Dental hygienists work hands-in-gloves with dentists, to maintain the good oral hygiene of dental patients. They may routinely clean the patient’s teeth and also assist the dentist with some other preventative and evaluative dental procedures.
There are several dental hygiene programs in Ontario but before you decide if this is the right career for you, you have to understand the educational and training requirements needed to become a dental hygienist.
Dental Hygiene is a recognized and practiced profession that has been with us for over fifty years. It allows for a wide range of practice environments as it is a dynamic and challenging health care profession.
Some of the practice environments include general dental practices, specialty offices, independent dental hygiene clinics, research and education, and also public health positions.
Dental Hygienists perform several services for their clients and patients, such as scaling and root planing or teeth cleaning, educating clients and patients on oral hygiene, putting sealants on teeth, and teeth whitening. If a dental hygienist wants more duties and responsibilities, further education can be pursued. A career as a dental hygienist has many opportunities.
The majority of dental hygienists work in a community or private dental office. But there are other employment opportunities that are available in a hospital, health clinic, community center, or school setting.
There is a regulatory body for Dental Hygiene in the Province of Ontario – The College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO). To practice Dental Hygiene in this Province, you must be registered with the CDHO.
In the colleges in Ontario, dental hygiene programs are quite popular. The fact that the profession offers lucrative salary expectations in the field might play a role in its popularity.
Although the training requires a discipline of study, excellent communication, and an interest in helping patients maintain their oral hygiene.
These dental hygiene programs in Ontario will provide you with the specific knowledge and also practical experience that is needed to enter the competitive field.
About Dental Hygiene Programs
If you are interested in becoming a dental hygienist and you want to study in Ontario, some facts you need to know about the dental hygiene programs in Ontario are:
- The dental hygiene programs in Ontario colleges consist of work placements, on-campus dental clinical, and other hands-on learning methods.
All these provide students with the practical experience of working with clients in several health and dental settings.
- The programs include fundamental science courses in some key areas such as dental and oral anatomy, physiology, histology, and microbiology.
Students will also learn oral hygiene techniques and procedures that will help them prepare for their role as dental hygienists.
- Through courses in oral examination and diseases, child behavior and its effect on oral hygiene, preventive dentistry, nutrition, and other factors that affect oral health, students will learn to create oral hygiene plans and also provide advice to their patients.
- On the successful completion of a dental hygiene program, students will write the National Dental Hygiene Certification Exam and kickstart their careers. They must get accreditation to practice in Ontario.
How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Ontario
- Complete A High School Diploma Or Equivalent
- Choose An Accredited Dental Hygienist School And Complete An Associate Degree
- Complete A Bachelor’s Degree
- Obtain National And State Licensing
Complete A High School Diploma Or Equivalent:
First, you need to complete a high school diploma if you want to apply to an associate or bachelor’s degree program.
Coursework in biology, anatomy, physiology and other science specializations can be of great help to you.
Choose An Accredited Dental Hygienist School And Complete An Associate Degree:
Now, there are many dental hygiene programs in Ontario for you to choose from, but you would want to choose one that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
You should expect coursework in anatomy, physiology, immunology, and pathology.
Towards the end of the program, you will be expected to complete on-the-job training under the direct supervision of a licensed dental hygienist.
Complete A Bachelor’s Degree:
This is optional because some dental hygienists might choose to pursue employment after completing an associate degree while others might choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
Others might even go on to achieve a master’s degree so they can work in a research or educational manner.
Obtain National And State Licensing:
Licensure from the state and the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination is required to work as a dental hygienist.
State tests vary depending on the state in which you wish to work. The successful completion of both exams will earn you a Registered Dental Hygienist license.
General Dental Hygiene Requirements
The requirements to apply for a dental hygiene program in Ontario might vary from school to school, but some general requirements needed to be accepted into a dental hygiene program are:
- For diploma programs, you are required to have an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, which includes a grade 12 English credit. Grade 11 or 12 chemistry and biology credits are also required.
- For applicants to post-graduate programs, you must be a Certified Dental Hygienist in Ontario with a minimum of one year of work experience.
- There are other non-academic requirements that might also be a part of the admission process, like the submission of a resume or an interview. Be sure to check the program details very well before applying.
Educational Levels for Dental Hygienists
You can work as a dental hygienist with an associate degree, but some students might decide to complete a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree.
In this career, the type of education level dictates the specific tasks and job titles that you qualify for. Let us take a look at the educational levels for dental hygienists:
An Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene prepares you for the job duties of a general dental hygienist. With an associate degree and licensure from Ontario, you are eligible to work in most private dental offices.
A Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Hygiene prepares you to work with dental specializations. This can be a community health clinic or a school setting. When you earn a bachelor’s degree, this can make you a more competitive applicant when you apply for open dental hygienist positions.
If you would prefer to teach and train other students to work in the dental industry, you will need a master’s degree to be able to do that.
Dental hygienists who pursue a master’s degree can also work in careers as prevention specialists or develop local community health outreach programs or be involved in research studies.
