Dental Hygienist Salary: Factors and Trends - Tempfind
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Demystifying Dental Hygienist Salary: What to Expect?

Demystifying Dental Hygienist Salary: What to Expect?

August 28, 2023 | by Tempfind Research | For Dental Professionals
A dental hygienist is a professional who specializes in the prevention and treatment of oral health issues. They work with dental practitioners and other healthcare professionals. You may wonder how much do dental hygienists make in Canada. In this article, we will examine the factors that influence the dental hygienist’s salary and gain a better understanding of the field.

Factors Affecting RDH Salary

Full-time vs. Part-time

According to data from the largest job search website,, the average rdh salary in 2023 is $45.37 per hour. However, it’s essential to note that the dental hygienist’s hourly rate may not directly translate to your earnings for a full-time workday. The remuneration can range depending on the type of workplace you are employed in. For example, if you work in a private clinic, you may enjoy a more flexible schedule with the option to choose your working hours. On the other hand, in a public institution, you might have a more rigid schedule and a fixed number of working hours.

Temporary Employment Benefits

Another way to increase your income is by taking up dental temp jobs. This involves filling in for other professionals when they are away for any reason. There are several career and financial benefits of being a temp hygienist:

  • Dental hygienist wages may be higher since you’ll be meeting an urgent demand.
  • You can expand your professional network and become aware of new job opportunities.
  • You can enhance your experience and skills by working in various settings and with diverse patients.
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Demand and Supply of Dental Hygienist

The demand for dental hygienist services is contingent on several factors, including the size of the population, income levels, insurance accessibility, and awareness of oral health. Conversely, the supply of these services is influenced by the number of dental hygienist graduates, competition among clinics, and professional regulations. In general, when the demand exceeds the supply, resulting in a shortage of dental hygienists, it leads to higher wages for professionals in this field.

Demystifying Dental Hygienist Salary: What to Expect?

Geographic Location and Cost of Living

Different provinces and territories in Canada exhibit varying levels of wages and living costs for dental hygienists. For instance, data from indicates that the average dental hygiene salary is highest in Alberta, where it amounts to $56.90 per hour, and lowest in Quebec, where it stands at $36.27 per hour.

However, when evaluating job opportunities, it is imperative to consider the cost of living in each region. This includes factors such as housing prices, food expenses, transportation, and taxes. Even if a province offers a higher salary, the overall cost of living may be significantly higher, reducing the potential for saving and financial stability.

On the other hand, regions with lower salaries might still be financially advantageous due to a lower cost of living, allowing for greater savings and a potentially more comfortable lifestyle. Therefore, to make an informed decision about your financial well-being, it is essential to assess both the offered salary and the overall cost of living in a specific location when considering job opportunities as a temp dental hygienist.

Level of Experience and Education

As a general rule, the more experience you have in the field, the higher your dental hygienist income is likely to be. Because as you gain more experience, you acquire additional skills, and knowledge, and build trust with your employers and patients. Moreover, a higher level of education can also lead to a higher earning potential. Advanced education allows you to take on more complex and responsible tasks, such as diagnostics, treatment, and consultation.

In Canada, dental hygienists have access to various educational programs, with durations ranging from two to four years. Here is a list of Canadian colleges and universities providing courses and diplomas for registered dental hygienists:

  • St. Clair College: Offers a three-year advanced diploma program in dental hygiene, commencing in September.
  • Dalhousie University: Provides a bachelor’s degree program in dental hygiene.
  • University of Manitoba: Presents a bachelor’s degree program in dental hygiene science.
  • University of Alberta: Features a bachelor’s degree program in dental hygiene science.
  • Toronto College of Dental Hygiene & Auxiliaries: Offers a diploma program in dental hygiene.
  • Vancouver Island University: Provides a diploma program in dental hygiene.

By continuously investing in your education and gaining experience, you can not only enhance your professional skills but also increase your chances of better career opportunities and higher compensation. This commitment to growth and development can open doors to more rewarding prospects within the dental hygiene profession.

Understanding Dental Hygienist Salary by Provinces

As you are aware, the salary of a dental hygienist can indeed vary significantly due to various factors, with one such influential factor being the region in which they practice. Now, let’s delve into the regional disparities and gain insight into their underlying causes, including an exploration of dental hygienist pay in different areas.

The Factors Influencing Regional Variances

Demystifying Dental Hygienist Salary: What to Expect?

There are several factors that can account for the disparity in the salary of a dental hygienist across different regions. Some of these factors are directly linked to the region’s economy and demographics:

  • Demand and Supply for Dental Hygienist Services: In certain regions, there may be a higher or lower number of patients requiring preventive and treatment dental care. Consequently, this demand-supply balance can influence the salary levels of dental hygienists.
  • Cost of Living and Taxes: The cost of living and tax rates prevailing in a specific region can significantly impact the salary of a dental hygienist. Regions with elevated expenses for housing, food, transportation, and other necessities might offer higher compensation to offset the increased cost of living.

Variations in employment regulations and labor laws can influence dental hygienist pay in different regions. Some areas may have minimum wage requirements or collective bargaining agreements that impact salary structures.

