Find Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Ellsworth ME 04605

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Ellsworth 04605

dental assistant training in Ellsworth MEPicking the ideal dental hygienist college near Ellsworth ME is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Role of Dental Assistants

Ellsworth dental assistant helping dentist 04605Dental assistants are an important part of any Ellsworth dental office and can carry out a variety of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Maine dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, including:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Maine dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of a Dental Hygienist

Ellsworth dental hygienist treating patient in MaineWhen contrasting the job of a Ellsworth dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maine practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Instructing patients about oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant programs are available at Maine junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Ellsworth area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training

attending dental assistant school online in Ellsworth homeSelecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Ellsworth home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the ideal option for you.

Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask Maine dental colleges 04605When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Ellsworth area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Maine schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental program for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Ellsworth area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Ellsworth area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Ellsworth area dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Ellsworth dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges 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 dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Maine schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 04605 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Ellsworth at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.

Find the Right Dental College near Ellsworth ME

Choosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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