Day in the Life
...as a Dental Hygiene Student
The Dental Hygiene Program is located at the Metropolitan Campus of Tri-C and consists of two academic years of training. Dental Hygiene students complete approximately 2,000 hours of classroom study with about 600 of the hours dedicated to supervised clinical dental hygiene instruction in the Dental Hygiene Clinic at Tri-C.
There are no evening courses offered and the program is considered to be a full time day program. Outside employment while in the program is not always feasible due to course requirements and a variable class schedule.
Courses in anatomy and physiology, microbiology, periodontology, pain management/local anesthesia, public health, pharmacology, histology, chemistry and nutrition will provide a knowledge of the human body and its functions, thereby establishing an understanding of the interrelationship between general and oral health. Studies of psychology, nutrition and community oral health enable the dental hygienist to teach the public complete oral health education in private offices, schools and the community.
The Dental Hygiene Clinic houses operatories which provide students experience in providing preventive services. Equipped with computers, dual monitors, digital radiography, panoramic and intraoral radiographic units, intraoral cameras and Caesy instructional software, Tri-C offers students exceptional instruction in a state-of-the-art dental environment. The essential cognitive and physical functions necessary for completion of course objectives include: speaking, reading and writing effectively in the English language, dexterity, critical thinking skills, vision, time management skills, hearing, mobility, bending and lifting.
By nature of the profession, students, faculty and staff may be exposed to blood and body fluids while providing services during clinical sessions. Policies and procedures have been established to ensure the environment is safe to minimize the risk of disease transmission. Policies related to bloodborne infectious diseases are available to applicants and patients upon request.
Dental hygienists must be licensed. License fee for the State of Ohio is $170.00. Candidates for Ohio licensure must be a graduate of an accredited school and pass clinical and computer delivered examinations. The clinical and local anesthesia examinations are administered by The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments and costs approximately $975.00 and $140.00 respectively. The Dental Hygiene National Board examination is administered by the Joint Commission of National Board Examinations and costs approximately $410.00. A graduate cannot be employed as a dental hygienist before successfully passing the examinations and obtaining a license from the Ohio State Dental Board.
…as a Registered Dental Hygienist
As licensed professionals, dental hygienists provide education and treatment to prevent cavities and periodontal disease. They help clients maintain healthy teeth and gums, which in turn helps to promote overall wellness. Client care performed by dental hygienists may include:
- Conducting head and neck exams
- Recording medical and dental health histories
- Monitoring blood pressure and vital signs
- Pain management
- Scaling teeth above and below the gum line to remove soft and hard deposits
- Exposing, processing, and interpreting dental x-rays
- Checking changes or abnormalities in the mouth
- Preparing dental charts
- Applying fluorides and sealants to protect teeth from cavities
- Teaching patients about oral self care
- Counseling patients on proper nutrition for maintaining health gums and teeth
The dental hygienist learns specialized clinical skills providing direct client care and may be responsible for community distribution of information related to prevention of oral diseases and the maintenance of oral health.
One of the most appealing features of dental hygiene is its extreme flexibility. Employment may be full or part time, geared to individual needs and desires. The opportunity of beginning a career is open to the mature man or woman at various stages in their life.
Salaries of dental hygienists are affected by geographic location, employment setting, education and experience. Dental Hygienists who work in private dental offices may be paid on an hourly, daily, salary or commission basis. Graduates report entry-level salaries ranging from $26-30/hour.
Dental Hygienists may impart their skills and professional knowledge to a variety of fields. The obligation to serve the community and the dental hygiene profession is of the utmost importance to the dental hygienist. The majority of dental hygienists are employed in private dental offices. Primary duties include disease prevention and health promotion.
Employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow much faster than the average, in response to increasing demand for dental care. Demand will be stimulated by population growth, and greater retention of natural teeth by the larger number of middle-aged and elderly people.