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How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Foley Alabama

Foley Alabama Dental Hygienist cleaning young boy's teethSelecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Foley AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.

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The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Foley Alabama Dental Hygienist applying fluoride young woman's teeth

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 Foley 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 Licensing

Dental 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.

Dental Hygienist Online Schools

Foley Alabama Dental Hygienist removing tartar from woman's teethEnrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Foley AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental  Hygienist Colleges

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Foley Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Foley AL employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Foley AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Foley AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Foley AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Foley AL area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Foley AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.

Learn How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Foley

Pick the Right Foley Dental Hygienist Program

Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Foley Alabama.



 

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