How much does a dental hygienist make?

Dental hygienists, the champions of healthy smiles, are at the heart of dental practices, ensuring our teeth shine brightly.

These professionals are more than just teeth cleaners; they educate patients on oral hygiene and collaborate with dentists for overall dental wellness.

But how does this translate to their income?

In the US, the average dental hygienist's salary is $98,236.

However, there are several factors that influence their earnings, such as location, experience, specialization, and local dental trends.

Read on to unravel the intricacies of dental hygienist salaries and get insights into how to earn more as a dental hygienist.

Factors Influencing Dental Hygienist Salaries

Dental hygienist salaries are influenced by a myriad of factors that collectively shape the compensation landscape for these essential oral healthcare professionals.

Understanding these factors provides insight into the varying earnings potential within this field:

Experience in the Industry

As with most professions, experience is a key driver of dental hygienist salary growth.

Dental hygienists with several years of practice and a proven track record often command higher compensation due to their expertise, efficiency, and ability to handle complex cases with confidence.

For instance, dental hygienists with less than a year of experience may earn about $86,735 while seasoned professionals with 10+ years of experience can earn an average salary of $117,421 per annum.

Also Read: How much do dental assistants make in a year?

Educational Qualifications and Specializations

Advanced education, such as a bachelor's or master's degree, can lead to specialized roles within the dental field, hence resulting in increased salaries.

Dental hygienists who pursue further education or certifications in areas like periodontics or pediatric dentistry may earn higher salaries due to their specialized skills and knowledge.

Dental Hygienists with Chiropractic licenses earn +19.10% more than the average base salary, which is $98,236 per year.

Also Read: How much do dentists make in a year?

Employment Setting

The type of practice a dental hygienist works in can affect their earnings.

Private dental practices, specialty clinics, hospitals, and public health organizations may offer differing compensation structures.

Some settings might offer competitive salaries along with benefits, while others emphasize flexibility and work-life balance.

Given below are some of the top employers of dental hygienists offering competitive pay:

Aspen Dental $123,313
Pacific Dental Services $123,717
Midwest Dental $128,584
InterDent $131,232
Benevis $132,648
Metro Dentalcare $128,273
Mortenson Dental Partners $123,437

Also Read: How to write a resume for dentist assistant jobs?

Geographic Location

Location plays a significant role in determining dental hygienist salaries.

Areas with higher living costs and demand for dental services often offer higher pay to attract and retain skilled professionals.

Metropolitan regions and densely populated urban centers tend to have higher salary ranges compared to rural or less populated areas.

For example, given below are some of the big US cities that pay higher average dental hygienist salaries:

San Diego, CA $115,042
Denver, CO $109,102
Boston, MA $104,905
New York, NY $104,622
Austin, TX $97,980
Colorado Springs, CO $95,752
Houston, TX $94,831
Chicago, IL $92,796
Raleigh, NC $91,573

Also Read: What are some of the top interview questions for dental assistants?

Economic Factors and Professional Networking

Economic conditions within a region can also influence dental practices' ability to offer competitive salaries. Economic growth and stability can positively impact salary trends.

Also, building a strong professional network and staying up-to-date with industry trends can provide opportunities for career advancement, which often leads to higher earnings.

Also Read: How to get a job at United Healthcare?

dental hygienist salary

Dental Hygienist Salary, Perks, and Benefits

Dental hygienists not only play a crucial role in maintaining oral health but also enjoy a range of perks and benefits that enhance their job satisfaction and overall well-being.

Here are some of the perks and benefits commonly enjoyed by dental hygienists:

  • Competitive Compensation: Dental hygienists typically receive competitive salaries that reflect their specialized training and expertise, providing a solid foundation for financial stability.

  • Flexible Work Schedules: Many dental practices offer flexible work arrangements, including part-time and full-time options. This flexibility allows dental hygienists to balance work with personal commitments and achieve a healthier work-life integration.

  • Health and Dental Benefits: Dental hygienists often receive comprehensive health and dental benefits, including coverage for preventive care, medical expenses, and dental treatments. These benefits contribute to their overall well-being and peace of mind.

  • Retirement Plans: Many employers offer retirement plans such as 401(k) or pension schemes, enabling dental hygienists to save for their future and secure their financial stability post-retirement.

  • Professional Growth Opportunities: Dental hygienists can continuously expand their skill set and knowledge through workshops, seminars, and certifications. Professional growth opportunities not only enhance their expertise but also provide avenues for career advancement and increased earning potential.

  • Variety in Work Settings: Dental hygienists can work in various settings, such as private practices, specialty clinics, hospitals, and educational institutions. This diversity allows them to choose an environment that aligns with their preferences and career goals.

These perks and benefits collectively create an attractive package for dental hygienists, making their profession not only rewarding in terms of patient care but also in terms of personal and professional fulfillment.

Also Read: How to answer salary-related questions during interviews?

Tips for Increasing Dental Hygienist Salary

Given below are some tips that aspiring and experienced dental hygienists can follow to maximize their income:

  • Pursue Advanced Specializations: Explore specialized areas within dental hygiene that are in high demand, such as pediatric dentistry, periodontics, or geriatric care. By gaining expertise in a specific field, you can position yourself as an invaluable asset, potentially commanding higher pay for your specialized skills.

  • Leverage Continuing Education: Invest in continuous learning and professional development. Earning certifications in advanced techniques, technology utilization, or emerging trends can elevate your value as a dental hygienist. Many employers recognize and reward hygienists who actively seek to enhance their skill set.

  • Negotiate Compensation Strategically: When negotiating salary, emphasize your track record of patient satisfaction, treatment success rates, or contributions to practice growth. Present concrete examples of how your efforts have positively impacted the dental practice. Articulating your value beyond routine duties can strengthen your negotiating position.

  • Embrace Technology and Digital Dentistry: Stay up-to-date with advancements in dental technology, such as digital imaging, electronic health records, and teledentistry. Proficiency in these areas showcases your adaptability and positions you as a technologically-savvy dental hygienist, which can lead to increased earning potential.

  • Network and Seek Mentorship: Engage with dental professionals both within and outside your workplace. Connecting with mentors or experienced colleagues can provide insights into salary negotiation strategies, career growth pathways, and industry trends. They can offer guidance on maximizing your earning potential based on their own experiences.

Also Read: How and when can you ask for a raise at work?

FAQs Related to Dental Hygienist Salary

How much money do dental hygienists make in Michigan?

The median salary for Dental Hygienists in Michigan stands at approximately $80,743. However, salary ranges in the state usually span from around $71,444 to $90,413.

Can you live off being a dental hygienist?

Yes, many dental hygienists can sustain a comfortable living through their profession due to competitive salaries and benefits.

What is the average salary for a dental hygienist in Florida?

In Florida, the typical salary range for Dental Hygienists spans between $63,350 and $77,830, with an average annual pay of $73,180 (equivalent to $35.18 per hour).

Where do dental hygienists get paid the most?

Dental hygienists generally earn the highest salaries in states with higher costs of living and stronger demand for dental services, such as California, Washington, and New York.

Why do hygienists get paid so much?

Dental hygienists often receive competitive pay due to their specialized skills, the demand for preventive oral healthcare, and the crucial role they play in maintaining overall dental wellness.

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