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How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene School Near Trussville Alabama

Trussville Alabama Dental Hygienist cleaning young child's teethChoosing the right dental hygienist college near Trussville AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including the school'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 accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

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The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Trussville Alabama Dental Hygienist applying fluoride 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.

Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs

Trussville Alabama Dental Hygienist removing plaque from young woman's teethSelecting an online dental hygienist program can be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Trussville AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.

Topics to Ask Dental  Hygienist Programs

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Trussville Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending 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 program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Trussville AL employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Trussville AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Trussville AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Trussville AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges 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 costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Trussville AL area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers 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 Trussville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Trussville

Choose the Best Trussville Dental Hygienist School

Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose 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 selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Trussville Alabama.



 

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