Everyone likes a healthy bright smile, and it is the task of the Dental Hygienists to help people acquire and uphold one, mostly through preventative measures, as well as polishing, scaling and through general advice on self-cleaning habits.

What exactly is a dental hygienist?


 Dental Hygienist SalaryBeing a Dental Hygienist is a highly specialized profession and hence is in high demand, especially by people who work in a line that requires a high level of personal appearance, as well as others who like to look their best. Subsequently a Dental Hygienist salary has to match the time spent acquiring the knowledge to perform the service properly, especially in the case of those who have years of experience in the profession.




Contributing Factors and Job Types

Dental Hygienist Salary Fluctuation

 Fluctuation of dental hygienists’ salary throughout recent years

 When it comes to how much Hygienists make, it varies greatly on demographics and working hours. It being a service for people you’d obviously get more clients in a place with more people, hence it will be more profitable in a city or metropolis than in the countryside, especially in a new practice, as you have to build up a client base first off, and the same if you take a job and work for wages, since there would be only so much work at one practice. This aspect also applies to dentists, as the two professions are not that different.

There are however plenty of companies in a line that requires a high level of personal appearance which would hire a Dental worker, usually on a contract basis, and they are usually in place where service cannot be obtained by outsourcing, like on luxury liners, a remote spa location, film companies, and so forth.

While contract work though could be a rewarding and less routine experience with a lot of added benefits, it is however not a very stable business, and you could be out of work for months in between, hence a private practice or fixed salary job tends to be a safer option.


The Dental Hygienist Salary, Private vs Corporate

The standard walk in, freshly qualified Hygienist salary would be something along the lines of $20-25k a year, depending of course on where they start at, although with some experience and at the right companies they could be earning up to $60k a year. The standard working hours are the regular 8-9 to 5, primarily weekdays, or 35-40 hours a week, depending once again on demographics and the company they work for.

Salary Chart


Starting their own practice though could see a considerable amount more in annual income, although as always it requires a lot of initial capital to start off, as well as the difficulties of acquiring the correct equipment, registration, location and advertising. It is also of course, as with all private practices, bound to start out slow and having to gradually grow and build up a client base, as people tend to prefer using services, especially personal ones, at a place they know and are comfortable dealing with. That would also mean that initial pricing would most likely have to be lower to attract more clients, although the prices can be adjusted as time goes by and the client base becomes more saturated.


It is therefore more prudent for a newly qualified Hygienist to pursue a salary based career, at least until they have attained a few years of practical experience, which would significantly increase their pay-grade and effectively move them up a few salary levels.



Outside Factors

It is however not just about being qualified to do the job, but also about having interpersonal skills, since it is all about dealing with people, and making them feel at ease, sort of like the proverbial bedside manner, and a lot of careers have been made and broken by that personal touch.

As with every profession it is also essential to have the correct equipment for professional procedures and ease of use. Likewise, the location you are situated in is very important, as well as the lay out of the practice. There is nothing worse than working in a cramped environment, so make sure you rather give yourself some extra space, in order to work effectively.


Also make sure the location you chose is capable of running all the equipment and machinery you might require, not that most equipment require a large amount of electricity, by surges and dips could potentially damage your equipment, and a lot of equipment is very expensive, and replacing them every now and then would really add up in the end.


While talking about location, make sure it is easily reachable by public transport, as well as having ample space for parking in front or near the building, since people do not want to walk extended distances to get to you.




Pointers when dealing with clients:

  • While most people go into a profession for the money, which is probably why you are on a website reading about a dental hygienist salary, but it is important to remember that when dealing with people that you do not give off the idea that you are only after their money, and that you actually care about them personally, not just by how much you can make out of them.

Dental Braces

  • A personal touch is the core of building relationships with your clients, and letting them know you see them as individuals is the first step towards that, so make sure you check up their name before meeting them, and use it often when talking to them, to let them know you see them as a person and not just client number 44 coming through.
  • Put the client at ease, often when people come to a professional for help, they feel overwhelmed by their distinct lack of knowledge as opposed to the knowledge of the person they are dealing with, and it is no different when it comes to Hygienists. Small talk goes a long way to putting people at ease, and try to make it seem like you are genuinely interested in what they have to say, and not to handle them in a manner they might see as off-hand.
  • It is probably common sense, but upholding a high level of personal appearance is essential, especially in the profession you are in, it’s same as when people would not trust an optometrist without glasses, and a Dental worker without a bright white smile would raise a lot of suspicions.
  • When dealing with the client, take time to explain all the procedures in an easily understandable manner, especially to new clients, as people will often become nervous when faced with a new procedure; but if they actually understand what is going on, it will help put them at ease, and make it easier to work with them as well.
  • Try not to make derogatory remarks about the issues the clients have come to you for help, since it is a very personal issue, and after all they came to you for help in the matter at hand, hence they obviously are rather sensitive to the matter.
  • Be honest and upfront with your clients when it comes to pricing, but also let them know that you are a professional and delivering a quality service, hence why your prices might not be the same as cheap, quick fix products and procedures that don’t work half the time.
  • First Impressions and the Formal Goodbye are also very important, people make an in depth assessment of you the first time they see you, and often judge you by that and apply stereotypes, they do this unconsciously as well even if they do not think they do it. It is also equally important to escort the client out and have a formal goodbye being exchanged, in order for them to not feel dismissed as soon as they are done, so make sure you wish them well and safe travels until you see them again, it can often make the difference between them coming back or seeking out another Hygienist.
  • Be prepared and knowledgeable about the procedures, you have to inspire confidence, and there is nothing worse than going to someone who is supposed to be a professional who does not know where things are, and have to first think or look up something before answering questions.
  • Also you have to appear knowledgeable and be sure of you say, firstly because in this day and age with all the information on the internet at our fingertips they might look up what you said for themselves, and it would put you in a really bad light if you gave them bad information.
  • That said though, do not shy away from questions, and always ask the clients if they have any questions over any procedures or anything to do with the profession, since it is only natural for them to be curious.
  • Keep up to date with the newest procedures and products, since not only could it keep down your costs, you would also like to appear up to date, and know what a client is talking about when they speak of a new procedure or product, since it would look pretty bad to them if they knew of something you did not.
  • Always give advice at the end to maximize the lasting effects of your work, as well as possible warnings against anything that might be detrimental to it, especially shortly after a procedure, since they will often come back and blame you for shoddy workmanship even if it was their own fault, and in such a case you could tell them you did advise them beforehand.




Dentist Instruments

Summing up, is it worth being a hygienist?


So in conclusion a dental hygienist salary is down to a lot of varying factors that influence the end amount, and depending on whether it’s a permanent position or contract, or even your own practice, the amount earned can vary great, as mentioned earlier anything between $20 000 for a raw newly qualified hygienist to $60 000+ per year with the required experience and expertise, as well as the right demographics.


An important thing that people do not always consider when entering a profession or career though is the availability of quality positions to work at, and while there are many professions and careers that can pay incredibly well, there are often not enough jobs for the amount of qualified professionals in the field, leading to comparatively low salaries to skill level or even an inability to find a decent position at all.


However when it comes to a hygienist, people are vain and are becoming even more so, and a bright smile is something everyone wants, thus there is no shortage of work for a skilled professional, and that goes a long way to ensuring there are decent positions to step into as a dental hygienist.




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