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4 Careers Offered in a Dental Hygiene School

Apr 19, 2008
Dentistry is an important issue that comes with dental health. Everyone will have to sit in a dentist's chair at least once in their life, either for a simple dental examination or a root canal surgery. The individuals who work on our teeth should therefore be someone who is properly trained in a dental hygiene school.

If you are also interested in dental care and hygiene, too, then you should undergo the study, training, and exams that is required from people with dental career before you can treat others.

Before you decide on entering a dental school, you should first know the different types of dental careers being offered. The following are four of the common dental careers:

Dental Assistants

Dental assistants serve as the third hand of the dentist. They do the office tasks like ordering supplies, scheduling appointments, and tending to patients for the dentist.

The duties of a dental assistant include the following:

- Charting patient treatment - Disinfecting and sterilizing instruments - Making casts of teeth and temporary crowns - Managing the dental office - Passing the proper instruments to the dentist - Polishing the teeth - Preparing dental filling material - Preparing the patients for treatment - Processing dental x-ray film - Providing oral hygiene instruction - Taking impressions or models of teeth for study purposes

Although dental assistants are required to be graduates of accredited dental assisting training programs, they are not mandated to have national certification offered by the American Dental Assisting National Board.

Dental assistants work in clinics, dental laboratories, private dental offices, dental schools, hospitals, and other public health places. On average, the annual salary of dental assistants was 14.08 dollars per hour in 2006.

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists are focused on the following:

- Applying of preventive agents like fluorides and sealants to teeth - Educating about oral health care, oral health problems caused by diet or tobacco, selection of toothbrushes, use of dental floss, etc. - Evaluating patient's oral health - Exposing, processing, and interpreting dental x-ray films - Remove calculus deposits, plaques, and stains along the gum line

Dental hygienists need to graduate from an accredited program. After which, they are then eligible to take the state and national licensing exams. The state administers its own licensing examination, while the national exams are given by the American Dental Association.

After completing the licensing process, the title as Registered Dental Hygienist is given.

Dental Laboratory Technicians

A dental laboratory technician basically creates and repairs braces, bridges, crowns, dentures, and others using gold, silver, plastics, porcelain, and stainless steel according to the dentist's prescriptions

Dental technicians work in commercial dental laboratories, dental offices, dental supply companies, and research facilities.

Dental technicians are also not required to obtain certification from the National Board of Certification of the National Association of Dental Laboratories.

The median annual income of dental technicians during 2005 was cited to be 32,012 dollars.

Dentist

Dentists are titled as Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). Dentists are general practitioners who supervise the work of dental assistants, dental hygienists, and dental laboratory technicians.

Dentists specialize in diagnosing, examining, preventing, and treating abnormalities, diseases, and injuries of gums, adjacent tissues, teeth, and structures of the mouth.

The American Dental Association named dental specialties for dentists:

- Endodontics or root canal therapy - Oral and maxillofacial surgery and radiology - Oral pathology, which studies mouth diseases - Orthodontics, which is the correction and prevention of poorly-positioned teeth - Pediatric dentistry - Periodontics, which is the treatment of the gums and bones of the mouth - Prosthodontics, or the making and applying of artificial teeth and dentures - Public health dentistry

Dentists work alone or in group practices. They also work in companies, dental clinics, hospitals and laboratories, and public health agencies. In 2006, the average salary of dentists range from 136,600 to 186,368 dollars.

Studying dental care and hygiene is expensive, especially when you put up your own practice. You will have to spend a lot on equipment and staff. However, if you really want to pursue that field, then go to a dental hygiene school that offers the specialty you want to study.
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