Dental assistants assist the dental operator (dentist or other treating dental auxiliary) in providing more efficient dental treatment, by preparing the patient for treatment, sterilizing instruments, passing instruments during the procedure, holding suction devices, exposing dental radiographs, taking impressions, and fabricating provisional crowns. Dental operators can focus more time on the procedure; the dental assistant then effectively becomes the operator's extra hands.
Median pay (annual): 34,500 USD (2012)
Median pay (hourly): 16.59 USD (2012)
A dental hygienist is a licensed dental professional who is registered with a dental association or regulatory body within their country of practice. They are a primary healthcare professional who works independent of, or alongside dentists and other dental professionals in a team to provide full oral health care. They have the training and education that focus and specialise in the prevention and treatment of oral disease. They can choose to work in a range of dental settings from independent practice, private practice, specialists practices to public sector; and can also work in residential aged care facilities.
Median pay (annual): 70,210 USD (2012)
Median pay (hourly): 33.75 USD (2012)
Dental laboratory technology is the art and science of manufacturing corrective devices and replacements for natural teeth. Restorative (or prosthetic) dentistry is when we lose our teeth, through an accident or illness, and they need to maintain normal functions. Orthodontic treatment is when teeth must be moved or stabilized to optimize functions or prevent painful dysfunction. The patient's dentist will plan the treatment and place the restoration or corrective device in the patient's mouth.
Average Hourly Wage $14.61 or $13.34
Average Annual Wage $40,000 or $30,000
Starting salaries for dental therapists in the NHS can range from £20,710 to £26,839 a year. An NHS oral health practitioner specialist may earn between £24,831 and £33,436 a year. Advanced oral health practitioners may earn up to £39,273 a year.