What are the top Dental Hygienist schools?

DentalPost takes a look at the benefits, career prospects, and things to consider when choosing a Dental Hygienist school.

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Dental hygienist is among the most beneficial professions in the health and medical sector. The job offers preventive and educational services that help maintain excellent oral health, which is directly linked to people’s overall health and the strength of their immune system.

For this reason, access to the best and most reputable dental hygienist programs or schools will be imperative This article will provide all the details you will need to know concerning the position, and it will help you determine if you want to become a hygienist.

Services carried out by a registered dental hygienist.

To begin with, understand what the role of a dental hygienist is. It will also be vital to confirm your preferred program can adequately handle all the responsibilities and duties of a dental hygienist.

Click here for a list of accredited dental hygiene programs

In general, the following are the patient care services carried out by a hygienist in a general dental office.

  • Remove tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
  • Apply sealants and fluorides for teeth protection
  • Take develop dental x-rays
  • Assess a patient’s oral health and report results to a dentist
  • Document patient care and treatment plans
  • Teach patients about optimum home dental care

It will be vital to note that the duties of a registered dental hygienist will vary depending on the state and settings of the work environment tor dental office. This also includes the extent to which the dentist must supervise the hygienist.

To help you understand more, let’s shed some light on what your work environment as a dental hygienist will look like.

Working environment

The US Bureau of labor statistics estimates that around 94% of dental hygienists work in dentists' offices. Many will work part-time in a practice, which makes it possible for them to work for multiple dentists at the same time.

The other 6% are likely to work in physicians and government offices, and could work full time in those offices.

The working environment requires the hygienists to wear protective gear while treating patients.

Therefore, as a dental hygienist, expect to wear safety glasses, surgical masks, gloves and other protective gear, to ensure your protection against any infectious diseases.

As employees, dental hygienists are eligible for paid time off and other benefits, which vary from practice to practice.

Do you need a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene?

You will need an associate degree or preferably a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree may not be required unless you are looking to conduct research, teach, or perhaps conduct a clinical practice in either public or school health programs.

It will be very crucial to enroll in a good school and program for the best possible results. This will be in addition to the quality of your bachelor's degree. Generally, you can find dental hygiene programs in most community colleges, schools and universities.

These programs will typically take three years to complete. Within the three years, expect to study anatomy, medical ethics and periodontics, which should include laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction.

To become a Registered Dental Hygienist, or RDH, you will also be required to pass a licensing exam in the state you intend to practice in.

There are a few essential skills you will need to excel and provide the optimal patient experience. Let’s go through them.

Critical thinking – You will be required to assess and evaluate patients continually. You must, therefore, have good critical thinking skills to gather and analyze the information presented to you.

Communication skills – This is a vital skill in the field. As a dental hygienist, you will be required to share correct information with dentists and patients. Proper oral hygiene is critical and therefore you must be able to communicate the right knowledge effectively.

Interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills are also among the very crucial skills you will need. As a dental hygienist, you must be considerate and empathetic when working with patients.

You must also be able to devise and implement dental health plans to achieve the best patient results. Above all, you must be a significant team player in all activities you are involved in.

Job position outlook:

On average, the demand for the dental hygienist position will grow by 11 percent by the year 2028.

This is in part because of growing population. But also because the demand for high quality dental hygienists will increase as the population ages. In other words, the need to maintain and treat patients’ teeth will continue, driving demand for the dental hygienist full time position.

Although the job postings will vary depending on your geographical location, the job is often very competitive, and assessed according to the years of experience.

Useful associations for dental hygienists

There are associations that support you as a registered dental hygienist. These associations may also certify dental hygienists as qualified to carry out their duties to take care of patients' teeth.

There are two leading associations, the ADHA and the ADA.

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association, ADHA, is the largest association, representing over 180,000 registered dental hygienists.

This association works to support any registered dental hygienist throughout their career and professional path. At every stage of your job, this dental group will help you become the best by expanding opportunities and providing the latest training and information.

This association connects you with hygienists and educators, as well as the latest news and research in the industry.

The American Dental Association, ADA, is a strong advocate for dental professionals, and for public health. They exist to support the profession of dentistry and to assist its members in advancing their skills and knowledge of dental care.

As a member, you are offered benefits such as help with provider issues and the latest clinical information you might need.

Currently, the association has over 163,000 registered dental hygienists as members.

Conclusion

If you are passionate about dental hygiene, DentalPost will be here to help you once you have your degree and license to find the ideal position in the dental community.

Dental hygiene can be very lucrative profession but can be very competitive as well. But help is there with DentalPost every step of the way.