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How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene School Near Juneau Alaska

Juneau Alaska Dental Hygienist cleaning young child's teethPicking the ideal dental hygienist college near Juneau AK is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance 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 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.

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The Job of a Dental Hygienist

Juneau Alaska Dental Hygienist cleaning 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 Juneau Alaska 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 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

Juneau Alaska Dental Hygienist cleaning tartar from woman's teethChoosing an online dental hygienist college may be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind 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 available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Juneau AK home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical 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 proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.

Points to Ask Dental  Hygienist Programs

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Juneau Alaska, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Juneau AK employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Juneau AK dental office that specializes in dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way 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 create professional relationships in the Juneau AK dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Juneau AK dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Juneau AK dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Juneau AK area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Juneau AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required 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 illness, work or family issues.

Find Out How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Juneau

Choose the Best Juneau Dental Hygienist School

Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount 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 programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect 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 right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Juneau Alaska.



 

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