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Submitted by: Chris Carson
A dental hygienist is mostly concerned with the different conditions of the mouth, the teeth and the gums. This means that they are more inclined to treat physical deformities in these parts rather than treat serious oral diseases. Being a dentist is a tough job, but dental hygienists make it easier as dentists make the hygienists handle patients needing improvements.
Before a patient meets the dentist, it is most likely that their oral health has already been evaluated by dental hygienists. These professionals are more than capable to check your teeth and give the doctor some advice or plan on how to treat it. These licensed dental professionals could give you examinations for oral health, e.g., full teeth x-rays, and other assessments that the dentist might find helpful when they get to treat you. Sometimes, there are easy tasks that wouldn t even need you to go to the dentist because the hygienists could very well take care of these cases.
Then, a dentist would decide based on the state of your oral condition whether or not you need his services or just the dental hygienist s. The diagnosis would be given by the dentist and sometimes they would decide on letting the dental hygienists do what they do best. After the diagnosis, hygienists would create plans on how to treat your condition. In most cases, you would be asked to do some sort of dental rituals that would require you to take better care of your teeth. Visits to the dentists would now require that you get your mouth checked by the dental hygienist to keep track of your improvements. If your oral condition has not improved, the hygienist would consult the dentist and make changes in your treatment plan.
So, how do people become dental hygienists? In high school, these people took up chemistry, mathematics and biology courses. The ADA (American Dental Association) keeps a site up for all accredited schools offering courses in dental hygiene. There are general topics that need to be studied in these courses. Speech and English classes should be taken up. There are science classes that are in close relation to dentistry that needs to be taken up too. Anatomy, general chemistry, nutrition, microbiology, pharmacology are some of these science classes. Dental classes like radiography, dental anatomy, head and neck anatomy, histology, periodontology and oral embryology would be of great help in the field. However, the knowledge on the processes and different dental equipment should be known to hygienists too. Associate education would cost around $30,000, while a baccalaureate education would cost around $40,000. Around 3,000 hours of clinical instruction would be given in both of these degrees.
After this education, a dental hygienist would have applied for dental hygiene course programs that took 2-4 years in college. Licensure would then be needed for the state they are supposed to work in. Clinical and written examinations should be passed in these states, and then they could start applying for work and train and practice with dentists.
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