How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist School Near Mountain Brook Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Mountain Brook AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the college's reputation and accreditation. 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 finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Role of Dental Hygienists
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 Mountain Brook 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 Education 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 Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college might be a viable option 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 provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Mountain Brook AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Mountain Brook Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Mountain Brook AL employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Mountain Brook AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Mountain Brook AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Mountain Brook AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Mountain Brook AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Mountain Brook AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Mountain Brook Dental Hygienist School
Picking the right dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Mountain Brook Alabama.