Dental hygienists are the backbone of any dental office and work to maintain the oral health of each patient to reduce the risk of a serious problem from occurring later in life. They routinely perform cleanings and work to educate patients on how to improve their oral care. For those who are looking to enter the profession, there are several benefits that come with choosing the career.
How to become a Dental Hygienist
Most people who become dental hygienists need an associates degree in dental hygiene through a dental program. The courses must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and often taken an average of three years to complete. To become accepted into a dental school, applicants need to take Dental Acceptance Test, which they can prepare for through courses that are taken in a dental hygiene program.
Those who want to increase their skill level and education can go on to earn a bachelor's degree, which is increasing in popularity and is often available online. Those who earn their bachelor's degree in the field often want to work in research and clinical practice outside of a dental office. Dental hygienists can also choose to earn their master's degree in dental hygiene, although there are a minimal amount of courses that are available. Dental hygienists who are considering earning their master's degree often want to teach educational health programs, land advanced research roles, and perform clinical practice within public health.
Those who practice also need to have a license in the state that they become employed in. Becoming licensed will require you to obtain a diploma from a CDA-accredited program, pass a state-level or regional clinical board examination, and pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, which is a written test. All three of the steps must be completed to become fully licensed to ensure that you can work as a registered dental hygienist.
Additional training is also available to ensure that you stay updated on the latest treatments that are available. This can allow you to treat patients who have special needs or learn more about the use of lasers in dental offices.