Top Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Waterboro ME 04087

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Waterboro 04087

dental assistant training in Waterboro MEPicking the right dental assistant training near Waterboro ME is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the college’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 usually takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Function of a Dental Assistant

Waterboro dental assistant helping dentist 04087Dental assistants are an integral component of any Waterboro dental office and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Maine dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • 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 consult with the Maine dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of a Dental Hygienist

Waterboro dental hygienist treating patient in MaineWhen contrasting the duties of a Waterboro dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maine practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

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

To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant programs are provided at Maine junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to have 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 trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Waterboro area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Colleges

attending dental assistant school online in Waterboro homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a great option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% 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 Waterboro home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal option for you.

What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask Maine dental colleges 04087After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Waterboro area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Maine programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right 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 intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order 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 comprehensive and of the highest quality. Waterboro area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.

Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Waterboro area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep 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 strong accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 college for you.

Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many Waterboro area dental programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Waterboro 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 look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Maine programs you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 04087 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Waterboro at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.

Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Waterboro ME

Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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