RN versus Dental Hygienist - page 3

Just curious guys...I have a cousin who is a new Dental Hygienist and she told me how much she makes and I could not believe it. She makes more than the new grad RN. I am not saying RNs are better... Read More

  1. by   Agnus
  2. by   Agnus
    Quote from tictac
    Btw, I think it's hilarious how some people are disgusted by mouths! I, and most hygienists I know, usually love to tackle a really dirty mouth. The more calculus, the better! Nothing like discovering teeth under 20 years of buildup!
    Yea, know what you mean I get the same feeling of satisfaction from cleaning a toilet. .No seriously!

    Guess I'm just warped.
  3. by   FireStarterRN
    Quote from Dental Hygienist
    I am a dental hygienist. I am on this forum because I am seriously considering becoming a nurse. My reason? not exactly boredom, but a feeling like I have a higher calling; like I can offer more to the world and to my patients.

    By the way; dental hygienisits and dental assistants are completely different; many assistants are trained on the job with no required formal education or licensure. In this city dental assistants earn anywhere from $12-25 an hour with the average being probably about $16 an hour. In this city dental hygienists earn about $32-42 an hour with the average being about $35 an hour.

    It seems that the national average is about $30-32 an hour; some states allow preceptorship (essentially on the job training) and so that drags down the national numbers and makes it appear as though RDHs earn less; but in reality it's hard to find a RDH making less than $30 an hour.

    Benefits are tough to come by as most jobs are part-time. Usually you will have to work between 2-3 offices to work full-time. It is generally an hourly position (ie. not a commission or per patient payment structure) but what does happen is that if your patients cancel or don't show up then your hours are cut and you are sent home.

    I am fortunate enough to work for a nice dentist who provides medical, dental, vacation, holiday and sick pay as well as 401-K. I get between 24-28 hours a week there and I am paid $36 an hour. Then I have to scrounge to find hours at other offices on my days off, which can be challenging. Dental offices are typically only open M-F so my potential work days are limited, my main job has me working T,W,TH and an occasional monday which means to earn extra money I can ONLY work fridays....it's hard to find a dentist with that particular need. I end up temping through an agency most of the time.

    Common misconception: hygienists are NOT OVERPAID! We earn every penny of our wage (and then some) Hygienists are a direct care provider than can bill for the services actually provided. I generally see 8-10 patients a day and produce approximately $1,200 to $2,000 for the office; the dentist is only paying me about 25% of what I directly produce; so I earn every penny and I work HARD; and like most professions there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. IMHO, nurses appear to be underpaid. (Not trying to start a fight here; it's meant as a compliment).

    I fully expect to work harder and get paid less as a nurse; that is probably why I chose dental hygiene in the first place. But in the end, it's really not all about money; $50 an hour probably wouldn't keep me satisfied in hygiene. As a hygienist I often feel like I care more about my patient's oral health than they do; and I feel like the profession as a whole is very misunderstood and under-respected.

    The big bummer; it is a dead-end job. There's nowhere to go period; let alone moving UP. Yeah, you start out making a great wage; and then that's it; there's no more. After that it's cost of living raises only; and you have to BEG for that. New grads and experienced hygienists make almost the same. Longevity with the practice doesn't really increse your pay other than cost of living increases.

    Also, my neck and shoulders and wrists and hands kill me; I don't think I can keep it up full time for another 35 years; my hands would give out.

    There are pros and cons with each profession. My ideal scenario would be to work 3 days nursing and get good benefits an then work 1 day as a dental hygienist. Hopefully I will get the satisfaction with my nursing patients that I have truly made a difference in their lives, and hopefully I will get to build long-term relationships with my hygiene patients while enjoying a nice wage and not becoming burned out.

    They say variety is the spice of life, right?:spin:
    Just want to say, thanks for the informative post!
  4. by   futurenurse00
    thats why they wear masks....
  5. by   NeoNurseTX
    Before I did nursing I was going to school to be an RDH.. however most of the ones I talked with wished they had done nursing and they seemed bored with their jobs and lack of mobility...so I decided on nursing!
  6. by   futurenurse00
    Yea, i agree..most DH do get bored of doing the same thing over and over But it would prob be better if it was only a part-time job...you know, if u can live on part time wages...
  7. by   JustJ
    Hey guys is there anyone out there that is practicing as both RN And RDH? Do u like it?