, you can earn a higher salary. Location is the other determining factor for the salary of an oral hygienist in the UK.

Dental Hygienist Salary in Australia

If you are seeking employment in Australia, you can expect around AU$42 per hour. The salary range of these professionals in this country is from AU$27.00 to AU$56.00. The average yearly salary of oral hygienist is around AU$87.360.

Dental Hygienist Job Outlook

According to BLS, the employment for oral hygienist is expected to grow 33 percent through 2022. The demand for preventive dental services will continue to grow due to the ongoing research on general and oral health. These services are provided by oral hygienists. Due to the expansion of their practice, dentists are forced to hire more hygienists to perform the daily tasks of dental care. It allows the dentists to see more patients. Today, people prefer to keep their original teeth. So, they need to treat and maintain these teeth, which further push up the demand for oral hygienists. Due to the expansion of Federal health legislation, more patients have health insurance. Therefore, they can afford the treatment cost. This will further increase the demand for these professionals.