Are you a dental assistant looking to advance your career in the field of dentistry?
Consider transitioning from a dental assistant to a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists play a crucial role in promoting oral health and preventing dental diseases.
With the right education and training, you can become a dental hygienist and enjoy a rewarding career in the dental industry.
The online dental assisting programs offer the cost and time savings that a busy dental assistant requires to continue working while advancing their education and career.
In this article, we will explain how online dental assistant to dental hygienist bridge programs work.
First, let's overview what a Dental Hygienist is and why you might want to become one to advance your career.
A dental hygienist is a licensed oral healthcare professional who works closely with dentists to provide preventative dental care to patients.
They perform tasks such as teeth cleaning, oral examinations, taking dental x-rays, applying fluoride treatments, and educating patients on proper oral hygiene practices.
Dental hygienists are essential in maintaining good oral health and preventing dental diseases.
To become a dental hygienist, you need to complete a dental hygiene program.
These programs typically require an associate degree in dental hygiene, although some universities offer bachelor's degrees in dental hygiene as well.
The coursework includes various subjects such as anatomy, physiology, oral pathology, dental hygiene techniques, and clinical practice.
After completing a dental hygiene program, you will need to pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and obtain licensure in your state.
Licensure requirements may vary, so it's important to check with your state's dental board for specific regulations.
Some states also require dental hygienists to participate in continuing education courses to maintain their licensure.
Transitioning from a dental assistant to a dental hygienist can open up new opportunities and increase your earning potential.
Dental hygienists have a higher level of responsibility and perform more advanced tasks compared to dental assistants.
With a dental hygiene degree, you can provide direct patient care, assess patients' oral health, and contribute to their overall well-being.
As a dental assistant, you already have a solid foundation in dental knowledge and skills.
Assess your existing skills and determine if you have the necessary qualities to become a dental hygienist.
Dental hygienists must have excellent communication skills, attention to detail, manual dexterity, and a passion for oral healthcare.
If you decide to pursue a career as a dental hygienist, you may consider enrolling in a bridge program specifically designed for dental assistants.
These programs build upon your existing knowledge and skills as a dental assistant, allowing for a smoother transition into the field of dental hygiene.
Bridge programs typically offer advanced coursework in dental hygiene and provide hands-on clinical experience.
Online dental hygiene bridge programs offer flexibility and convenience for dental assistants who are working full-time or have other obligations.
These programs allow you to study at your own pace and complete coursework online. You will still need to fulfill clinical requirements, which can usually be done at approved dental facilities near your location.
When choosing an online dental hygiene bridge program, it's essential to ensure that it is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Accreditation ensures that the program meets the standards of quality and prepares you for a successful career as a dental hygienist. Accredited programs are recognized by employers and licensure boards.
Each online dental hygiene bridge program may have different prerequisites, but common requirements include a high school diploma or GED, completion of prerequisite courses such as anatomy and physiology, and a minimum GPA.
It's important to review the admission criteria for each program you're considering to determine if you meet the requirements.
The first step in becoming a dental hygienist is earning a degree in dental hygiene. You can choose between an associate degree or a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene.
Both degrees will provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to practice dental hygiene, but a bachelor's degree may offer additional opportunities for career advancement.
During your dental hygiene program, you will take courses in subjects such as dental anatomy, radiology, periodontology, and dental pharmacology.
You will also receive practical training in a clinical setting under the supervision of experienced dental hygienists or dentists. This hands-on experience will allow you to apply your knowledge and develop essential clinical skills.
After completing your dental hygiene program, you will need to prepare for the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE).
This exam assesses your knowledge and skills in various areas of dental hygiene practice. Study guides and practice exams are available to help you prepare for this important step in becoming a licensed dental hygienist.
The job outlook for dental hygienists is promising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. The increasing demand for dental services and the emphasis on preventative care contribute to the strong job prospects in this field.
Many dental hygienists work in dental offices alongside dentists. They collaborate with the dental team to provide comprehensive oral healthcare to patients. Dental hygienists often work directly with patients, conducting oral examinations, performing prophylaxis, and providing education on proper oral hygiene practices.
As a dental hygienist, you have the opportunity to advance in your career. With experience and additional education, you can take on more responsibilities and pursue specialized areas of dental hygiene such as periodontics or public health. Advanced degrees, such as a master's degree in dental hygiene, can open up even more opportunities for career growth.
A dental assisting to dental hygienist bridge program is an educational program that allows dental assistants to transition into the role of a dental hygienist. It provides the necessary coursework and training for dental assistants to become qualified dental hygienists.
The requirements may vary depending on the program, but generally, applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent and be a certified dental assistant. Some programs may also require applicants to complete certain prerequisite courses.
The duration of the program can vary, but it typically takes around 1 to 2 years to complete an online dental assisting to dental hygienist bridge program.
The courses included in a dental assisting to dental hygienist bridge program may cover subjects such as dental anatomy, oral health assessment, dental radiology, periodontics, dental pharmacology, and dental hygiene techniques.
It is important to choose a dental assisting to dental hygienist bridge program that is accredited by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation. Accreditation ensures that the program meets certain standards of quality and that the credits earned are transferable.
Can I continue working as a dental assistant while pursuing a dental assisting to dental hygienist bridge program?
It depends on your personal circumstances and the requirements of the program. Some programs may allow students to continue working as dental assistants while completing their dental hygienist coursework, while others may require full-time commitment to the program.
What career opportunities are available after completing a dental assisting to dental hygienist bridge program?
After completing a dental assisting to dental hygienist bridge program and obtaining the necessary licenses, graduates can pursue a career as a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists work in dental clinics and assist in providing preventive dental care, performing oral health assessments, taking X-rays, and educating patients on oral hygiene.
Can I transfer credits from a dental assisting to dental hygienist bridge program to a bachelor's degree program in dental hygiene?
It depends on the program and the institution. Some programs may have transfer agreements with colleges and universities that offer bachelor's degree programs in dental hygiene, allowing students to transfer their credits and continue their education.
What is the difference between a dental assisting to dental hygienist bridge program and a stand-alone dental hygienist program?
A dental assisting to dental hygienist bridge program is designed specifically for individuals who are already certified dental assistants and wish to transition into the role of a dental hygienist. Stand-alone dental hygienist programs are for individuals who do not have prior dental assisting experience.
The job prospects for dental hygienists are favorable. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. This increased demand is due to the ongoing need for preventive dental services and the aging population.