Home Jobs & Education How Much Do Dental Hygienists Make?

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dental-hygienistDental hygienists are health care professionals that help patients develop and maintain good oral hygiene to prevent oral diseases.

Dental hygienists are typically responsible for removing tartar and plaque from teeth, applying sealants to protect teeth, developing dental x-rays, maintaining patient records of care and treatment plans, and educating patients on important components to oral health. Some dental hygienists are also involved in placing filling materials, temporary fillings, and periodontal dressings under the supervision of the dentist.

Salary
How much does a dental hygienist make? According to the May 2012 records from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual dental hygienist salary is $70,700, which is equivalent to a mean hourly wage of $33.99. The bottom ten percent in the occupation earns an annual salary of $46,540, while the top ten percent make an average $96,280 each year.

Dental hygienists employed in dental offices earn an average $71,000, while those employed in physician offices make significantly less at a mean salary of $65,310. Within the United States, the highest paid dental hygienists are employed in California, where they earn an annual salary of $93,280. Following closely behind, those in Nevada make $91,350 and dental hygienists in Washington make an annual mean salary of $90,540.

State Hourly Wage Average Salary Number of Jobs
Alabama $22.00 $45,760 3,010
Alaska $36.45 $75,820 430
Arizona $38.32 $79,700 3,390
Arkansas $27.94 $58,110 1,300
California $44.84 $93,280 21,200
Colorado $37.39 $77,770 3,810
Connecticut $40.54 $84,320 3,760
Delaware $33.30 $69,270 630
Florida $28.49 $59,250 10,250
Georgia $32.07 $66,700 5,370
Hawaii $32.82 $68,270 1,010
Idaho $34.31 $71,370 1,210
Illinois $30.27 $62,970 8,260
Indiana $30.48 $63,390 4,210
Iowa $31.88 $66,320 2,140
Kansas $30.69 $63,840 1,570
Kentucky $27.32 $56,840 1,890
Louisiana $28.90 $60,120 1,650
Maine $33.22 $69,100 1,050
Maryland $36.87 $76,680 2,930
Massachusetts $37.99 $79,030 5,600
Michigan $28.75 $59,810 8,960
Minnesota $33.01 $68,660 4,630
Mississippi $24.08 $50,080 1,120
Missouri $33.55 $69,770 2,940
Montana $32.42 $67,430 700
Nebraska $30.43 $63,300 1,220
Nevada $43.92 $91,350 1,150
New Hampshire $36.77 $76,480 1,210
New Jersey $38.61 $80,300 5,440
New Mexico $36.50 $75,910 960
New York $32.86 $68,340 9,630
North Carolina $31.01 $64,490 5,990
North Dakota $26.82 $55,790 660
Ohio $30.92 $64,320 8,000
Oklahoma $28.48 $59,250 2,070
Oregon $38.26 $79,570 3,570
Pennsylvania $29.05 $60,420 8,410
Rhode Island $33.74 $70,180 1,030
South Carolina $26.58 $55,280 2,480
South Dakota $27.30 $56,790 480
Tennessee $29.41 $61,180 3,410
Texas $33.29 $69,240 11,830
Utah $31.77 $66,080 2,400
Vermont $31.83 $66,200 520
Virginia $39.42 $82,000 4,250
Washington $43.53 $90,540 5,850
West Virginia $24.29 $50,530 1,080
Wisconsin $29.70 $61,790 4,810
Wyoming $31.44 $65,390 410
Data courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Work Environment
Almost all of the 190,290 jobs for dental hygienists are with dentists’ and oral surgeons’ offices. Dental hygienists work closely with other members of the dental office staff, including dentists and dental assistants to provide optimal patient care. One of the most distinctive features of this profession is the opportunity for flexible scheduling. More than 50 percent of dental hygienists only work part-time, since dentists typically hire hygienists to work a few days out of the work week. However, some dental hygienists work full-time by working in more than one office.

Employment for dental hygienists between 2010 and 2020 is expected to be very promising, with the profession growing faster than average at 38 percent. Many dentists are expanding their offices to accommodate for the large baby boomer population, so more hygienists will be in demand. Increasing demand for dental services, ongoing oral health research, and new breakthrough technologies are causing the need for preventative oral care to soar.

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