How Much Does A Dental Hygienist Make?

Most of the people work just because they want the money to sustain their lifestyle or to get a better one. Thus, the salary offered by any job is an important aspect to consider before choosing a career path. Jobs in the medical field usually pay quite a lot when compared to other fields. A dental hygienist works alongside a dentist to take care of a patient’s teeth. To become a dental hygienist, one needs to have an associate’s degree and a license to practice. Let us look at the factors that affect a hygienist’s salary and how one can choose to improve them

salary of dental hygienistDental Hygienist Salary

The base salary of a dental hygienist is around $71,000. When compared to that of a dental assistant, this is almost double. However, if you compare it with a full-time dentist, then it is less than half.

Comparing it with other medical assistant careers, we find that it is one of the highest paid positions in that level. However, technically speaking, the hygienist is not an assistant to the dentist but works along with one.

Registered nurses, Veterinary assistants, and even oral surgery assistants earn lower than a dental hygienist.

What Affects Income?


Unfortunately, as a dental hygienist, there isn’t much of a salary bump with experience. You can expect a maximum bump of 7-8% after working for around 20 years. That is why some people prefer to work multiple jobs as a hygienist or pursue higher studies to be a dentist.


Any medical professional will be a more valued asset if the number of skills he or she possesses is greater. Similarly, a dental hygienist can stand to earn more, if they know skills in fields like pedodontics, periodontics, and anesthesia. On the other hand, skills like cleaning teeth, being bilingual and orthodontics has surprisingly seen lower salaries. Another helpful skill to learn in this field is radiology.


The demand for a medical professional depends on the location of a person. So, it stands to reason that places where there is a low density of dental hygienists, there the salary of one is generally high. In a rough generalization, the west coast pays more than the east coast and this is mainly due to the low density of hygienists in the west coast.

Seattle pays as high as 37% more than the national average. Boston, Houston, and Austin pay quite a bit higher than the national average too.


At the end of the day, your employer signs your paycheck. Different clinics, dentists, and hospitals pay hygienists differently. If there is a large team of hygienists, you can expect your pay to be a bit lower than a place with a smaller team. Institutions like Aspen Dental and DDS Inc higher hygienists by the dozen. However, they do not pay the highest amount.

Pacific Dental Services Incorporated is known for their fat paychecks of around $79,000. Similarly, Gentle Family Dentistry and Dr. Jones pay just as well.

How to earn more?

The simplest answer to the above question is cumulative of all the factors above. For example, work in Seattle, hopefully for a company like Pacific Dental Services Incorporated, for a span of over 20 years and consider developing skills in radiology, anesthesia, periodontics and pedodontics. Doing so will definitely raise your salary significantly.

However, there is not much scope otherwise for a dental hygienist to increase the size of their paycheck. This is the reason that some people pursue higher education and try to become a dentist.

Salary is a huge part of one’s career and the value does make a difference. But, we shouldn’t judge a career path based on the amount of green you receive. Rather we should check the other perks that we may get like dental, 401k, benefits, holidays and other things that will keep us happy as we work in that post. Most of the people who have worked as a hygienist claim that they were extremely satisfied with their jobs.

If all these factors seem to agree with you, then the salary of a dental hygienist is quite a respected one. So, don’t wait anymore and see how long it takes to become a dental hygienist right away!