Top Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Granger MO 63442

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Granger 63442

dental assistant training in Granger MOPicking the ideal dental hygienist college near Granger MO is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first 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 money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs 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 available.

The Job of Dental Assistants

Granger dental assistant helping dentist 63442Dental assistants are an integral component of any Granger dental office and can carry out a myriad of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Missouri dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:

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

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Missouri dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need 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) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of Dental Hygienists

Granger dental hygienist treating patient in MissouriWhen contrasting the job of a Granger dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Missouri practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Educating patients regarding oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

In order to be licensed 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 licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at Missouri junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Granger area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Granger homeSelecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Granger home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Missouri dental colleges 63442Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Granger area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Missouri programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Granger area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Granger area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.

Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most Granger area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Granger dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Small? Check with the Missouri programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 63442 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Granger at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.

Pick the Right Dental School near Granger MO

Picking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose 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 start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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