It is not uncommon for dental hygienists to pursue a career as a dentist. After all, the education and training required to become a dental hygienist provides an excellent foundation for the work that dentists do. To make the transition, hygienists must first obtain a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene and then apply for a four-year doctoral program to earn either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). With additional qualifications and training, it may be possible to move from direct patient care to teaching the next generation of dental hygiene or dental therapy students.
Research roles are also available.