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Can a DUI Stop Me from Being a Dental Hygienist?


“Dental hygienists are part of a dental care team that includes dentists, dental assistants, and dental technicians working together to prevent and control gum disease and the development of tooth decay,” according to the State of California Development Department.

Data from the Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2018, reveals that dental hygienists can earn a good living. On the low end, dental hygienists in California earn $88,183 per year, while on the high end they can earn up to $116,444 – not bad for a year’s salary. They tend to get great benefits as well, such as paid vacation, sick leave, and medical and dental insurance, especially when they’re employed full-time. Other benefits often include retirement plans and discounted dental work.

Clearly, being a dental hygienist can be a financially rewarding occupation, but like all professional license holders, a dental hygienist license can be subject to disciplinary action, especially when the dental hygienist commits a crime, including driving under the influence (DUI). If you’re facing DUI charges and you’re currently a dental hygienist or you plan to be one in the future, read on to learn how a California DUI can lead to disciplinary action.


There are dozens of different types of professional licenses in California. While virtually any professional license can be denied or revoked due to a criminal conviction, those who work in the medical field, teaching, insurance, and real estate are more likely to be disciplined if they are convicted of DUI. These industries in particular frown upon drug and alcohol-related convictions, and DUI is no exception.

According to the Dental Hygiene Committee of California“major violations” that can subject a license holder to disciplinary action include but are not limited to:

  • Treating a patient while the license holder is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Committing a drug or alcohol-related offense that violates: 1) state law, 2) federal law, or 3) the Business and Professions Code. DUI is a state offense under Section 23152 of the California Vehicle Code.
  • Failing to submit to drug or alcohol testing.
  • Being tested and having a positive test result for one of the banned substances.
  • Attempting to cheat a drug or alcohol test.

“If a licensee commits a major violation, the Committee shall automatically suspend the licensee’s license and refer the matter for disciplinary action or other action as determined by the Committee,” according to the Dental Hygiene Committee.

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