How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near North Haven 04853
Selecting the right dental hygienist training near North Haven ME is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any North Haven dental office and can perform a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Maine dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Maine dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a North Haven dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, 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 an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Maine community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with North Haven area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a great option for obtaining 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 desktop computer in the comfort of your North Haven home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing North Haven area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Maine programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. North Haven area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most North Haven area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many North Haven area dental programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in offers sufficient 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, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real North Haven dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Maine schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04853 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near North Haven at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Best Dental Program near North Haven MEPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 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 mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented 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 assistant or hygienist.