How to Become a Dental Hygienist

5 minute read
How to Become a Dental Hygienist

With the increasing concern for personal care, people are getting conscious of their oral health care as well. As per Statista, around 17% people in India suffer from cavities/decay, thus representing a huge market for oral health specialists like dentists, dental hygienists and dental nurses. A dental hygienist is a preventive health care professional who examines and prevents oral diseases and maintains the overall oral hygiene in their patients. Want to explore a lucrative career in dentistry then here is how to become a dental hygienist!

Career Dental Hygienist
Field Medical
Responsibilities Core Job (Cleaning Teeth, Removing  Plaque, Taking X-Rays), Assisting Dentist
Educating Patients On Oral Health
Skills  Required Technical (Related To The Job)Interpersonal (Maintain Good Relations With Patients)
Courses Diploma In Dental Hygiene
Bachelors In Dental Hygiene (BDH)
Masters In Dental Hygiene (MDH)
Eligibility Criteria Completed 10+2 with a Minimum of 50% of Aggregate for Diploma
Diploma For Bachelors
Bachelor’s Degree For Masters
Cost (Tuition Fee) Diploma: 10,000-5 LPA
Bdh: 12 LPA Approx.
Mdh: 2 To 5 LPA
Job Profile Dental Hygienist
Health Educator
Salary Dental Assistant: 2 to 3 LPA,
Registered Nurses: 1 to 3 LPA
Medical Assistant: 2 to 3 Lpa
Dentist: 3 to 4 LPA

Who is a Dental Hygienist?

YouTube: Carrington College

Dental Hygienists are medical professionals who take care of oral health, diseases and work towards preventive medicine. They are involved in the prevention and treatment of diverse oral ailments like cavities, gum disease, bad breath, whitening as well as curing gingival/periodontal disease. To become a Dental Hygienist, a bachelor’s degree in the field of dentistry is a must and stepping stone to a lucrative career. Dental hygienists are employed by dental clinics, hospitals and can work independently in different sectors like the private, government, military, entertainment etc.  

Must Read: How to Become an Endodontist?

Responsibilities of a Dental Hygienist

Following are the key responsibilities of a hygienist

  • Removing plaque or stains from the teeth
  • Assisting the dentist
  • Taking x-rays
  • Preliminary examination of the patients’ oral health
  • Creating and diagnosing the reports
  • In some cases, giving local anesthesia
  • Providing education to patients about keeping oral hygiene


The skills are categorized into two types: technical and interpersonal.

Dental Hygienist skills
Source: Pinterest
  • Diploma in Dental Hygiene
  • Bachelors of Dental Surgery
  • Bachelor of Dentistry
  • Bachelor of Dental Science
  • Bachelor Degree of Dentistry
  • Bachelor of Oral Health
  • Bachelor of Oral Health Science
  • BDS Honors Dentistry
  • BSc Hons Advanced Dental Nursing
  • Master of Dentistry
  • MSc Clinical Dentistry
  • Master of Dental Science
  • MSc in Dental Technology
  • Masters in Dental Surgery
  • Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry
  • MDS Endodontics

Must Read: BDS to MBBS Bridge Course

Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria for every program differs based on the level of qualification. Here is a breakdown of the requirements for different types of courses in dental hygiene:

English Language Requirements:

  • Students applying to foriegn universities are required to submit scores of English language proficiency test, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 580, computer-based score of 237, or iBT score of 90 (students must achieve 4.0 on the essay or TOEFL writing test); or IELTS score of 6.5. 
  • They can also submit scores of MELAB, CAEL, CanTest and Duolingo depending upon the college and department.


  • The candidate must have completed high school with a minimum of 50%.
  • They must have studied Physics, Chemistry, Biology.
  • The minimum age must be 17.

Bachelors of Dental Hygiene

  • The candidate must have completed high school with a minimum of 50%.
  • They must have studied Physics, Chemistry, Biology.
  • English language scores (IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, etc)
  • Entrance requirements like UCAT/UKCAT (UK, Australia and New Zealand) and DAT (USA)  

Masters of Dental Hygiene

  • A Bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene, dental surgery, oral health, oral health science etc. with minimum scores depending upon the college
  • Dental entrance exams (UCAT/UKCAT (UK, Australia and New Zealand) and DAT (USA) ,NEET PG) 
  • Work experience and internships
  • English proficiency scores 

Study Dentistry in UK as an International Students!

Entrance Exams

Some entrance exams for dental courses in India: 

  • Aligarh Muslim University Exam
  • Buddha Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital Exam
  • Bapuji Dental College and hospital Exam
  • Himachal Institute of Dental Sciences Exam
  • The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE)
  • The Dental Hygiene Assessment Examination (DHAE)


Periodontics Anatomy Oral hygiene
Basic computer Preventive dental care Physiology
Radiology Pharmacology Dental equipment
Pathology Anesthesia Ethics and conducts
Microbiology Oral prophylaxis Food and nutrition

Also Read: Top Medicial Sciences Courses Around the Globe

Top Universities for Dental Hygienists

According to QS 2022 world university ranking, the following are the top universities

Top Colleges in India for Dental Hygienists

  • Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Udupi
  • Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune
  • Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Chennai
  • Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, Delhi
  • King George’s Medical University, Lucknow
  • A.B.Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences, Mangaluru
  • Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Mangalore
  • Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Chennai
  • SDM College of Dental Sciences & Hospital, Dharwad
  • SRM Dental College, Chennai

Cost of Studying Dentistry 

The cost of studying dentistry in India is somewhere between 6-10 LPA depending on the college and course. While pursuing dentistry abroad ranges between 20 to 30 LPA in tuition fees. There are many universities that offer scholarships, bursaries and grants to accomplished international students to encourage them. 

Job Profile and Salary 

Job Profiles Average Salary for Beginners in India
Medical Assistant  2 to 3 LPA
Dental Assistant 3 to 4 LPA
Physical Assistant:  3 to 5 LPA
Dentist 3 to 4 LPA
Registered Nurses 1 to 3 LPA

Hygienist vs Dentist

Hygienist Dentist
Hygienist is just a health practitioner A dentist is a doctor
A hygienist helps in the prevention of diseases A dentist treats our teeth as well
A hygienist can work under the supervision of a dentist A dentist works independently
A hygienist can practice after a bachelor’s degree A dentist needs at least 8 years of education
A hygienist has a nationwide license A dentist has a state-specific license


What kind of jobs are available after graduation?

A lot of options emerge like assisting a doctor, working independently, educator, advisor, corporate health sector, etc.

What is the difference between a dental hygienist and an assistant?

A hygienist performs various jobs like giving anesthesia, taking x-rays whereas an assistant just helps the dentist.

What skills are necessary?

A hygienist requires various technical as well as interpersonal skills. A hygienist should be prepared to take X Rays, provide fluoride treatment and the next minute he/she might need to counsel the patient in a friendly manner.

Learn How to Become a Doctor!

The ever-changing lifestyles of people are bringing a shift in dental hygiene demand. With the industry growing, the demand for dental hygienists, nurses, technicians in dentistry are increasing. If you wish to explore a divergent career path then call our Leverage Edu on 1800 572 000 and jumpstart your career!

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