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What Are the Different Types of Dental Hygienist Prerequisites?

A woman having a dental exam.
Courses that cover how to care for the mouth will prepare an individual for a career as a dental hygienist.
A dental hygienist cleaning a person's teeth.
Article Details
  • Written By: YaShekia King
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Hygienists in the dental field are professionals who remove debris from patients’ teeth and teach them how to care for their oral cavities. These people must have solid manual dexterity and be detail-oriented in addition to possessing strong communication skills. Dental hygienist prerequisites include completing two years to four years of training beyond high school and mastering a variety of oral-care classes. In addition, a person who is interested in entering this field has to gain practical experience working with patients and must be prepared to earn a license to practice in this role.

Dental hygienist prerequisites first include completing a two-year associate degree or four-year bachelor’s degree program in this field. Enrollment in one of these types of programs requires a person to submit his or her high school diploma or the equivalent certification as well as turn in his or her high school transcript. The individual also must fill out his or her desired school’s admission form in addition to turning in scores from standardized tests. Schools additionally might demand that the aspiring student complete observations at dental offices, write a personal statement, and take prerequisite courses such as anatomy and psychology.

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Courses that cover how to care for the mouth will prepare a person to succeed in this industry. For instance, classes teach students how to take oral radiographs used to detect problems such as tooth decay, as well as how to remove soft and hard deposits from teeth using instruments. Mastering methods for educating patients on oral healthcare is another item on the list of dental hygienist prerequisites, as this is a chief responsibility of a professional in this field.

College training programs usually require students to gain hands-on field experience. Schools feature clinics in which students can practice conducting oral cancer screenings and polish teeth to remove stains. In addition, dental hygienist prerequisites include learning how to create charts that highlight the health of a person’s gums. Hands-on experience demonstrates to dentists that an individual can handle the physical demands of this healthcare job and thus increases his or her chances of becoming employed.

Dental hygienists in some regions must become licensed before they can practice. Licensure involves taking and passing both a written and clinical examination. These are dental hygienist prerequisites that prove to future employers that a professional is well-versed on the requirements of this career area and possesses both written and practical skills. Completing continuing education courses is necessary to keep a license in this industry current as well.

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Discuss this Article

Spotiche5
Post 2

Though it is not an actually prerequisite for a dental hygienist program, I think that good bedside is a must for people in this field. Many dental patients are terrified, and are comforted when a staff member with understanding and compassion is working on their teeth.

Heavanet
Post 1

My brother completed a dental hygienist program and is now practicing in the field. He said that one of the most important things that a student in this program can do is to make the most of the hand-on experience that he or she gets while taking classes. Though all of the required courses are important, the in-office clinical coursework is vital because it closely resembles what it will be like to actually work as a hygienist.

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