The dental field develops day by day and dental hygiene schools are becoming more and competitive. This field also gained fast popularity among students, providing graduates with multiple possibilities and options. Since toothpaste was made famous, every person on this planet cares about their own oral hygiene. Now, despite the miraculous ingredients that promise either tooth than ever, people still need to go to the dentist once in a while.
In California, per example, there are 27 accredited dental hygiene schools that offer each and every student the possibility to become a licensed dental hygienist.
You can choose to go to a community college that has an associated program or you can opt for the university program. Community college courses last around 2 years, while university studies can go up to 4 years. Both of these help you prepare for the California state exam, which is your final step towards becoming a dental hygienist. You will learn how to perform different dental estimations, clean teeth and perform an x-ray. Besides learning these theoretical skills, you will also get the chance to practice them at a local facility when your studies require you to do so. In order to be able to apply for an associated degree program or for a 2-year certificate program, you must finish high school first.
These studies usually take 2 years, but some of them extend to 3 years. As previously stated, many of these studies have a part of the theory and a part of practice, where students get to apply what they have learned from their curriculum. At the end of their studies, students will have knowledge about dental techniques and dental sciences. These certificate programs contain courses such as:
- Local anesthesia
- Oral and general pathology
- Dental pharmacology
- Dental hygiene theory and practice
When it comes to dental hygiene schools that offer an associate program, their courses tackle subjects as:
- Nutrition in dentistry
- Dental materials
- Oral biology
- Legal responsibility in dentistry
- Community dental health
After graduation, some students pursue advanced studies, mainly dedicated to research and academic careers. At the master’s level, the studies are now focused on education, management and research areas.
Dental hygiene schools in California
The dental hygiene schools in California, such as Southwestern College and Pasadena City College, have associate programs that last 2 years. For the first college, you will have to pay $1,000 per year, tuition and additional fees. To apply here, you will have to own some math and reading skills and be willing to do some health screenings.
If you are more interested in a bachelor’s degree programs regarding dental hygiene, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and Loma Linda University have what you want. The studies also take 2 years to complete, but the tuition is considerably bigger. In order to complete your studies at one of those two, you will have to pay $58,614 for the first year, $39,076 for the second year, without the additional charges, or $29,100 per junior year, $38,800 per senior year, depending on which one you choose.
The University of Southern California is a dental hygiene school that teaches you how to interpret a patient’s medical record, how to provide proper dental care and how to inform patients about prevention and maintaining their general oral health. Loma Linda University demands more prerequisite courses, especially in the humanities area. The courses at this university will prepare you for working in a lab or other professional clinic work. At the same time, after graduation, you can pursue any other career related to dental health or public health for that matter.
As a dental hygienist, you will have to take x-rays of your patients, assist the dentist while he perform different actions on the patients, clean your patients teeth, examine the patients for any oral diseases such as gingivitis and teach the patient about preventing measurements and maintaining their overall oral health. You will also work with equipment to remove any plague, tartar and stains, protect the teeth by applying sealants and fluorides. Most dental hygiene schools teach their students these things. At the same time, these dental hygiene schools make students practice what they have learnt in order to provide better services for their patients and assure them they are in safe hands.