How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene School Near Anniston Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Anniston AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
A dental hygienist cleans teeth, examines patients for oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provides other preventative dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Almost all Anniston Alabama dental hygienists work in dental offices and work closely with dentists and dental assistants. A dental hygienist uses many types of tools to do their job. They clean and polish teeth with both hand and powered tools, as well as ultrasonic devices. In some cases, hygienists remove stains with an air polishing device, which sprays a combination of air, water, and baking soda. They polish teeth with a powered tool that works like an automatic toothbrush, and use x-ray machines to take pictures to check for tooth or jaw problems. Some other tasks of a dental hygienist include:
- Removing tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
- Applying sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth
- Taking and developing dental x-rays
- Keeping track of patient care and treatment plans
- Teaching patients oral hygiene, such as how to brush and floss correctly
Dental hygienists help patients develop and keep good oral health. They may explain the relationship between diet and oral health. They also may give advice to patients on how to select toothbrushes and other oral-care devices.
Dental Hygienist Training and LicensingDental hygienists typically need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in dental hygiene also are available, but are less common. A bachelor's or master's degree usually is required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs. Dental hygiene programs are commonly found in community colleges, technical schools, and universities. In 2017, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, part of the American Dental Association, accredited more than 300 dental hygiene programs. Programs typically take 2 to 3 years to complete, and offer laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction. Areas of study include physiology, nutrition, radiography, pathology, medical ethics, anatomy, patient management, and periodontics, which is the study of gum disease. Every state requires dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. In most states, a degree from an accredited dental hygiene program and passing grades on written and clinical examinations are required for licensure. To maintain licensure, hygienists must complete continuing education requirements. For specific requirements, contact your state's Board of Dental Examiners.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Anniston AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Anniston AL employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Anniston AL dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Anniston AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Anniston AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Anniston AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Anniston AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Anniston AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Anniston Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama.