How to Get Into a Dental Hygiene Program?

How to Get Into a Dental Hygiene Program?

How to Get Into a Dental Hygiene Program?

If you’re considering a career in dentistry, a great option to think about is going down the dental hygiene route. The oral health of patients is more important than people are aware of and it’s the job of a dental hygienist to take care of and maintain patients’ dental hygiene by offering cleaning treatments and advice.

At Didsbury Dental Practice, we are experts in oral health so we have provided you with information on what a dental hygienist does, how to get into a dental hygiene program and the importance of the role.

What does a dental hygienist do?

There is a different route into dentistry than through dental therapy but through dental hygiene instead. The job of a dental hygienist isn’t just to give a thorough cleaning to people’s teeth but it also entails offering advice to patients about how to fix poor dental hygiene.

During a dental hygiene appointment, the dental hygienist will do a thorough cleaning of the mouth using special tools such as scalers and polishers. This technique uses specialist equipment to scrape away old and hardened plaque and tartar that has built up over time around the teeth and gums. Once this is complete, the dental hygienist will then polish the teeth to remove any surface stains.

After the appointment the patient’s teeth will feel cleaner, the shape more prominent but they may experience some bleeds around the gums. Before the end of the appointment, the dental hygienist will offer personalised and general advice on how to maintain good dental hygiene.

Scaling and polishing

Dental hygienists use a technique called scaling and polishing, which means scraping away bits of plaque and tartar and then the teeth are polished to remove surface stains. The best way for people to avoid plaque buildup is to brush their teeth twice a day but no matter how often they brush or how many interdental brushes they go through, it’s impossible to get rid of every trace of plaque.

Over time, plaque around the teeth hardens and can’t be removed with just a toothbrush, this is where the scaling tool comes in as it has a sharp, pin-point shape so it can easily get into the gaps between the teeth and scrape bits away.

The next stage is to polish and this involves using a tool that has a round polisher on the end. This makes the surface of the tooth really smooth and removes any surface stains. This is not a cosmetic procedure but it smoothes away any slight imperfections on the teeth to improve the appearance.

A dental hygiene appointment

A dental hygiene appointment usually only lasts around 30 minutes and it pain-free. The patient may experience a little sensitivity during the appointment and their gums may bleed but it will cause only mild discomfort. Most patients don’t experience any discomfort and find the treatment harmless.

NHS patients usually get a dental hygiene appointment included in the cost of a check-up as it is a follow-on treatment, which usually costs £25.80. For private patients, a visit to the dental hygienist will cost around £80-£120, depending on the extent of the treatment.

Dental hygiene advice

After completing the scale and polish procedure on a patient, the dental hygienist will go through good dental hygiene practices by telling the patient to:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a good-quality toothbrush
  • Use fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss and use interdental brushes regularly
  • Use mouthwash designed to combat gum disease
  • Visit your dentist for a check-up twice a year
  • Eat food and drinks that are low in sugar

They will also give the patient, specific advice to them, for example, if they have a problem area in their mouth, the dental hygienist will point that area out to the patient so they spend more care and attention on that area to avoid problems in the future.

Why is dental hygiene important?

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Dental hygiene refers to the overall cleanliness and health of the mouth, including teeth and gums. A dental hygienist is responsible for deep cleaning a patient’s teeth and gums and taking care of people’s dental hygiene is important. Becoming a dental hygienist is more than cleaning and polishing people’s teeth, offering expert advice on looking after patients’ oral health is important for their overall health too. Poor dental hygiene can lead to other health complications.

When bacteria gets from the mouth onto the skin, poor dental hygiene can cause acne and it can even lead to cardiovascular issues and heart disease. If bad bacteria from the mouth travels downwards, it can lead to stomach problems and in rare cases, poor dental hygiene is even thought to have been the cause of certain types of cancer. This makes the role of a dental hygienist crucial in maintaining people’s health.

How to get into a dental hygiene program

When studying dental hygiene, you’ll need to complete a degree in oral health to get into the world of dental hygiene. To get accepted onto a course like this, you will need to get at least 5 GCSEs and a minimum of 2-3 A-Levels, but every university is different so make sure you look into the admissions criteria of the universities you’re interested in. There are also different routes to consider such as an apprenticeship in dental hygiene.

If you’re interested in dentistry but you don’t want the minimum 5 years at university plus 2 additional years of supervised practice, becoming a dental hygienist is a great alternative and it only takes 3-4 years to train.

After you have completed your training, you will be a qualified dental hygienist but you will need to start from the bottom to gain experience in the field. During your training, you will be given opportunities to get hands-on experience but you will learn the most once you have qualified and working in the role.

The pay for a dental hygienist is competitive and increases with experience so the prospects in this career are good. You can also choose to work in the private or public sector where the pay and benefits will be different.

Didsbury Dental Practice

To experience a dental hygiene appointment for yourself, done in a professional setting by experienced dental hygienists, we’re the surgery for you. We are also always looking for new professionals to join our team and we would be happy to consult with you as a dental hygienist once you have completed your training.

We are Didsbury Dental Practice, a 24-hour emergency private dental surgery, located in South Manchester. Regarded as one of Manchester’s premium dental facilities, we have a highly experienced team offering a range of treatments that include helping you to reverse bad dental hygiene. We also offer emergency dentistry, dental implants teeth whitening, restorative dentistry and orthodontics.

Didsbury Dental Practice is equipped with the very latest state-of-the-art technology to create beautiful, healthy smiles in tranquil surroundings. We pride ourselves on delivering a level of patient comfort like no other dental practice.

For more information on how we can help you reverse bad dental hygiene or cosmetic procedures or for an emergency appointment, contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Dental hygiene program

As you can see, becoming a dental hygienist is an important job as poor dental hygiene can lead to all kinds of health implications. Getting into a dental hygiene program will mean that you’ll need to do well at school when doing your GCSEs and taking A-levels at college, preferably a science qualification.

Every university is different so make sure you look into each one first, in the meantime, if you want to book an appointment with a professional and experienced dental hygienist, to find out what the job is all about and to experience the treatment for yourself, have a look at Didsbury Dental Practice, a prestigious, private dental surgery in the south of Manchester.

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