What Dental Hygienists Wish They Knew When They Were Students

HealthcareApril 30, 2022

May 31st is National Smile Day, a day devoted to smiles and kindness. For dental hygienists, smiling is an important part of the job. Hygienists help patients improve their dental health, and they get to enjoy a big grin from their patients when they finish cleaning their teeth. 

Not surprisingly, our graduates are proud of their accomplishments. But, looking back on their educational experience, many say there are things they wish they had known when they first enrolled in the program. 

Dental Hygiene School Is Challenging

While cleaning teeth sounds like a relatively straightforward job, there's much more to it than just scraping and polishing. Expect to spend a lot of time studying as well as refining your hands-on work, learning lab procedures, observing your instructors and then perfecting your skills during clinical phases of the approximately two-year long program. 

Feeling overwhelmed is normal but remind yourself that you applied to the program and were admitted to it for a reason. Remember that the job you pursue after graduation will be worth the effort and hard work you put into school. To help with studying and the stress that comes with a challenging program, many students find that it helps to partner with a mentor or another student who can be a resource as well as a sounding board. Another useful tip that many former students share is that it is important to stay as organized as possible and even put a studying schedule in place.

Ask for Help When You Need It

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you think everyone else in your class understood a concept. Chances are others may need more clarification, too. 

Also, make sure you take advantage of the wisdom and experience of your instructors by asking follow-up questions and taking any advice that they offer. Instructors are committed to helping students find success and they have a passion for helping shape competent new dental hygiene professionals. In short, they want to help you become the best hygienist you can. Remember, they’ve been in your shoes and can provide helpful strategies and words of wisdom that can help you get through school. 

The Mouth Is Complex

You may think teeth are pretty standard: white, square, and hard. But it’s not that simple. In your dental anatomy class, you’ll learn that teeth have curves, angles, and indents. You'll also understand that oral health impacts the entire body and vice versa. Some oral conditions can impact health in other area and there are some For example, high blood pressure affects the health of the mouth. 

Dental hygienists are more than teeth cleaners; they’re health advocates. You will play an essential role in your patients' overall health and well-being, probably more than you might have expected. Dental hygienists are essential members of the healthcare community. 

Becoming a dental hygienist is an important and rewarding role. You help improve the smiles of others. If you’re considering a career in dentistry, Fortis can help you get started by providing you with a quality education that can open the door to a rewarding career. Visit the Dental page on the Fortis website, or call (855) 436-7847 for more information or to schedule a tour at one of our campuses.