Top Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Belgrade ME 04917

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Belgrade 04917

dental assistant training in Belgrade MESelecting the right dental assistant school near Belgrade ME is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Function of Dental Assistants

Belgrade dental assistant helping dentist 04917Dental assistants are an essential part of any Belgrade dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Maine dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Maine dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of Dental Hygienists

Belgrade dental hygienist treating patient in MaineWhen contrasting the duties of a Belgrade dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Maine practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Instructing patients about oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Maine junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Belgrade area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Training

attending dental assistant school online in Belgrade homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Belgrade home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best choice for you.

Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Maine dental colleges 04917When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Belgrade area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Maine programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Belgrade area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Belgrade area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.

Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most Belgrade area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Belgrade dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Small? Check with the Maine schools you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 04917 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Belgrade at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Pick the Ideal Dental School near Belgrade ME

Selecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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