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Alabaster Albertville Alexander City Andalusia
Anniston Arab Athens Atmore
Attalla Auburn Bay Minette Bessemer
Birmingham Boaz Brewton Brook Highland
Calera Center Point Chelsea Chickasaw
Clanton Clay Cullman Daleville
Daphne Decatur Demopolis Dixiana
Dothan East Florence Enterprise Eufaula
Fairfield Fairhope Florence Foley
Forestdale Fort Payne Fultondale Gadsden
Gardendale Glencoe Greenville Gulf Shores
Guntersville Hamilton Hartselle Harvest
Helena Homewood Hoover Hueytown
Huntsville Irondale Jacksonville Jasper
Lanett Leeds Lincoln Madison
Meadowbrook Meridianville Midfield Millbrook
Mobile Monroeville Montevallo Montgomery
Moody Moores Mill Mountain Brook Muscle Shoals
Northport Oneonta Opelika Opp
Orange Beach Oxford Ozark Pelham
Pell City Phenix City Pike Road Pinson
Pleasant Grove Prattville Prichard Princeton
Rainbow City Rainsville Roanoke Robertsdale
Russellville Saks Saraland Satsuma
Scottsboro Selma Sheffield Smiths Station
Southside Spanish Fort Sylacauga Talladega
Tarrant Theodore Tillmans Corner Troy
Trussville Tuscaloosa Tuscumbia Tuskegee
Valley Vestavia Hills Wetumpka

The Function of Dental Hygienists

Alabama dental hygienist examining boy's teeth

When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Alabama dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:

    • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
    • Administering fluoride treatments
    • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
    • Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
    • Taking and developing X-rays
    • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Training Options

Alabama dental hygienist cleaning female patient's teethBecause of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Alabama dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Hygienist Training

Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Alabama home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.

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