Dental hygienists maintain and promote oral health by providing services and advice designed to help patients manage the condition of their mouths, teeth and gums. They also complete preventative activities such as fissure sealants on adults and children.
A three-year bachelor's degree in dental hygiene will include integrated and compulsory units of academic teaching, clinical skills and practice, and a dissertation comprising taught components in didactics, scientific research and a personal investigation.
Candidates will learn the essentials of the relevant theory before they start practical work at an accredited clinical facility, taking treatment in both the private and public sectors.
What is a dental hygienist?
To become a dental hygienist, applicants should first consider the various educational options that are available. It is important for a hygiene expert to have the skills to create a comfortable atmosphere for the patient during their dental processes, such as cleaning.
Many patients might want an expert who is also educated in holistic health, thus making it possible for the latter to advise his or her client on proper lifestyle and nutrition as primary factors in preventing oral diseases.
What does a dental hygienist do?
A dental hygienist is a healthcare professional with dental hygienist qualifications who specialises in oral health under the supervision of a dentist. More often called dental hygienists, they focus on preventative oral healthcare by cleaning patients' teeth, examining gums and flossing.
These professionals also perform basic dental procedures such as removing plaque and tartar from patients' teeth and checking for signs of oral cancer during routine check-ups.
Some of the duties that they are in charge of, but not limited to, are:
- Cleaning teeth with dental instruments
- Reviewing patient's medical history as well as maintaining accurate records
- Inspecting patients' lymph nodes for signs of swelling and identifying signs of oral cancer
- Examining & probing gums to check for any signs of periodontal disease
- Performing X-rays
- Recording the symptoms of oral disease for the dentist to review and diagnose
- Cleaning, sterilising and organising dental equipment
How to become a dental hygienist in the UK?
To become a dental hygienist in the UK, candidates will need to complete entry-level requirements for a university programme. Most UK universities require five GCSE subjects in grades 4-7 or A-C (in maths and English), two or three A-levels and one of the following: an NVQ Level 2 in dental nursing; Grade C (or 7) in BTEC Extended Diploma; or Level 3 Certificate in Dental Radiology. Be sure to check individual schools' requirements as they may vary slightly from this.
Alternatively, students can also complete a diploma in dental hygiene, oral health science, or dental hygiene and therapy from a General Dental Council (GDC) approved institution.
General entry requirements for admission to a bachelor degree dental hygiene are:
- A*AA = 90% ISC or CBSE
- AAA = 85% ISC or CBSE
- AAB = 80% ISC or CBSE
- ABB/BBB = 75% ISC or CBSE
- IELTS with a score of 7.0 or higher.
Top Dental Hygiene Universities in the UK
University of Plymouth
Dental hygienist courses at the University of Plymouth will provide students with a thorough overview of the science behind the effects of different kinds of foods on our bodies. Students will learn anything from probiotics, prebiotics, vitamins and minerals over to their different properties and what body conditions are most positively affected by consuming certain nutrients.
Course in focus: BSc (Hons) Dental Therapy and Hygiene
Newcastle University offers a degree in dental hygiene that begins with a foundation course in biomedical sciences that will provide a basis for clinical work as the course progresses. Students will study advanced topics that include human diseases, health promotions and managing medical emergencies.
University of Bristol
The University of Bristol Dental Hospital has a long and established history of training programmes in both dental hygiene and dentistry therapy. The BSc Dental Hygiene and Therapy degree from Bristol will provide an exciting opportunity to study alongside undergraduate students in the BDS Dentistry course.
Course in focus: BSc Dental Hygiene and Therapy
Study Dental Hygienist Courses in the UK
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