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How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist School Near Chandler Arizona

Chandler Arizona Dental Hygienist cleaning young child's teethPicking the right dental hygienist college near Chandler AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, 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 two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

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The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Chandler Arizona Dental Hygienist applying fluoride 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 Chandler Arizona 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

Chandler Arizona Dental Hygienist removing plaque from woman's teethChoosing an online dental hygienist school may be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind 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 provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Chandler AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.

Questions to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Colleges

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Chandler AZ employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.

Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Chandler AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Chandler AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Chandler AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Chandler AZ area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Chandler AZ 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 protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.

Learn How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Chandler

Pick the Best Chandler Dental Hygienist Program

Selecting the right dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona.



 

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