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How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program Near New River Arizona

New River Arizona Dental Hygienist examining young boy's teethSelecting the right dental hygienist college near New River AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, including 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 accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

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The Duties of a Dental Hygienist

New River Arizona Dental Hygienist applying fluoride 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 New River 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 Schools

New River Arizona Dental Hygienist removing tartar from young woman's teethEnrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your New River AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.

Issues to Ask Dental  Hygienist Programs

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in New River Arizona, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. New River AZ employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.

Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local New River AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the New River AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the New River AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the New River AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the New River AZ area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near New River AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Learn How to Become a Dental Hygienist in New River

Choose the Right New River Dental Hygienist Program

Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining 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 in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in New River Arizona.



 

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