Dental Hygiene vs. Dental Assisting

Many different aspects between dental care and all of its sciences exist. Two very commonly confused professions within dental care are dental hygienists and dental assistants. Dental care as a whole consists of removing decay, filling cavities, cleaning and polishing the teeth, x-rays, checking for cancer of the mouth and many other procedures to maintain a healthy mouth, promoting a healthier life. In a nut shell, dental hygienists remove soft deposits from teeth, teach patients how to practice good oral hygiene, and provide other preventative dental care.They examine patients’ teeth and gums, recording the presence of diseases or abnormalities. Dental assistants, on the other hand, work side by side with the dentist to perform a wide range of patient care, office, and laboratory duties. Their responsibilities range from preparing trays of instruments to making temporary crowns.

Dental hygienists use an assortment of tools to complete their tasks. Hand and rotary instruments and ultrasonic devices are used to clean and polish teeth, which includes removing tartar, stains, and plaque.Hygienists use x-ray machines to take dental pictures, and sometimes develop the film. They may use models of teeth to explain oral hygiene, perform root planning as a periodontal therapy, or apply cavity preventative agents such as fluorides and pit and fissure sealants (Bureau of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Dental Hygiene).

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They also help patients develop and maintain good oral health. For example, explaining the relationship between diet and oral heath and informing patients how to select toothbrushes and show them how to properly and adequately brush and floss their teeth.Dental assistants sterilize and disinfect instruments and equipment, prepare and lay out the instruments and materials required to treat each patient, and obtain and update patients’ dental records. During the actual dental procedures, assistants work alongside the dentist to provide assistance when needed. They hand instruments and materials to dentists and keep patients’ mouth dry and clear by using suction hoses and other devices. They may prepare materials for impressions and restorations, and process dental x-rays depending on the dentist.Some assistants may remove stitches, apply anesthetics to the gums, and/or apply cavity preventative agents to the teeth. (Bureau of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Dental Assisting).

When it comes to the tasks of dental hygienists and dental assistants, overall there are no specifically similar duties. The only likeness in the two careers would be that they are both associated with the dental care field. The only other similarities between the two are that they both take x-rays and sometimes apply cavity preventive agents to the teeth.The education and training that dental hygiene requires is usually a high school diploma and college entrance test scores. Some dental hygiene programs also require applicants to have completed at least one year of college to complete their prerequisites.

(College Board: Inspiring Minds: Dental hygiene). Most dental hygiene schools grant an Associate’s Degree while some actually offer a certificate. However, very few schools offer a Bachelor’s Degree, let alone a Master’s Degree.

A minimum of an Associate’s Degree in dental hygiene is generally required for practice in a private dental office.It takes a minimum of two years to complete the actual dental hygiene program to receive an Associate’s Degree. A Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree is usually required for research, or teaching. (American Dental Hygienists’ Association).

Dental assistants are trained in dental assisting programs offered by the community, technical institutes, or Armed Forces. Most programs take one or two years to complete depending on where you are attending. For assistants to perform more advanced functions, or to have the ability to complete radiological procedures, many states require assistants to obtain a license or a certification. College Board: Inspiring Minds, Dental Assisting).

All programs require a high school diploma or a General Education Diploma. Usually it is a requirement for on-the-job-training after you finish the dental assisting program, where a lot of learning takes place. They are taught certain terminology, the names of the instruments, how to perform daily duties, how to interact with patients, and other things necessary to keep the dental office running smoothly. (College Board: Inspiring Minds, Dental Assisting).In general, dental hygiene and dental assisting have a very similar approach to school and training.

A person must have a high school diploma for both to even be admitted in the program. Hygiene takes an overall amount of four years when you add in your prerequisites, while assisting requires you to attend school for one or two years. In dental assisting you are often involved in on-the-job-training, where as hygiene doesn’t necessitate you to take such a thing. Normally, you get your Associate’s Degree and you are often able to work after all the necessary tests have been taken.Even though dental hygiene and dental assisting are often confused, after having the facts laid out, you see there are many different aspects respectively to the two careers. Whether it is what their actual responsibilities are through out their work day or what it takes to become a hygienist and assistant.

? Bibliography Career: Dental Assistants. (n. d. ). Retrieved April 25, 2010, from College Board: Inspiring Minds: http://www. collegeboard.

com/csearch/majors_careers/profiles/careers/105559. html Career: Dental Hygienists. (n. d. ).

Retrieved April 25, 2010, from College Board: Inspiring Minds: http://www. ollegeboard. com/csearch/majors_careers/profiles/careers/106493. html Important Facts About Dental Hygienists. (n. d. ).

Retrieved April 25, 2010, from American Dental Hygienists’ Association: http://www. adha. org/careerinfo/dhfacts. htm United States Department of Labor. (n. d. ).

Retrieved April 25, 2010, from Bureau of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Dental Assistant: http://bls. gov/oco/ocos163. htm United States Department of Labor. (n. d. ). Retrieved April 25, 2010, from Bureau of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Dental Hygiene: http://bls.

gov/oco/ocos097. htm

Author: Elijah Sanchez


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