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How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene School Near Fountain Hills Arizona

Fountain Hills Arizona Dental Hygienist examining young child's teethChoosing the right dental hygienist college near Fountain Hills AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as 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 two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.

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The Function of Dental Hygienists

Fountain Hills Arizona 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 Fountain Hills 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.

Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs

Fountain Hills Arizona Dental Hygienist removing plaque from young woman's teethEnrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% 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 Fountain Hills AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed 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 provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental  Hygienist Schools

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills Arizona, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Fountain Hills AZ employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.

Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in offers adequate 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 Fountain Hills AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fountain Hills AZ dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Small? Ask the programs you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Fountain Hills AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Fountain Hills AZ area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Fountain Hills AZ in the evenings 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 addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

More Info on How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Fountain Hills

Choose the Right Fountain Hills Dental Hygienist School

Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your training 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter 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 addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills Arizona.



 

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