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Dental Hygienist Education



Dental hygienists work in a very technical and comprehensive environment where focus and passion for taking care of lives is a must. The State mandates that dental hygienists must be a product of formal education, having a certificate of dental hygiene or an associate’s degree on dental hygiene as the minimum requirement. They can also go for a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree if they see the need to.

Many schools in the United States, may it be vocational schools, community colleges, universities, or hospitals offer these dental hygienist education programs. Associate degree and certificate programs usually run for around two years, while bachelor and master’s degree programs can run for at least four years. Most students start off with a certificate or an associate degree, while seasoned dental hygienists take Bachelor of Science or Master of Science in Dental Hygiene in hopes to get deeper into the research and teaching career.

All dental hygiene programs included courses in the anatomy and physiology of the dental system, dental terminology, periodontics, microbiology, infections and pathology related to the dental system, laws and ethical concepts in the dental industry and the study of the different procedures performed by dental hygienists. Along the way, students will be familiar with the tools, instruments and machines used by the profession. They will also need to get familiar with the various chemicals such as anesthetics and anti-microbial agents. The duties of the dental hygienists can be different so part of the course is to train them to function in the offices, at the chairside and at the laboratory.

The main responsibility of dental hygienists is the promote good oral health, that includes providing health teachings about oral hygiene as well as directly intervening for the restoration of oral health. As such, students of the dental hygienists education will be trained for cleaning and polishing teeth, removing tartars and plaques and performing other preventive measures. Some schools also teach on removing sutures, although dental hygienists are not allowed to make suture lines of the soft and hard tissues.

The course also includes laboratory classes. These classes tackle the different laboratory duties of dental hygienists. Students will be taught how to make temporary casts of the mouth and teeth and also in making crowns. This can also be an area where students can handle radiological equipment such as x-rays, be able to learn how to make radio-graphs and be able to read them.

The course outline of the dental hygienist program is different from school to school. Some schools include other courses that can be useful for dental hygienists, such as computer works, office management, first aid, professional etiquette, and career development. These courses are not specific to the career, but can enable dental hygienists to function more efficiently on the field.