Dental Hygienists And Their Struggles With Respect In Education

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We would like to share with you, what are the specifics impacts, characteristics of the career, and maybe even personality attributes that draw people toward and apart from the dental hygiene profession? What is required to make it happen once selecting this career? We will try and identify the problems many students face when trying to pursue this career. They are interested in together with the dental hygiene program which is an extremely competitive, has a one way lane, and it can only be a one way each direction. You essentially must be a straight "A" student in all your courses in order to be the top twenty students. Dental Hygienists can create his or her own flexible working schedule. They are not restricted to a regular forty hour week working schedule.

Fam: Elementary

Elementary school has a huge impact on a person's career path. In Elementary a child learns how to read, and they take that with them throughout their whole career and lifelong path. The school system in elementary also has a huge impact on a child due to the surroundings and the curriculum given to individuals. It's also important because the teachers are a huge impact to every child and the materials given to them as well. Lastly, I would like to mention an individual child's ability to learn that's greatly influenced by Louanne Johnson's book and Charles Murray's book as well. The author stresses the contraindication that's influenced by these abilities. The influences are things such as incompetent inherited flaws and/ or simply alerted notifications called abilities.

Elementary school holds an important factor pertaining to future goals in Dental Hygiene. Reading is an important factor because it helps to improve our academic goal in Dental Hygiene helping us understand and indulge in the curriculum. Reading is an important factor in Dental Hygiene because Hygienist needs the specific ability to understand and comprehend what's being treated. In the book, The New Public School Parent by Bob Chase he asserts, "One of the most valuable contributions you can make is to find a steady diet of books that are appropriate to your child's reading level and will engage him" (216). This shows that reading dictates a child understanding; therefore, it's important to choose the right level of reading for each child to help them understand. Learning how to read is an asset for a child's future because it helps us prepare the future work force in Dental Hygiene.

The school system in elementary school plays an important role because they're the sole providers for a safe, healthy and educational program. The most important thing in elementary is a concentration, and I think that teachers should help students if they're distracted from learning. In Barron's Guide to medical and dental schools by Saul Wischnitzer and Edin Wischnitzer they assert that, "Your position in the classroom can influence your level of concentration. If you and your attention wandering, try to move to a place that is preferably near the front and, if possible, near the center, try to avoid sitting in a crowded area" (37). The author basically explains the importance of sitting in the front seat, to better understand and comprehend the important facts you can learn at school. Therefore, I think it's an important to learn in elementary and not be distracted at such an early age. If confrontations occur and not every student has the opportunity to sit in the front then I think small class room sizes and should occur and good note taking as well. Students can always stay after and ask any questions that he or she feels like they didn't get to utilize during the class. Whether because it was too crowded or what not. This is a good practice, especially in relation to the Dental Hygiene because Dental Hygienist needs to have a good concentration level in order to perform their duties. Good practice on concentration level's because a Hygienist job curriculum is very crucial. They are always under a lot of pressure, and focus is an important factor.

Lastly, I'd like to mention the various abilities that have associations with elementary school. In the book Real Education by Charles Murray he mentions that, "We have reason to hope that sometimes in the future, technologies for early intervention that produce dramatic and permanent change will be developed" (50). This shows that even the author agrees in the importance of early development. That's why it's very crucial for a child to learn at a very young age. Kids are very intelligent and at such a young stage they have the ability to enhance in anything given the amount of support from teachers. Early technology comprehends things such as special classes needed for those who have trouble learning in a different way due to their inability to learn at the grade level like most children's. Other technologies that Murray also stresses about are things such as different techniques to teach a child because of the different abilities that they're born with. This is good key relevance in early child development. In the book, The Queen of Education by Louanne Johnson she asserts that, "Well trained teachers know how to motivate" (21). The author explains the important role that teachers should have to help improve a student's ability with inspiration.

