One of the most important things in dental care is prevention.
And yet sometimes it can be difficult to find the time in our busy daily schedules to dedicate to our dental health.
In these cases, a Dental Hygienist could be of great help.
Dental Hygienists are part of a team of professionals dedicated to oral health.
In the next few sections, we’ll review some of the basic facts about Dental Hygienists, what they do, and how much Dental Hygienist school costs.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Dental Hygienist?
- What Is the Difference Between a Dentist and a Dental Hygienist?
- What Is the Difference Between a Dental Assistant and a Dental Hygienist?
- Where Do Dental Hygienists Work?
- What Do I Need to Become a Dental Hygienist?
- How Long Does Dental Hygienist School Last?
- How Much Does It Cost to Attend Dental Hygienist School?
What Is a Dental Hygienist?
A Dental Hygienist is a dental care specialist that evaluates patients’ oral health, provides preventive care and treatments, and also educates patients about how to keep good dental hygiene.
What Is the Difference Between a Dentist and a Dental Hygienist?
Even though a Dentist can also perform the duties of a Dental Hygienist, a Dentist also treats any problems that could be affecting the gums, teeth, and other parts of the mouth.
A Dental Hygienist only examines and offers preventive dental care, such as cleaning teeth and removing plaque, for instance.
A Dental Hygienist is usually part of the Dentist’s team, which also includes a Dental Assistant.
What Is the Difference Between a Dental Assistant and a Dental Hygienist?
A Dental Assistant is another important member of the dental team.
They focus on providing support to the dentist and the patient, as well, and can also perform administrative tasks, such as keeping a record of the patient’s condition and scheduling appointments, among others.
Where Do Dental Hygienists Work?
The majority of Dental Hygienists work in private dental offices, but they can also work in hospitals, in the school system, in dental schools, in research, or in sales for dental products.
What Do I Need to Become a Dental Hygienist?
In order to become a Dental Hygienist, you will need to complete a Dental Hygienist program, which is generally offered by community colleges, dental schools, and universities.
The options are generally an Associate’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree.
An Associate’s degree is the most common undergraduate degree that people who aspire to become Dental hygienists pursue.
In this type of degree, you will acquire the necessary education and clinical practice to start working as a Dental Hygienist.
Bachelor’s degrees in Dental Hygiene are not as typical, and yet it is possible to obtain this degree if you’re looking for more profound knowledge and more clinical experience before starting to work.
It can also be a good opportunity for those who wish to focus on research or education.
Passing the NBDHE
After gaining your undergraduate degree in Dental Hygiene, you can apply to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE).
After passing it, you will become a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH).
You must obtain licensure to be able to work as a Dental Hygienist.
The requirements can greatly differ depending on the state where you plan to work, so it’s important to check first.
In order to get the licensure, you will also have to pass an exam.
How Long Does Dental Hygienist School Last?
This depends on the type of degree you choose and the time you have to dedicate to your studies.
An Associate’s degree tends to take two years to complete.
A Bachelor’s degree, which is a more comprehensive program, generally lasts four years to complete.
How Much Does It Cost to Attend Dental Hygienist School?
The cost of attending Dental Hygienist School is going to vary according to the type of institution you choose, the degree you aspire to obtain, and the city where you live.
An Associate’s degree can cost from $5,000 to $25,000.
If you prefer a Bachelor’s degree, they tend to cost between $30,000 and $65,000.