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How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene Program Near Foley Alabama

Foley Alabama Dental Hygienist examining young child's teethSelecting the right dental hygienist school near Foley AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically 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 more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.

It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below

The Function of Dental Hygienists

Foley Alabama Dental Hygienist applying fluoride young woman's teeth

Dental hygienists provide preventative oral care under a dentist's supervision. They clean patients' teeth and examine their mouths for signs of damage, gingivitis, and other diseases. Hygienists teach patients how to maintain good oral health. They also schedule appointments and keep records and may take and develop X-rays. Their scope of practice, which is the list of services they are legally allowed to deliver, differs according to the regulations of the state in which they practice. Dental hygienists generally are required to perform duties that include the following:

  • Complete a preliminary exam on each new dental service patient
  • Clean and remove stains, plaque, and tartar from teeth
  • Apply fluorides and sealants for tooth protection
  • Take dental x-rays and develop them
  • Administer local anesthetics to patients
  • Document treatment plans and care performed on patients
  • Examine each patient's oral health and communicate findings to dentists
  • Educate patients on how to care for their teeth with good oral hygiene, including proper brushing and flossing
Dental hygienists must also use several tools as part of their job. This includes hand, power, and ultrasonic tools for cleaning and polishing teeth, and x-ray machines for taking patient x-rays to check for issues with teeth and jaws.

Dental Hygienist Schooling 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.

Online Dental Hygienist Schools

Foley Alabama Dental Hygienist removing tartar from woman's teethEnrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Foley AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal option for you.

Points to Ask Dental  Hygienist Schools

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 opening of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Foley AL employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Foley AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive 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 form professional relationships in the Foley AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Foley AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Foley AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Foley AL area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Foley AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required 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 because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Learn How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Foley

Choose the Right Foley Dental Hygienist Training

Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Foley Alabama.



 

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