Susan: Junior High

Most people think that they can wait until they get to college to decide their career goals; however, that's not the case for everyone. The earlier people make their career goal, the easier they can succeed. Junior high school can be considered as a sort of bridge that links between elementary and high school. Students in junior high school, they need to learn some basic math, science, geography, history and other subjects. In this way, the advantage of a preparatory with different branches of knowledge can let students get to know which subjects. They are interested in before high school. If you decided you're major as dental hygiene when you were in junior high school, you would have paid more attention to those science classes such as chemistry, biology, and physics in order to let you have a strong foundation for the harder science classes in high school and college. As what Miss J states that "educating our children are as important as performing brain surgery, seeking justice in the courts, or running a profitable business (20)." Education is important to every child because a human being can learn the most when they are young; the younger they are, the more knowledge they can obtain in their brain in general. As dental hygiene, for instance, if a child started studying it when they were in junior high school, and they only focused on the science classes and put less attention for other subjects such as math, geography and some other general classes those have nothing to do with dental hygiene major. I understand that the education system wants children to learn as many subjects as they can when they are young in order to figure out what they really want to be in the future; but did the system think that many children are struggling with some certain subjects whom they will never be good at and will never be interested in? Why can't the system let the children learn whatever? They have an interest instead of making them to learn something that they do not like? Keep in mind that children are our society's hope and educating them is important.

Some researchers did a survey to 186 students enrolled in "Perspectives in Dental Hygiene" at a state university in Minnesota found out that the most influential factor on Dental Hygiene was impacted by an introductory career course, and they also found that the most influential people for career choice were dental hygienists, dentists, mothers and some seniors. In another word, students in junior high can get the most influences from teachers. Miss J states that" Well-trained teachers know how to teach. And when teachers teach, students learn. Attitudes and behavior improve (21)." Children in young age tend to find a role model to learn from and imitate; educator should take a serious look at this and let the children know what they really want to be when they are young and teachers are playing an important role for children as well because most children imitate parents as a priority, and then are teachers. In order to let children to have their major as soon as possible, teachers should understand that children will imitate them whenever and teachers should behave like themselves and do not have any bad influenced to the children because that would ruin a child's life.

Once people get the Dental hygiene baccalaureate degree, they are still moving on and get higher educating and experiences. We will never stop. Personal satisfaction, additional knowledge, increasing career opportunities, status of a degree, and access to graduate education is primary motivators for undertaking additional dental hygiene education. As what Murray says "the elite is already smart. It needs to be wise (109)." People who can get the dental hygiene baccalaureate degree are already an accomplishment because it requires an intense studying, and you need to be one of those top score students in order to get in. Taking those complicated classes is a big challenge and passing them with a good grade is another big oracle. However, as people are moving on everyday; they do not just stop where they wanted to be, instead, they go even further. There are many positions higher than dental hygienist, and they require you to study more and have more experiences. "Studies can never stop" says by some Chinese poem; it's so true; there is endless knowledge in the world, which would be able to know everything? You can also say that human beings are greedy, and they will never be satisfied as what they are having now; who do not want more money? Same theory as Dental hygienists, they get to one point. They move to the next. There are always something better if you keep working on it; there are always something new and interesting if you keep waling forward. People who want to be in this field, they need to know there's no end of knowledge but move on! As Murray states" to prepare an elite to do its duty (113)." Do not simply think that being a dental hygienist is the end of your goal; it might be the beginning of your life!

Ray: High School

As in many careers, we always face many obstacles or challenges. We must overcome when making our career choices, deciding to be a dental hygienist isn't any different. Charles Murray states in his book "Real Education", "Schools have no choice but to leave many children behind" (43). In my opinion, our school system isn't challenging the students enough. Therefore, causing them to fail within their education later in life, there is a gap in between the students who don't need to be challenged and do well in school. There are also those who need to be challenged to be able to reach and understand their potential. In analyzing what he is saying, I gather that our school system is not doing its job in establishing a path for students to take, or make an educated decision about their future in any profession. For example, I want to become a dental hygienist, as early as Jr. High School, but I will keep it relatively as close to College as possible, so I will talk about High School. Counselors should take the role of a secondary parent to an extent; simply because that is their job and career they have chosen. They must know that such responsibilities come with such a demand; especially those of helping students plan a future based on what Murray calls abilities. In high school, we take a variety of classes. However, none of those classes (at least in my own experience) are connected with what they can potentially lead towards a certain career. For example, in the journal titled "Who wants to be a dental hygienist" Paul R. Palmer stated that "Students interested in a future career in dental hygiene should take high school courses in biology, chemistry, algebra, English, health occupations/medical professions education, geometry, psychology, computer skills, physical education, and speech." Now, if I was told that taking speech, biology and math classes could prepare me for a dental hygienist career, I would have potentially asked questions like "what is a dental hygienist?" and "what do they do?" This would have led me to potentially be interested or at least get educated. I believe this to be the job of the teachers within our high school years, and the counselors, as this is mainly their whole job description. The counselors should have a quarterly meeting with all the students whom they are assigned to, talk and explore such paths. It is my strongest believe that if this was discussed or at least made an effort with me during high school, this would have opened my eyes to a different journey, or perhaps not- but surely a different one I am currently living.

