Picking the Right Dental Hygienist School

HealthcareJune 09, 2014

If you are interested in working in the field of dental hygiene, it's important that you attend a dental hygienist school that has all the classes and training you need to succeed in this profession. Here are some of the things you should look for to make sure the school you pick is right for you.

The Program

You want to look for a program that prepares you to take the licensing exam that qualifies you to work as a dental hygienist. Besides classroom instruction, hands-on training in the field is necessary to learn how to master this career. Some of the duties you can expect to learn include examining teeth and gums as well as charting any oral diseases or problem areas of a patient's mouth. You will also learn how to take dental X-rays and apply sealants to teeth to prevent cavities. You will also need to be familiar with more complicated procedures such as filling cavities or even helping a dentist with periodontal procedures.

Cleaning Is Key

Your primary role as a dental hygienist is to properly clean a patient's teeth. This will include learning how to remove plaque and stains with special instruments and learning how to polish the teeth afterwards. Since some of your patients might be children, you will have to learn how to deal with youngsters who might be afraid to have their teeth cleaned — being able to keep them in the chair and relatively calm during a procedure is key! You may also have patients who have sensitive gums while you're trying to clean their teeth, so you'll have to learn how to be extra careful as well as compassionate with those folks. And what about those patients who haven't had their teeth cleaned in a long time? You'll need to learn to handle those situations, too.

Educating Patients

You will also play an important role in educating patients (both young and old) on how to maintain good oral health, including the proper way to brush and floss their teeth and gums. You'll also learn to remind them to come back for routine dental checkups so that little problems don't become bigger dental issues. When you're working as a dental hygienist you're not just cleaning teeth, you are also responsible for making sure your patient's overall dental health is in excellent shape. That's why it's extremely important that you pick a dental hygienist school that will not only give you the basics but will also help you excel and, ultimately, have a very rewarding and successful career.

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