Top Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Truro MA 02666

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Truro 02666

dental assistant training in Truro MAPicking the ideal dental hygienist college near Truro MA is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Function of Dental Assistants

Truro dental assistant helping dentist 02666Dental assistants are an essential part of any Truro dental office and can undertake a wide range of functions. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Massachusetts dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, including:

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

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

The Duties of a Dental Hygienist

Truro dental hygienist treating patient in MassachusettsWhen comparing the duties of a Truro 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 practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Massachusetts 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 teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

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

In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant programs are offered at Massachusetts junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Truro area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training

attending dental assistant school online in Truro homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Truro home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the right choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask Massachusetts dental colleges 02666Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Truro area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Massachusetts schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Truro area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Truro area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid 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, naturally it would not be the best school for you.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Truro area dental programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Truro 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 as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Massachusetts schools you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 02666 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Truro at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Find the Best Dental College near Truro MA

Choosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important 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 options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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