Top Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Lincolnville Center ME 04850

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Lincolnville Center 04850

dental assistant training in Lincolnville Center MEPicking the right dental hygienist college near Lincolnville Center ME is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving 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 one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually 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 cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.

The Job of a Dental Assistant

Lincolnville Center dental assistant helping dentist 04850Dental assistants are an important part of any Lincolnville Center dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Maine dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Maine dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of Dental Hygienists

Lincolnville Center dental hygienist treating patient in MaineWhen contrasting the role of a Lincolnville Center dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maine practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

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

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

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant programs are provided at Maine community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Lincolnville Center area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Training

attending dental assistant school online in Lincolnville Center homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Lincolnville Center home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the best option for you.

Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask Maine dental colleges 04850Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Lincolnville Center area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Maine programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lincolnville Center area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Lincolnville Center area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Lincolnville Center area dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Lincolnville Center dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Maine programs you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, 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 degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04850 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Lincolnville Center at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Pick the Right Dental Program near Lincolnville Center ME

Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect 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 start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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