Average Dental Hygienist Salary in South Africa (2024)

The average Dental Hygienist Salary in South Africa is R18,245 per month. An entry-level Dental Hygienist earns a salary range of R12,325, a Mid-career level earns about R23,333, and a senior/experienced level earns R28,000 per month.

Average Dental Hygienist Salary in South Africa

Job Title Approximate Monthly Salary (ZAR)
Entry-Level Dental Hygienist 12,325
Mid-Career Dental Hygienist 23,333
Experienced Dental Hygienist 28,000

Types of Dental Hygienists and Their Functions in South Africa

Dental hygienists in South Africa play a crucial role in oral healthcare, contributing to preventive dental practices and overall patient well-being. There are several types of dental hygienists, each with specific functions tailored to address diverse aspects of oral health.

1. Clinical Dental Hygienists

Clinical dental hygienists are primarily involved in patient care. They perform oral assessments, conduct dental cleanings, and educate patients on proper oral hygiene practices. They aim to prevent and treat oral diseases, emphasizing the importance of regular dental check-ups.

2. Community Dental Hygienists

Focused on community outreach, these hygienists work beyond traditional clinical settings. They may conduct oral health education programs in schools, communities, or workplaces, promoting preventive measures and raising awareness about the importance of good oral hygiene.

3. Educational Dental Hygienists

Educational dental hygienists are involved in training future dental professionals. They work in academic institutions, teaching students the theoretical and practical aspects of dental hygiene. They also stay updated on advancements in the field to provide the latest knowledge to students.

4. Public Health Dental Hygienists

Public health dental hygienists contribute to population-based oral health initiatives. They design and implement public health programs, participate in community health assessments, and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to address oral health disparities at a broader level.

5. Research Dental Hygienists

Engaged in scientific inquiry, and research dental hygienists contribute to the advancement of dental knowledge. They may conduct studies on various oral health topics, investigate new treatment modalities, and contribute to evidence-based practices in the field of dental hygiene.

6. Administrative Dental Hygienists

Responsible for managing dental offices and clinics, administrative dental hygienists ensure the smooth operation of dental practices. Their tasks may include appointment scheduling, managing patient documents, and overseeing compliance with healthcare regulations.

In South Africa, these different types of dental hygienists work collaboratively to address the oral health needs of the population. The diversity in roles reflects the comprehensive approach taken to promote oral health awareness, preventive care, and ongoing research to enhance dental hygiene practices.

Factors Affecting Dental Hygienist Salary in South Africa

Several factors can affect the salary of dental hygienists in South Africa. Here are some of the key factors:

1. Experience

Experienced dental hygienists typically earn higher salaries. Those with several years in the field may command higher pay than recent graduates.

2. Location

Salaries can vary significantly based on the region or city. Urban areas tend to have higher living costs, which can translate to higher salaries.

3. Type of Practice

Working in a private dental clinic may offer different pay compared to public healthcare institutions or educational settings.

4. Education and Certification

Advanced certifications or specialized training can lead to higher pay. For instance, dental therapists who can perform a broader range of procedures may earn more.

5. Employer

Different employers, such as government health services, private practices, or educational institutions, might have varying salary scales.

6. Industry Demand

The demand for dental hygienists in a particular area can impact salaries. Areas with a shortage of oral healthcare professionals may offer higher pay to attract talent.

7. Union Representation

Unionized dental hygienists may negotiate for better pay and benefits, which can influence salaries.

8. Economic Factors

The overall economic conditions in the country can impact salary levels. Inflation, economic growth, and government policies can all play a role.

9. Additional Skills

Having additional skills or bilingual capabilities can sometimes result in salary bonuses or incentives.

10. Benefits and Perks

Some employers offer benefits like healthcare, retirement plans, or bonuses that can affect the overall compensation package.

11. Market Competition

The number of dental hygienists in the job market can influence salaries. A surplus of professionals can lead to lower pay, while a shortage can drive up salaries.

How to Become a Dental Hygienist in South Africa

To become a dental hygienist, you’ll need to follow a series of steps, which typically include education, training, and certification. Here’s a general overview of how to become a dental hygienist:

1. Educational Requirements

High School Diploma or Equivalent: Begin by completing your high school education with a strong emphasis on biology, chemistry, and mathematics.

2. Earn a Dental Hygiene Degree

Associate’s Degree: Many dental hygienists start with an Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene degree, which typically takes about two to three years to complete.
Bachelor’s Degree: Some dental hygienists pursue a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene for more advanced career opportunities or teaching positions. This usually takes four years.

3. Accredited Program

Ensure that the dental hygiene program you choose is accredited by the relevant dental hygiene accrediting body in your country. In the United States, it’s the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

4. Clinical Experience

During your program, you’ll gain practical experience by working in dental clinics under the supervision of licensed dentists and dental hygienists.

5. Licensing

After completing your education, you’ll need to obtain a dental hygiene license, which typically involves passing a written and clinical examination.

6. Continuing Education

Dental hygienists are often required to take continuing education courses to stay updated on the latest techniques and technologies in the field.

7. Optional Certification

While not always required, obtaining certification from a professional organization like the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) can enhance your credentials.

8. Job Search

Begin your job search. Dental hygienists can work in private dental practices, clinics, public health settings, and educational institutions.

9. Career Advancement

You can further your career by specializing in areas such as pediatric dentistry, periodontics, or orthodontics. Continuing education and experience can open doors to more advanced roles.

10. Ethical and Professional Standards

Adhere to ethical and professional standards in patient care, including maintaining patient confidentiality and providing high-quality dental hygiene services.



The average Dental Hygienist Salary in South Africa is R18,245 per month. Becoming a dental hygienist requires a structured path, including education, clinical training, and licensing. Prospective dental hygienists typically start with a high school diploma and then complete an accredited dental hygiene program, either at the associate’s or bachelor’s level.

Licensing exams are a crucial step, and continuing education is often necessary to stay updated in the field. While optional, professional certification can boost credentials. Career opportunities abound in various dental settings. Committed adherence to ethical standards and a focus on patient care are paramount in this profession, where oral health plays a critical role in overall well-being.