Des Moines
Cedar Rapids
Davenport
Sioux City
Waterloo
Iowa City
Council Bluffs
Dubuque
Ames
West Des Moines
Cedar Falls
Bettendorf
Mason City
Urbandale
Clinton
Ankeny
Burlington
Marion
Marshalltown
Fort Dodge

Iowa

Lexington-Fayette  
Louisville
Owensboro
Bowling Green
Covington
Hopkinsville
Frankfort
Henderson
Richmond
Jeffersontown
Paducah
Pleasure Ridge Park
Florence
Valley Station
Elizabethtown
Ashland
Radcliff
Newburg
Nicholasville
Madisonville

Kentucky

Cheyenne
Casper
Laramie
Gillette
Sheridan
Green River
Evanston
Riverton
Cody
Jackson
Rawlins
Lander
Torrington
Powell
Douglas
Worland
Ranchettes
Warren AFB
South Greeley
Buffalo

WY - Wyoming

Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Allentown
Erie
Reading
Scranton
Bethlehem
Lancaster
Levittown
Altoona
Harrisburg
Penn Hills
Wilkes-Barre
York
State College
Chester
Bethel Park
Mount Lebanon
Ross Township
Norristown

PA - Pennsylvania

New York
Buffalo
Rochester
Yonkers
Syracuse
Albany
Cheektowaga
New Rochelle
Mount Vernon
Schenectady
Tonawanda
Utica
Hempstead
Niagara Falls
Brentwood
White Plains
Levittown
Irondequoit
Troy
Centereach - NY - New York

Oregon
Portland
Eugene
Salem
Gresham
Beaverton
Hillsboro
Medford
Springfield
Bend
Corvallis
Aloha
Tigard
Albany
Lake Oswego
Keizer
McMinnville
City
Grants Pass
Tualatin - OR - Oregon

Albuquerque
Las Cruces
Santa Fe
Rio Rancho
Roswell
South Valley
Farmington
Alamogordo
Clovis
Hobbs
Carlsbad
Gallup
Las Vegas
Deming
Sunland Park
North Valley
Los Alamos
Portales
Artesia
Silver City - NM - New Mexico

 Detroit
Grand Rapids
Warren
Flint
Sterling Heights
Lansing
Ann Arbor
Livonia
Dearborn
Clinton
Westland
Farmington Hills
Troy
Southfield
Kalamazoo
Canton
Waterford
Wyoming
Rochester Hills
Pontiac - MI - Michigan

Wichita
Overland Park
Kansas City
Topeka
Olathe
Lawrence
Shawnee
Salina
Manhattan
Hutchinson
Lenexa
Leavenworth
Garden City
Leawood
Emporia
Dodge City
Prairie Village
Hays
Liberal
Pittsburg - KS - Kansas

Indianapolis
Fort Wayne
Evansville
South Bend
Gary
Hammond
Bloomington
Muncie
Anderson
Terre Haute
Lafayette
Elkhart
Mishawaka
Kokomo
Richmond
Columbus
Lawrence
Fishers
Carmel
New Albany -IN - Indiana

 

Dental Hygienist's Program

Dental hygienists are the people who clean dental patients' teeth. They also examine the teeth and gums for overall health, and report any problems they might find to their supervising dentist. On average, dental hygienists earn anywhere from $30 to $40 per hour, and because many dentists hire hygienists for only two or three days per week, it is not unusual for hygienists working full time to work in more than one dentist office.

Unlike dental assistants, who often receive their training on the job, dental hygienists must graduate from a hygienist program, pass a state-supervised exam, and receive a hygienist's license. This is true in forty-nine of fifty states; the exception is Alabama, where certain regulated programs allow hygienists to receive their training and licensure on the job.

Finding the Right Dental Hygienist's Program

There are many programs available for dental hygienists. It should be noted, however, that there are currently only 286 programs that are accredited by the American Dental Association (the ADA). Most states require that the program be accredited in order for a hygienist to earn their license. All fifty states have at least one accredited program, but several states, including some states in the western and southern parts of the country have only one accredited program.

 

Entering a Dental Hygienist's Program

Dental hygienist's generally have these basic minimum requirements:

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and possess a high school diploma or a GED
Many programs require that applicants have successfully completed at least one year of college
All applicants must have fulfilled basic math and science requirements during high school
Applicants must show basic academic competency through college exam tests (the SAT or the ACT)

In addition, it is not uncommon for applicants to four year, bachelor's degree dental hygiene programs to require applicants to have completed at least two years of college prior to their enrollment in the dental hygiene program.

Most dental hygienist programs are either two year associate's degree programs, or four year bachelor's degree programs. Some dental hygienists go on to earn their master's degree, which enables them to teach others the trade.

 

What the Coursework is Like

Dental hygiene programs begin with the basics of human anatomy, as well as chemistry, physiology, and biology. After the basic prerequisites are finished, future dental hygienists learn about such topics as oral diseases, oral microbiology, sedation and pain control, craniofacial anatomy, and geriatric dentistry.

The skills a good dental hygiene program teaches cover everything the future hygienist will need to know in order to perform the day-to-day functions of a dental hygienist. These include:
Performing oral health care assessments, such as examining a patient's teeth and gums for any abnormalities that may indicate the presence of an oral disease
Reviewing patient history and collecting data on patients in order to better serve and care for that patient's oral health
Screening for oral cancer
Checking and recording blood pressure
Taking x-rays – although this is often the job of the dental assistant rather than the dental hygienist, in some dental offices it is primarily the job of the dental hygienist to take oral x-rays
In addition to learning how to take the x-ray, the hygienist learns basic radiology safety to protect both themselves and the patient from unnecessary radiation

In addition to all of these skills, the dental hygienist's program will teach the basic of all dental hygiene skills: removing plaque and any other potentially harmful or cavity-causing deposits from patients' teeth. Cleaning teeth is the “bread and butter” of dental hygiene work. And along with learning how to clean the teeth of their dental patients, the hygienists learn how to educate patients, whether young or old, on how to best care and protect their oral health over the long term.

 

 


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