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A dental hygienist woks along with a dentist. Their work primary consists of assisting the dentist. They do dental cleanings on their own, for example, but they also assist with more complex dental situations like root canals and fillings.
A dental hygienist is very different than a dental assistant. They usually do not assist the dentist, they usually treat their own patients. First off you need a license to become a dental hygienist. In Maine a Dental Hygienist can own their own practice, they can also work under Public Health Supervision in the schools/nursing homes/pediatrician's offices so forth.