Comparing Regional Salary Ranges

To gain insight into how much dental hygienists make across different regions in Canada, let’s analyze data from various sources:

  • Alberta: $56.90.
  • British Columbia: $53.73.
  • Manitoba: $44.46.
  • New Brunswick: $37.56.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: $43.59.
  • Nova Scotia: $37.56.
  • Ontario: $45.
  • Prince Edward Island: $39.12.
  • Quebec: $36.27.
  • Saskatchewan: $51.78.
  • Northwest Territories: $43.59.
  • Nunavut: $36.34.

Broadly speaking, it can be observed that the salary of a dental hygienist tends to be higher in the western provinces, such as Alberta and British Columbia, and comparatively lower in the eastern provinces.

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Future Trends and Opportunities in Dental Hygienist Salary

Emerging Trends in Dental Hygiene and Their Impact on Salaries

Demystifying Dental Hygienist Salary: What to Expect?

There are several factors that contribute to an increased demand for dental hygienist services and have a significant impact on what dental hygienists make:

  • A desire to improve quality of life and overall health. There is a growing focus on enhancing the well-being and general health of the population. Recognizing the significance of oral health in overall health, individuals are seeking preventive dental care and services from dental hygienists to improve their quality of life.
  • Increased awareness of the link between oral health and general health. As awareness spreads about the connection between oral health and overall health, people are becoming more conscious of the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene. Dental hygienists, with their expertise in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and patient education, are playing an active role in addressing these concerns.

By actively participating in various aspects of oral health, dental hygienists are elevating the value and recognition of their profession. This heightened appreciation can have a positive impact on their salary, reflecting the increased demand for their specialized services.

Advancements in Technology

Advancements in technology open up new ways for dental hygienists to discover and secure well-paying job opportunities. For instance, they can take advantage of:

  • Applications connecting dental hygienists with employers.
  • Services offering job opportunities in various facilities.
  • Websites displaying region-specific average hourly wages.

Information technology plays a vital role in swiftly identifying both temporary and permanent job opportunities, streamlining the job search process for dental hygienists. This technological integration brings greater convenience and efficiency to their career pursuits.

Exploring New Opportunities for Higher Earnings

Demystifying Dental Hygienist Salary: What to Expect?

Dental hygienists can explore several strategies to enhance their income and pursue new opportunities. Some of these strategies include:

  1. Obtaining additional qualifications or specializations. Dental hygienists can consider acquiring those in specific areas of dental hygiene, such as orthodontics, implantology, or periodontology.
  2. Temporary contracts with higher hourly rates. Dental hygienists can opt for temporary jobs that offer higher hourly rates for urgent or short-term assignments. These contracts can provide an opportunity to earn a more competitive dental assistant hygienist salary and gain diverse work experience.
  3. Employment in sectors with better working conditions or compensation. Exploring job opportunities in sectors that provide more favorable working conditions or compensation can be beneficial. Sectors like private clinics, government institutions, or research centers may offer improved benefits and salary packages.

Register with Tempfind and create your professional profile to be exposed to a ton of temporary job opportunities.

By implementing these strategies, dental hygienists can proactively seek growth in their career and financial prospects, aligning their skills and aspirations with the best-suited opportunities available.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average annual salary of a dental hygienist?

According to various sources, the average annual salary of a dental hygienist in Canada is approximately $96,471, which equates to around $47.15 per hour. So, how much do dental hygienists make a year? It’s important to consider that this salary figure can vary significantly based on factors such as the province of employment, level of experience, and the specific employer.

How can I control my pay as a temp dental hygienist?

You can effectively manage your salary by employing various strategies. For instance:

  • Conduct thorough market research to determine the average hourly rates for dental hygienists in your region and sector.
  • Engage in negotiations with your employer to establish an appropriate hourly rate, considering factors like your experience, qualifications, responsibilities, and working conditions.
  • Make use of different applications, services, and websites that can aid you in finding temporary jobs offering higher remuneration, such as Tempfind.

How can I calculate the median wage of dental hygienists?

To calculate the median salary of dental hygienists, follow these steps:

  1. Collect data on dental hygienist salaries from various sources, such as Job Bank and Indeed.
  2. Arrange the data in either ascending or descending order based on the salaries.
  3. Determine the middle value in the sorted list. If there is an even number of elements, calculate the arithmetic mean of the two middle values.

Should I request a higher wage as a temp dental hygienist?

This depends on various factors, such as your experience, qualifications, responsibilities, working conditions, and the market situation. In some cases, you may be able to request a higher salary as a temporary dental hygienist if:

  • You work on an urgent or non-standard schedule, such as weekends, holidays, or nights.
  • You work in a remote or hard-to-reach region where there is a shortage of dental hygienists.
  • You specialize in a complex area of dental hygiene, such as orthodontics, implantology, periodontics, etc.
  • You work with particularly vulnerable or complex patients, such as children, elderly individuals, people with special needs, etc.

What factors should I consider when determining my hourly rate?

When determining the hourly rate for a dental hygienist, several factors should be taken into account, such as:

  • Experience, qualifications, and education: The greater your experience and qualifications in the field of dental hygiene, the higher your earning potential.
  • Up-to-date certificates and licenses to practice in your region are also crucial.
  • Responsibilities and working conditions: The more diverse and complex tasks you handle as part of your job, the more you can command for your work.
  • Market situation and competition: The demand for dental hygienist services in your region and sector will influence your potential earnings. Higher demand may allow you to charge more for your services.
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