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How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist Program Near New River Arizona

New River Arizona Dental Hygienist examining young child's teethSelecting the ideal dental hygienist program near New River AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing 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 important issues to consider as well, including the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing 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

New River Arizona Dental Hygienist applying fluoride young 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 Education and Licensing

How to become a dental hygienist depends on completing educational requirements, training and passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Dental hygienists receive their education through academic programs at community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools or universities. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete, with graduates receiving associate degrees. Receipt of this degree allows a hygienist to take licensure examinations (national and state or regional), become licensed and to work in a dental office. Dental school and university-based dental hygiene programs may offer baccalaureate and master's degrees, which generally require at least two years of further schooling. These additional degrees may be required for a career in teaching and/or research, as well as for clinical practice in school or public health programs. Dental hygienists are licensed by each state to provide dental hygiene care and patient education. Almost all states require that dental hygienists be graduates of Commission on Dental Education-accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. And, almost all states require candidates for licensure to obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (a comprehensive written examination) in addition to passing the state-authorized licensure examination.

Dental Hygienist Online Classes

New River Arizona Dental Hygienist removing plaque from young woman's teethEnrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a good alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your New River AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.

Points to Ask Dental  Hygienist Colleges

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in New River Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. New River AZ employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local New River AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the New River AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the New River AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the New River AZ area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near New River AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Find Out How to Become a Dental Hygienist in New River

Pick the Best New River Dental Hygienist Training

Picking the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend 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 best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in New River Arizona.



 

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