Not for the first time in his career, Hewitt, the 2002 champion, raged at a succession of line calls, was dogged by a series of foot faults and such was his indignation that he was accused of "bitching" by Dent in the fourth set.
Umpire Enric Molina had over-ruled a call in the fifth game and then corrected himself causing Dent to plead with the official not to alter his decision because of Hewitt’s complaining.
"If Hewitt starts complaining and gets the calls, it’s unfair to other players. The ball was out of my reach but the umpire didn’t change his call until Hewitt complained.
"I don’t know if the umpire was intimidated by Hewitt. It’s his personality, he gets fired up, he’s yelling and it can be intimidating."
Hewitt claimed that he didn’t believe his arguing influenced umpires.
"I don’t think it puts pressure on umpires, it’s not a factor," said Hewitt.
"I only questioned a couple of calls today. Taylor questioned calls today as well, it’s the same at both ends."
The Australian, still bristling from being seeded three and not two, raced into a 4-0 lead against a shell-shocked Dent who had to battle four break points to avoid slipping 5-0 down.
The 24-year-old American rallied to break in the eighth game but Hewitt wrapped up the opener after 36 minutes with a thunderous, running, down-the-line backhand which left Dent stranded.
Hewitt, who beat Dent in five sets in the second round here in 2001, was quickly in charge in the second set breaking to love in the third game.
The fiery Australian picked up a warning for verbal abuse in the sixth game after furiously debating two line calls but he turned his anger to good use by fighting off three break points to open a 4-2 lead.
Hewitt took the second set 6-4 after 84 minutes on court on his sixth set point.
Despite taking his double fault count to 11 in the 11th game of the third set, Dent was making a match of it without seriously threatening the Hewitt service.
In a see-saw tiebreak, Dent bravely saved two match points and hit back to take the set with a powerful service winner after 2hr 24min on Centre Court.
Hewitt fought off two break points in the opening game of the fourth set and he made his opponent pay for the lapse when he put in two poor volleys to hand the Australian an early 2-0 lead.
Back came Dent, however, with a break back to love as Hewitt served up his worst game of the tie.
An increasingly petulant Hewitt fumed at another overrule by Molina which prompted Dent to complain about his opponent’s "bitching".
But the row unsettled the American more as Hewitt reeled off the last three games to take the set and the match after 3hr 01min.