How Much Do Dental Hygienists Make?

dental-hygienist-job-descriptionDental hygienists are usually positioned in a dentist’s office. They remove plaque and tartar from patient’s teeth, and assist the dentist in a number of other ways.

Like helping take x-rays, mixing up sealants and fillings, applying fluoride, and offering advice to patients about how they can improve their dental hygiene.

Dental hygienists usually complete some related studies before working in practice, often having earned an associate degree in dental hygiene or a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Having a licence to practice is also a requirement, although the requirements vary slightly depending on the state they are working in.

Interested in finding out more? Click here to learn how to become a dental hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Salary

So, how much do dental hygienists make? Well, the annual median wage is . The median wage is calculated by looking at what half the workers earned more than, and half earned less than. Giving an average dental hygienists salary. dental hygienist salaryIt’s worth noting that the lowest 10% earns less than $51,930, while the top 10% earns more than $101,820. This is a fairly wide fluctuation, and shows that in the right area and with the right experience, there is potential to earn a high wage as a dental hygienist.

A dental hygienists starting salary can depend on a number of factors, such as age, experience, the State they practice in, etc. But generally speaking they can expect to earn at least $23.65 an hour, which is around $49,190 a year. Taking into account some favourable factors, a hygiene could walk into a job paying up to $101,820. But that really is the best case scenario.

As far as other jobs go, the starting salary of a dental hygiene is decent, considering you can walk into the job and receive training in the position. This is largely because every dentist needs a hygienist, and with there often being more dentists than hygienists, it’s allowed the wage to rise due to supply and demand.

Top 5 Paying States

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
California FlagCalifornia 0.62$45.37$94,370
Washington FlagWashington 1.38$43.93$91,370
Nevada FlagNevada 1.25$42.94$89,320
Arizona FlagArizona 1.47$39.45$82,050
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey

Top Paying Industries

IndustryPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Business – Professional – Labor and Political Organizations $36.01$74,910
Offices of Dentists21.25$34.76$72,300
Employment Services 0.06$33.34$69,360
Outpatient Care Centers 0.14$32.65$67,920
Offices of Physicians 0.08$32.42$67,440

Dental Hygienist Job Description

what does a dental-hygenist doIf you are thinking about becoming a dental hygienist, you will need to know – what do dental hygienists do? They actually cover a wide range of tasks, as well as being on-hand for the dentist should they ask anything of them.

Some of the following is typically always done by a dental hygienist:

• Remove plaque, tartar, and stains from the patient’s teeth.
• Apply fluorides and sealants to help protect teeth.
• Take x-rays and examine the results.
• Keep patient notes up to date regarding dental plans and check-ups
• Educate patients on dental hygiene techniques.

Dental hygienists are required to use a range of tools to carry out their jobs. The check-ups they carry out include cleaning and polishing teeth. To do this they use both manual hand tools, and power tools. The most commonly utilized tool is an air-polishing device, it sprays a combination of air, water, and baking soda. The teeth polishing phase is done with a tool that basically works like an automatic toothbrush.

An important part of the job is communicating to patients about oral health. Sometimes links between diets, lifestyles, and other habits linked to dental health will need to be explained. This requires an element of compassion and the ability to communicate and interpret a situation.

Other tasks vary depending on the state, and the privileges allowed by the dentist. Some hygienists are expected to prepare the filling mixtures, prep the patients for dental work, and carry out some basic routine checks.

A dental hygienists career choice is most popular with young females. It’s something that can be pursued at any stage in life, and is lends towards people have good communication skills, are compassionate, and are comfortable performing physical tasks.

Dental Hygienist Job Outlook

Employment has been projected to grow 20% between 2016 to 2026. This is much faster than the average for all occupations. Dental treatments, along with other health related treatments are expected to spur in demand in the future. This is largely because of the ongoing research being undertaken on new procedures.

As dentists expand their practice they hire more hygienists, this is necessary if the dentist wants to scale up their patient database. In addition to this there has been large baby-boom phases, along with an ever increasing aging population. All pointing towards a rise in demand for dental procedures.

