A career as a dental hygienist is rewarding. The American Dental Education Association has ranked the field as one of the best in the country. The role of a dental hygienist offers academic and clinical training while promoting oral health. A dental therapist is an important member of the healthcare team, collaborating with a dentist to improve a patient’s quality of life.
A career as a dental hygienist requires a high level of training and education. To become a dental hygienist, applicants must be licensed in their state. The requirements for licensure vary from state to state, but typically require an associate’s degree or higher. Some dental hygiene schools require entrance examinations. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree, for example, will earn you more money.
To become a dental hygienist, you need to complete an associate’s degree program. This degree is commonly earned at technical schools or community colleges. The program is typically two years long and includes clinical practice. Students should complete eight to 12 hours of hands-on practice each week during their first year. In their second year, they should have between sixteen to twenty-four hours of hands-on practice.
After graduation, you will need to take a state board exam. These exams are a combination of oral and written exams. The examinations are scored by other clinicians. Most programs guide you through the entire process, but if you plan to practice in more than one state or want to move outside your state, you will need to do your own research. You can also research licensing laws to practice as a dental hygienist.
In addition to dental hygiene, a dental hygienist can provide education to patients. For example, they can provide information on diet and oral health, or suggest oral hygiene tools that are better for patients. A dental hygienist will typically need an Associate’s degree, and may have a specialty in oral surgery. Many aspiring specializing in this field also pursue further education, including an advanced degree.
A dental hygienist’s role is essential to maintaining overall dental health. In addition to examining and cleaning teeth, a dental hygienist also performs a variety of other duties. For instance, a dentist can apply topical fluoride to help prevent tooth decay. Another dental hygienist will review your oral health and explain the importance of regular home care.
In addition to assisting in dental treatment, a dental hygienist will likely assist in the cleaning and care of children. A pediatric dental hygienist will work with dentists, while a pediatric dental hygienists typically see one patient at a time. A hygiene assistant can take X-rays and set up the hygiene area. They will also assist in setting up the exam.