Dental Hygiene Programs in Ontario
Let us take a look at some Dental Hygiene programs offered in Ontario universities. We will look at five of them below:
APLUS Institute | Toronto Dental Hygiene School:
APLUS Institute is a well-established dental hygiene college that has been around since 2004. The school has been providing quality education that is career-focused and gives the students a life-long career in dental hygiene.
The intensive program is an 18-month full-time diploma that is led by recognized leaders in the dental hygiene and dentistry profession. The program offered by APLUS is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada.
APLUS Institute Dental Hygiene Program teaches students to become excellent members of the dental health team. A dental hygiene diploma from this Institution is recognized throughout Ontario, Canada, and other jurisdictions.
The curriculum is designed to incorporate advances in technology in the oral health field and involves courses in biomedical sciences, oral health sciences, dental hygiene theory and practice, behavioral sciences, and health education.
Southern Ontario Dental College (SODC):
This is a registered private career college that has gained a strong reputation for being a center of excellence in oral health science. The college provides education in Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene, and Continuing Education to fulfill the quality requirements for dental health professionals. The college has been doing this for over 16 years.
The Dental Hygiene program offered in SODC has an innovative curriculum that is designed to provide students with the necessary required amount of hands-on experiential education.
The ultimate goal of SODC is to help their students become skilled professionals who are committed to lifelong learning in the Dental Hygiene profession. The Dental Hygiene program is known for its quality, its modern and well-equipped facilities, and also its 99% graduation rate.
SODC’s mission includes being committed to the preservation, advancement, and transfer of oral health knowledge and sound clinical practice to their students.
The Canadian Academy of Dental Health & Community Sciences (CADH):
CADH is a Private Career College that provides current, progressive, and quality education in the growing professions of dental hygiene, intra-oral dental assisting, and other community health sciences.
The school was established in 2001 and it is one of the leading dental hygiene and dental assistant healthcare colleges in the Greater Toronto Area. The faculty is comprised of dental hygienists, dentists, and other selected health care professionals.
The teachings are individualized, led by instructors, and are enhanced by current, state-of-the-art clinical and laboratory facilities. The instructors, in addition to specializing in their respective disciplines, also bring a superior level of experience and expertise with them.
These additional exceptional attributes are necessary to enhance the always progressive and evolving content of the dental hygiene, dental health, and community science programs that are offered at CADH.
Canadian National Institute Of Health:
The Canadian National Institute of Health has been successfully serving students since 2006. The spectrum of their Medical and Dental diploma programs provides students with a quality healthcare education.
These programs are designed to get students into the workforce faster than a traditional college or university. The programs promise excellent and exciting pieces of training in your chosen medical and dental fields.
They have experienced instructors, state-of-the-art facilities, and ample opportunity for hands-on training to make a difference.
The institution is accredited by Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC). The diploma programs try to offer a balanced program of instruction in today’s fastest-growing fields. As well as modern facilities, modern equipment, and modern classrooms.
Durham College Dental Clinic:
Students in the Dental Hygiene program at Durham College stand to gain hands-on experience in the campus’s new, state-of-the-art dental clinic. The clinic allows students to practice their pre-clinical skills in client care.
Each student is assigned a dental unit and first-year students enjoy six hours of clinic practice a week, while second-year students enjoy 12 hours of clinic practice weekly.
Students in this program work closely with licensed dentists and experienced faculty in performing dental hygiene care for members of the public.
Is Dental Hygiene School Hard In Ontario?
If you would like a career as a dental hygienist, you should know that there is a lot of hard work between you and your career. This is because attending a dental hygienist school is quite difficult and it requires your full dedication.
But it would be rewarding to you and your career. The long nights of studying and stressful days of learning will all be worth it in the end when you start a rewarding career in dental hygiene.
How Do I Get Through Dental School?
Here are some tips to help you get through a dental hygiene program in Ontario:
- Prioritize For Balance
- Gather a Support Team
- Enhance Your Study Skills
- Focus on the Now
Prioritize For Balance:
Make a list of the essentials, the necessities, and the desirables. Your essentials should be your top priorities, they are all of the things that you need to be functioning at the highest level. They may include personal growth, health, family, and religion.
Your necessities should be next on your list of priorities. They are all of the things that you’ll need to make a schedule for. They may include class times, study times, and study group sessions. The last things you’ll want to add in are your desirables. These are all of the things that you enjoy doing and should do but not at the cost of your essentials and necessities.
Gather a Support Team:
You would need to gather a solid support team to have your back. School is going to throw a lot at you and you are going to have to learn how to deal with the negatives. It would be helpful to have a support team made up of classmates. You all are experiencing the same things together and therefore, should rely on one another for support, comfort, inspiration, and motivation.
Enhance Your Study Skills:
You will need to enhance your study skills. This means learning how you study best and implementing that into your study routine. You should also set aside time for personal study and group study.
Focus on the Now:
Focus on the now and take school one day at a time rather than stressing out about things you cannot control. If your class permits working on big class projects at the end of the semester, work on them little by little, fitting work time around your priority list.
How Much Do Dental Hygienists Make In Ontario?
In Ontario, Dental hygienists and dental therapists usually earn between $26.06/hour and $44.00/hour.