Federal health legislation in the US will increase the number of people eligible for health insurance. People who receive new insurance cover are more likely to visit a dentist than they would have previously, and most likely have some overdue work needing to be carried out. Taking into account all of these factors, the outlook for dental hygienists is positive. All of these factors equate to an increase in dental work, and as a result an increase in hygienists work.

Dental Hygienist Salary by State

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Alabama FlagAlabama1.384$21.19$44,070
Alaska FlagAlaska1.666$36.38$75,670
Arizona FlagArizona1.361$39.45$82,050
Arkansas FlagArkansas1.16$29.84$62,060
California FlagCalifornia1.382$45.37$94,370
Colorado flagColorado1.725$37.75$78,530
Connecticut FlagConnecticut2.419$38.54$80,170
Delaware flagDelaware1.674$33.97$70,660
Florida FlagFlorida1.395$30.48$63,400
Georgia FlagGeorgia1.298$30.63$63,710
Hawaii FlagHawaii1.656$33.44$69,560
Idaho FlagIdaho2.004$34.13$70,980
Illinois FlagIllinois1.313$32.88$68,390
Indiana FlagIndiana1.697$31.30$65,100
Iowa FlagIowa1.522$32.36$67,320
Kansas FlagKansas1.307$33.48$69,640
Kentucky FlagKentucky1.128$27.64$57,490
Louisiana FlagLouisiana1.025$28.03$58,290
Maine FlagMaine1.892$31.51$65,540
Maryland FlagMaryland1.173$39.20$81,540
Massachusetts FlagMassachusetts1.846$38.75$80,590
Michigan FlagMichigan2.312$28.61$59,520
Minnesota FlagMinnesota1.664$33.84$70,390
Mississippi FlagMississippi0.903$25.63$53,310
Missouri FlagMissouri1.172$32.58$67,760
Montana FlagMontana1.601$32.98$68,590
Nebraska FlagNebraska1.369$30.79$64,030
Nevada FlagNevada1.114$42.94$89,320
New Hampshire FlagNew Hampshire1.853$38.06$79,170
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey1.644$39.25$81,640
New Mexico FlagNew Mexico1.387$36.34$75,600
New York FlagNew York1.131$33.23$69,120
North Carolina FlagNorth Carolina1.375$31.98$66,510
North Dakota FlagNorth Dakota1.373$30.30$63,030
Ohio FlagOhio1.474$31.69$65,920
Oklahoma FlagOklahoma1.103$31.20$64,900
Oregon FlagOregon2.337$36.98$76,920
Pennsylvania FlagPennsylvania1.621$29.58$61,530
Rhode Island FlagRhode Island2.212$33.94$70,590
South Carolina FlagSouth Carolina1.408$26.17$54,430
South Dakota FlagSouth Dakota1.414$27.83$57,880
Tennessee FlagTennessee1.359$30.95$64,380
Texas FlagTexas1.193$34.60$71,980
Utah FlagUtah1.892$32.99$68,610
Vermont FlagVermont1.951$29.88$62,160
Virginia FlagVirginia1.176$38.16$79,380
Washington FlagWashington1.996$43.93$91,370
West Virginia FlagWest Virginia1.507$26.29$54,680
Wisconsin FlagWisconsin1.811$30.02$62,450
Wyomin FlagWyoming1.624$32.67$67,950

Top paying metropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
San Francisco / San Mateo Redwood City – CA – Metropolitan Division 1.30$53.55$111,380
Vallejo / Fairfield – CA 1.70$49.88$103,750
Sacramento / Arden-Arcade / Roseville – CA 2.33$48.73$101,360
Corvallis, OR 1.74$48.01$99,870
Mount Vernon / Anacortes, – WA 3.29$47.36$98,510

Top paying non-metropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Western – Central Nevada, nonmetropolitan area1.91$48.22$100,290
Northwestern Washington – nonmetropolitan area 2.75$48.06$99,960
Southwestern Washington – nonmetropolitan area1.89$47.41$98,620
Central Washington – nonmetropolitan area 1.43$45.80$95,260
North – West – Central New Mexico – nonmetropolitan area 0.91$44.67$92,920

Dental Hygienist Career Video

Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith is a Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Find a School Near You
Try our FREE award-winning tool to find the best schools in your area.


Try Our Free Tool

Find Schools Near You