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Dental Hygienist Requirements

dental hygienist requirements

What Are the Dental Hygienist Requirements?

There are several dental hygienist requirements for those looking to get into the field.  These requirements start with the type of education and training needed to get on the right road to a career in the oral health field.  Fulfilling these dental hygienist requirements can open up many career opportunities in clinics, dentist’s offices, educational institutions or health care facilities.

The sooner one knows he or she is interested in a career in the dental industry the better.  High school courses in biology, chemistry, health, math, psychology and speech are all good preparatory courses in this field.  Most dental hygiene programs prefer to enroll students who have had at least one year of college and some require two years if the student wishes to enter a baccalaureate program.  Students will also have to take liberal arts and basic science courses such as English, sociology, anatomy and chemistry before taking any clinical sciences.

Prospective hygienists must begin with the two years of training that combines classroom work with clinical practice so that students can learn the latest procedures and innovations in the field.  Furthermore, dental hygienists learn to teach patients proper oral healthcare to help prevent dental problems and disease.  They also teach patients the connection between nutrition and good dental health.

Clinical sciences can include courses such as dental materials and radiology.  After completing the program, hygienists can also pursue other interests in basic sciences, business administration, education, marketing and public health among other areas.  However, hygienists must be licensed in the state in which they intend to practice.  Each state has its own clinical exams but use a standard exam as its written portion.  The hygienist may then use the initials RDH to signify his or her position.

Other requirements will vary according to the state in which the hygienist practices.  Hygienists may perform many patient screening procedures from taking the pulse and blood pressure to screening for oral cancer among other duties.  Other tasks involve taking x-rays, applying fluorides and sealants to prevent cavities, removing hard and soft deposits from the teeth, making casts of the mouth and teeth and managing the office.