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How much do dental hygienists earn?

Dental hygienists, also referred to as oral health practitioners, are dental care professionals who form part of the dental care team. Dental hygienists carry out a range of duties, and may work in both NHS and private practice. Their experiences, qualifications and working locations influence their salaries. Find out the answer to the question "How much do dental hygienists earn?" in this article.

Work activities

Dental hygienists play a vital role in preventing teeth and gum problems from arising. Dental hygienists carry out procedures such as applying fissure sealants and topical fluoride, and scaling and polishing teeth. Dental hygienists who work in hospitals aid patients scheduled for surgery or complex orthodontic treatment to maintain a good oral hygiene. All dental hygienists teach patients basic tooth and gum care such as how to clean teeth and how to use dental floss to prevent teeth plaque.


Dental hygienists must have excellent communication skills as they are required to work with both young and old patients who come from a range of backgrounds. Dental hygienists must have a keen interest in healthcare and education.

Entry requirements

To become a dental hygienist, five GCSEs and two A-levels are required. A recognised dental nursing qualification may also be accepted.


To practise as a dental hygienist, it is essential for an individual to have successfully completed an appropriate General Dental Council approved course. This will allow an individual to register with the
General Dental Council - a mandatory requirement for dental hygienists. Dental hygiene courses Courses for dental hygienists last two years when studied on a full-time basis. Subjects studied include human anatomy and physiology, dental health education, preventive dentistry, dental pathology and patient care and management. Several dental schools offer combined dental hygiene and dental therapy courses.

Work locations

Dental hygienists may find work in hospitals and community dental services. Most frequently, dental hygienists work in general dental practice either for the NHS or in private practice.


Dental hygienists In the NHS, dental hygienists fall into Band 5 of the pay scale for NHS workers. They can expect to earn between £21,176 and £27,625 per year. Specialist dental hygienists Specialist dental hygienists fall into Band 6 of the pay scale. They can expect to earn between £25,528 and £34,189 per year. Advanced dental hygienists Advanced dental hygienists fall into Band 7 of the pay scale. They can expect to earn between £30,460 and £40,157 per year. Salaries for dental hygienists in private practice may be slightly higher.

Careers prospects

Experienced dental hygienists can work their way up to practice managers, or to teach on dental hygiene training courses. Dental hygienists may have the opportunity to take further qualifications to become orthodontic therapists.

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