Health & Medicine

Dental Hygienist: Role and Responsibilities

coral springs dentalPop Quiz: In what ways do the roles of dentists differ from those of dental hygienists? Not certain? It’s okay, I’ll sort it out below. Plenty of people are frequently confused about what their dentist does and what their hygienist does. Sometimes, it seems like you need to visit Wikipedia online or read a medical book to figure out who does what. So to keep this article brief, i’ll slant it more toward the hygienist. That way, you’ll know that whatever he or she doesn’t do, the rest is performed by the dentist.

Let’s dive in. The first thing you should know is that to become a dentist requires at least 8 years of schooling, and sometimes more if there is a specialization.

Dentists are all about diagnosing, treating, and in many cases enhancing any issues related to teeth and gums. On the the other hand, dental hygienists aren’t responsible for diagnosing periodontal diseases, for example. So the hygienist plays a vital role, but it’s more along the lines of helping the dentist in the areas of dental maintenance and prevention. If you visit the dentist, you’ll notice that their relationship is similar to that of doctor and nurse.

The hygienist will assist the dentist in performing certain procedures. For example, the dentist generally requires assistance with dental implants and other complex procedures. Visit this link to learn more…. But otherwise you might see the hygienist performing other tasks on his or her own.

For example, she might be the only person you see for a teeth cleaning or scaling. Same goes if you need teeth whitening or fluoride treatment. But hygienists aren’t limited to working in a Coral Springs dental care¬†office. You might find them in hospitals, clinics, and other places where an oral health expert might be needed.

Now if you enjoy helping people and like the idea of having a career as a dental hygienist, there are a variety of options. But you won’t be able to do it if you don’t at least have a high school education. The good news is that you won’t have to attend a 4-year university to become a certified hygienist, but you could.

If so, you’ll have to take one of the college entrance exams, e.g., ACT or SAT. So are you still with me? Are you still liking the idea of becoming a hygienist? If so, let’s dig into the particular ways it could happen. Following are the primary avenues for gaining a hygienist certification. The good news is that you have multiple choices, unlike many other professions.

First, you can scout out your area for a local technical institute. Some of them offer certification programs that usually take about two years to complete. But keep your eyes open as some of these schools aren’t as reputable as others. They need to be accredited and willing to help you with the end-of-program certification test. So, before submitting an application, see what all you can find out about them online. Even better, try to find and chat with graduates of the program to find out if it’s legit or junk.

Second, you can earn an Associate’s Degree in dental hygiene from your local community college. This is a two year program and it’s the path that most hygienists take. Community colleges are popular because there’s usually not a question about accreditation and the course work is comprehensive.

Third, consider getting a Bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene from a 4-year university. Just be aware that this is the longest and most expensive route. But it could be a stepping stone toward getting a Master’s degree. But as I mentioned earlier, you will more than likely have to take the SAT or ACT college entrance test.

Now, I know you’d like to think that once your studies are done and you completed all the coursework, you’d be able to pick up your college diploma and voila, you’re a dental hygienist. But the dental profession doesn’t work that way. The next step will be to pass the National Board Hygiene Examination.

You’ll need to provide proof that you’ve completed the necessary coursework, and secure a letter of recommendation to sit for the test. But it doesn’t end there. If you successfully pass this test, you’ll have to take another one to get your state license. So as you can see, becoming a hygienist isn’t a slam dunk. There’s a fair bit of work involved.

But it also provides you with an opportunity to have a rewarding career at a Coral Springs family dentistry and accomplish something that will set you apart. This will also make it easier to find a job.