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How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Course Near Montgomery Alabama

Montgomery Alabama Dental Hygienist cleaning young child's teethSelecting the right dental hygienist college near Montgomery AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the school'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should 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 available.

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The Role of Dental Hygienists

Montgomery 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 Montgomery 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 Schooling and Licensing

How to become a dental hygienist depends on completing educational requirements, training and passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Dental hygienists receive their education through academic programs at community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools or universities. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete, with graduates receiving associate degrees. Receipt of this degree allows a hygienist to take licensure examinations (national and state or regional), become licensed and to work in a dental office. Dental school and university-based dental hygiene programs may offer baccalaureate and master's degrees, which generally require at least two years of further schooling. These additional degrees may be required for a career in teaching and/or research, as well as for clinical practice in school or public health programs. Dental hygienists are licensed by each state to provide dental hygiene care and patient education. Almost all states require that dental hygienists be graduates of Commission on Dental Education-accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. And, almost all states require candidates for licensure to obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (a comprehensive written examination) in addition to passing the state-authorized licensure examination.

Dental Hygienist Online Training

Montgomery Alabama Dental Hygienist removing tartar from young woman's teethSelecting an online dental hygienist college might be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Montgomery AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Schools

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Montgomery Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Montgomery AL employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Montgomery AL dental office that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Montgomery AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Montgomery AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Small? Ask the programs you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Montgomery 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 Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Montgomery AL area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Montgomery AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

More Info on How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Montgomery

Choose the Right Montgomery Dental Hygienist Training

Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Montgomery Alabama.



 

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