As you know we have spent the last couple of blogs talking about who is “behind the mask” here at our Brinkley Dental office located in Brampton Ontario. It’s been a reminder to our team about the experiences they have had in terms of schooling and their first few years on the job. Last time we talked about schooling to become a Dentist and this time, as promised, we are going to take a look at what it takes to become a Dental Hygienist. If you’ve been thinking about a career change or have a son or daughter thinking about a career in dentistry, here is a snapshot of what you need to know.
Dental Hygienists are employed in a highly skilled, regulated field requiring a minimum of 18 months schooling along with plenty of on the job training. As a field, it has been in existence (and regulated) for over 50 years. The field is always evolving and growing. Most recently, it has seen changes for some practitioners from one where the hygienist played a critical role in the dental office to one where many hygienists now own and operate their own clinics. Such operations retain a Dentist on staff or on referral basis for issues that go beyond their scope of expertise. One thing remains consistent however and that is that dental hygienists are critical to ongoing patient health care and are often the front line experts; the first to identify for the Dentist that there may be issues with a patients teeth that require further assessment.
A hygienist typically, as stated above, goes to school for a period of at least 18 months (or more for specialized programs) and programming would include fundamental science courses like anatomy, physiology, histology and microbiology as they relate to dental and oral care. Diploma level programs are offered to those with a High School Diploma and who have the requisite required courses, while post-graduate programs are available to those already certified and working in the field. The field is regulated by the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario and all those working as Hygienists must be registered with them. Hygienists are able, and licensed, to perform such tasks as scaling, root planning, putting sealants on teeth, whitening services, education and more. Depending on their level of education, other services can also be provided.
Many consider opting for a career in this field because it can be a highly rewarding field of employment particularly if you enjoy working on the “front lines” of the health care industry and helping patients to both look and feel good. Working with patients from 2 to 92 (and beyond) means a wide variety of work experiences and challenges are available to those choosing this career. If you are interested in learning more, feel free to stop by for a chat with one of our friendly dental hygienists here at Brinkley Dental and as always, we remind you: ”don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”