Top Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Twin Lakes MN 56089

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Twin Lakes 56089

dental assistant training in Twin Lakes MNChoosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Twin Lakes MN is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Duties of Dental Assistants

Twin Lakes dental assistant helping dentist 56089Dental assistants are an integral component of any Twin Lakes dental practice and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Minnesota dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, including:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

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

The Job of Dental Hygienists

Twin Lakes dental hygienist treating patient in MinnesotaWhen contrasting the job of a Twin Lakes dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Minnesota practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When 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 Hygienist and Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Minnesota junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to have 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Twin Lakes area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Classes

attending dental assistant school online in Twin Lakes homeSelecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Twin Lakes 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 obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. 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 needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal choice for you.

Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Minnesota dental colleges 56089Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Twin Lakes area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Minnesota colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Twin Lakes area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you choose has 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. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Twin Lakes area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of Twin Lakes area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in offers 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, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Twin Lakes dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high 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? Ask the Minnesota colleges you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 56089 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Twin Lakes in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, 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 work, illness or family issues.

Enroll in the Best Dental Program near Twin Lakes MN

Selecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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