Search For Dental Assistant Training | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Sorrento ME 04677

How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Sorrento 04677

dental assistant training in Sorrento MEChoosing the right dental hygienist school near Sorrento ME is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.

The Role of a Dental Assistant

Sorrento dental assistant helping dentist 04677Dental assistants are an essential component of any Sorrento dental office and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Maine dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:

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

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Maine dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of Dental Hygienists

Sorrento dental hygienist treating patient in MaineWhen contrasting the job of a Sorrento dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maine practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Teaching patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Maine community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Sorrento area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Sorrento homeChoosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Sorrento home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental college is the ideal choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges

Questions to ask Maine dental colleges 04677When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Sorrento area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Maine programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order 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 training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Sorrento area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect 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 enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Sorrento 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 school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many Sorrento area dental schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Sorrento dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs 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 refer their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Maine programs you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04677 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Sorrento at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Find the Right Dental School near Sorrento ME

Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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