Wednesday, April 08, 2020

So you want to know what dental hygiene school is like? It really depends on who you ask and what point of the program you ask them. If you would have asked one person their 2nd semester they might say it was like hell, but if you ask them again after they graduate they will tell you that it really wasn't that bad after all.

There are many things you have to go through while in hygiene school that you might think are pointless and stupid, yet there actually are reasons behind most of them. For instance most schools require you find your own patients, call them, confirm them, make follow up appointments, etc. This can be tiresome especially doing this while studying for boards, etc.. but when you have cancellations in real life its often up to you to help the front desk doing these same duties...only this time you get paid for it so your whining is irrelevant.

To me, dental hygiene school was pretty demanding. I would recommend not working during the program if possible because being in the program is just like a full time job. Unless you have a very flexible job, and one that would actually let you study while working... then its going to be tough to keep up with the pace.

 The classes are often pretty intense as it’s a lot of information to remember, a lot of large hard to pronounce disease, bacteria, etc. Memorization skills will help you out but most of it comes from basic comprehension skills of the information your learning.

Different schools have different clinic duties. In my school, as it is in most, you are responsible for finding your patients, scheduling them, confirming them, and finding alternatives if they cancel at the last minute, or even don't show up. Sometimes this can be frustrating but you can get tips on finding patients HERE.

 When in clinic things can tend to move very slowly and this is when students feel like they might want to drop out because it seems boring and too repetitive. Stick with it! You do take baby steps while learning instruments, and in most cases you will learn 1-2 instruments at a time and then practice using those on a mannequin for the remainder of the day. All schools will start you off with a mannequin named "Fletcher" who will become your best friend while you practice. He is the basic approach as he doesn’t complain, doesn’t have a flopping tongue and no saliva to deal with. After him, usually the next victim is a classmate. After learning the various instruments, positioning, etc...It will be time to start on real patients. Its nice to use someone you know as your first patient, that way if you accidently hurt can think of a reason you did it! :-)


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To get your dental hygiene license you will have to take a national board test at the end of the dental hygiene program. This test is comprehensive covering classes you took even before entering the dental hygiene program. The test is an 8 hour multiple choice test with about 350 questions. There is an AM and a PM portion with the AM being multiple choice questions covering any topic, where the PM portion are case studies. Studying for the dental hygiene national boards can be tough, time consuming and stressful. That is why it is important to pay attention while in the program, study hard, and always be sure you understand everything that is being covered. By the time the boards come, you usually feel more comfortable as you can take board review seminars, use websites such as this and form study groups with classmates.

You will meet some of your lifetime best friends in dental hygiene school. No one really understands a dental hygiene student unless you’re another dental hygiene student.

All in all dental hygiene school is very tough but rewarding. Anything rewarding is worth working hard for. You wouldn't want to become a dental hygienist and it is the easiest thing you’re ever done in your life! There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going and hard work does pay off in the end.


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Student submitted comment via website:




Anonymous - Unfortunately all Hygiene schools are not created equal. Our School has only graduated 2-classes and are currently looking for their Fourth Program Director, working with its fourth clinic supervisor and over the past year have lost most of their lead instructors; leaving the students to fend for themselves. Expensive price to pay for a poor education. In addition to all this major chaos, the school has a class action suit, among various individual suits against them regarding the poor administration and the unethical practices of the program. BEWARE! RESEARCH YOUR POTENTIAL SCHOOLS BEFORE GETTING YOURSELF INTO A TOTAL MESS!

 Jessica says - work on a mannequin what’s that?!?! Hahaha, we work on the mannequin for about 10 mins and then off to clinic to poke each other and they expect us to get it!!! It's ssssssoooooooooooooooo frustrating. Our school has an over abundance of teachers if u ask me and they all tell u something different!!! But in the same breath the worst our school has ever done on the boards is top 20% so all the hard work eventually pays off!

Anonymous - The only mannequin we ever see is for dental radiology, we learn all of our instrumentation on each other in Fundamentals of Dental Hygiene one and two, we are given instruction and demonstration, then all the other professors aid the main instructor(for this particular class), they divide us up in our clinic and watch, critique, and help. It is a small program 30 students are accepted each year, I am in my second semester, we are down to 22, and I think the current graduating class has around 15-17 left, because it is not for everyone and our instructors can be brutal. The high standard expected of us is a great thing (if you pass) because you are better because of it. People (non dental hygiene students) around me have no idea how hard it really is, sometimes I feel like I'm in hygiene boot camp, but I like the challenge and working my butt off! I am looking forward to seeing patients and going to the different rotation sites. It really is worth it in the end because although at first I wasn't sure, I have come to realize how wonderful the profession is.


Anonymous - After speaking with other hygiene students I have come to the conclusion that most hygiene instructors are very mean! My school feels like hell. There are girls crying and freaking out on a daily basis. Make sure you can handle A LOT of stress before even considering this profession!Dental experience helps a ton!

 I just graduated from hygiene school this year and looking back it was a long hard road but it was worth it. I never did meet "Fletcher" I used the sim lab one time and after that were practicing on each other. I found that my class was given very tender hands right from the start because we were actually working on alive human beings with feelings. I have read that most of the hygiene instructors are mean from the comments I have read on this page. I would have to disagree with my school. The instructors are super nice and are willing to help you when you need it. I can understand the "boot camp" thing that I can relate to. If you think your instructors are mean; you will learn to appreciate them in the long run. You can't let them get you down; you have to be able to face them you are going to become one of them in a way... I hope everyone finds the right school for them and good luck to all future RDH's!!! Jennifer Rumsey

Anonymous - Let me start off by saying... That the hygiene instructors, we're once a student. And they can come across as mean. However, if they were too easy what good would it do us, and our patients in the end? I have been a hygienist for 5 years now, and not a day goes by that I'm not thankful for the pressure they put on me! It's because they know we're capable of being the best we can be. And as a student at the time... it's the last thing we want to hear is criticism--(I know!!) But Listen, when you begin working on your own, and don't have someone telling you to sit up, or you’re in the wrong position. You'll wish you did!!!! I wish everyone the best of luck and It's a great field to be a part of!!

Kimmie- I'm currently in my second semester of a two year program and I have to say, it is soooo stressful! Clinic sessions are crazy, finding patients that meet requirements is exhausting, and the course work is never ending. But everyone keeps telling me it will be worth it. I got one more year to rough it though. For anyone reading this that is thinking of this as your choice of profession, be sure you want it real bad! It will be a very expensive major change if you decide to quit or flunk out!!!

Anonymous - If you really want to pursue this career make sure that you do not go to a school in its first year. NOBODY knows what they are doing and they keep saying that "you are the pioneers of this program". BULL____! Do not go to CCBC in Maryland for a few years until they work it out.


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