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Dental Hygiene Degrees : Becoming a Dental Hygienist

Canadian Schools offering Dental Hygienist Degrees and Programs

Prospective dental hygienists should be able to complete a diploma or bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. These professionals work with the dentists and assist them in performing dental procedures such as prophylaxis, root planning and scaling. They may also administer fluoride and take radiographs.

Becoming a Dental Hygienist in Canada

There are many degrees available in Canada that future dental hygienist may complete. They may opt for an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree. Different provinces in Canada may have different requirements before an individual can become a practicing dental hygienist. Typically, the minimum entry–level requirement is a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. However, the associate degree may suffice in some provinces. This is particularly true in places that are facing a shortage of dental hygienists like British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene

The associate degree in dental hygiene takes two years to complete. Afterwards, students may take a licensure exam in their specific province or territory in Canada.  This degree will educate prospective dental hygienists in monitoring and evaluating the patient’s dental health history. They will also learn how to process and interpret dental x-rays. Associate degree holders are capable of conducting dietary education and counseling. Most importantly, they assist the dentist and monitor the patient’s condition before and after the delivery of local anesthesia and nitrous oxide.

Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Hygiene

Many students who finish the associate degree in dental hygiene proceed to a bachelor’s degree program in order to advance their careers.  These programs typically take four years to complete. The courses taken are similar to those in associate degree programs in the first two years. More intensive courses specific to dental hygiene are taken in the later years.  Prospective students are required to have a high school diploma or an equivalent.  A bachelor’s degree is generally required for dental hygienists who choose to work in areas like research, clinical practice or school health programs.

Areas of Specialization and Concentration

Prospective dental hygienists can choose the areas of specialization they are interested in. However, this may depend on the program and their faculty and academic advisors.

Dental Hygiene Education

Dental hygiene education allows students to focus more on education as a profession. This concentration emphasizes dental hygiene and adult education theory.

Community Health

Community health provides prospective dental hygienists with a more extensive understanding of health agencies and their functions. With this, they will be able to focus more on health planning and assessment

Dental Hygiene Program Accreditation

Obtaining an associates or bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene from the right school is important in becoming a successful dental hygienist. The name of a school can also have a great impact on getting a good position after graduation.

The Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada is responsible for checking and reviewing schools with dental hygiene programs. Holding CDAC accreditation means that the program has met the organization’s standards. Therefore, they are reliable and equipped to train students to become competitive dental hygienists.

CDAC accreditation means that the university or college has a good curriculum, instructors and facilities. They are ready to keep up with the demands of the dental industry. Many employers prefer dental hygienists that come from trustworthy schools in Canada.

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