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How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene College Near Eloy Arizona

Eloy Arizona Dental Hygienist examining young boy's teethSelecting the right dental hygienist college near Eloy AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, such as the school's reputation and accreditation. 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 accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.

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The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Eloy Arizona 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 Training 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.

Online Dental Hygienist Schools

Eloy Arizona Dental Hygienist removing tartar from woman's teethEnrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Eloy AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.

Points to Ask Dental  Hygienist Schools

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Eloy Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, 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 a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Eloy AZ employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Eloy AZ dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get 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 build professional relationships in the Eloy AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance landing their first job. Ask 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 Eloy AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Smaller? Check with the schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Eloy AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending 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 public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Eloy AZ area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Eloy AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.

More Info on How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Eloy

Choose the Best Eloy Dental Hygienist School

Selecting the right dental hygienist course is imperative 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 a number of alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Eloy Arizona.



 

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