During my research into dental hygiene, I was able to gather some problems that we face, not being educated enough about this particular career and the path we should take. For example, Angela L. Monson, RDH, PhD, mentioned in her article "Career Influences and Perceptions of Pre-Dental Hygiene Students" and "dental hygiene career choices are and have been identified by dental hygiene professionals and someone who are already dental hygienists." In short, Dr. Monson is stating that people who decide to go into the dental hygiene career path are due to and influenced by those whom are already professionals within the career, more than any other influence elsewhere. She goes on to also state that, "the age when most students choose dental hygiene as a profession was 16-20 years of age." With this being said, I focus my attention towards counselors and teachers in high school, and the impact they can have on a student in choosing such careers or at least pointing them towards that direction. During these years of high school is when school faculty in these case teachers and counselors should be gathering ideas and information about every particular student and their abilities, so they can better understand in what directions, they should point each student. In my opinion, there should be some kind of after school program or an internship that is developed in high school that leads to a recruitment into a dental hygienist and dentist. Students will be able to pursue and get to educate about what it takes to become a dental hygienist. Perhaps letting the students know that they are more likely to be successful in this field, if they take the classes mentioned above.

In an attempt to find a solution to these problems, education faces a better way to introduce these programs and goal orientated careers to teens in their high school years. I can think of the book by Lou Anne Johnson called "Queen of Education", where she states that "No classroom in this country shall have more than 20 students" (15). To me, this is a very powerful statement. Speaking from personal experience, along with the experience of Ms. Johnson, in her teaching career, I can relate from both perspectives. In high school, I was enrolled in classes, which had more than twenty students sometimes up to fifty. Throughout the school year, my opinion on this is that educating all the teens at the same time and about the same thing is impossible. We all have different learning experiences as stated by Charles Murray. When he says, "ability varies, and it varies a lot." (29). It's my opinion that it does vary differently in every student. Having more than twenty students at one time only lowers that ability and increases the challenge for the teachers in educating the students. Our teacher and counselors are overwhelmed with the overcrowded schools and classrooms. It has been well documented in college that, to pursue this career. One needs to develop highly in science and math classes, along with other classes that are not identified in high school and sometimes too late in college.

In the event and effort to fix these problems in our education system, which is currently facing in translating these messages to the students about what classes they should take, which will pertain to certain careers. I propose what Ms. Johnson proposed. That is to invest in finding solution to decrease class sizes in our schools and once that occurs, it's my belief that the teacher will be able to have more one on one time with the students. While developing or helping students figure out what skills are necessary. Counselor will hopefully lead the students down a path of a career, in this case being a dental hygienist. I propose that, this country needs to make a real effort in improving our education system. If need be, they must step in, appoint one teacher or educator who has shown exceptional advancement in their field to bring our education system upside down, shake it and see what trash comes out. We need to send letters to Congress and to our local authority. We need to sign petitions and keep writing them without stopping. Regardless how many times they get rejected or ignored, someone will eventually listen and perhaps pay attention enough to change the system. It is also my strong believe that our school systems should put a system in place to identify someone with strong points as those defined by Charles Murray along with abilities. They should have programs in place that would focus on the many different majors and careers. For example, Nursing; Dental Hygienist, or the many other fields which are available. Once these abilities have been established and exposed to the students, leading them down that path would be easy and at the same time a successful journey. Setting these programs in place and making an effort to change the current system perhaps could eliminate the negativity of failure which comes to be a disaster for most of the students and the dreams in our lives.

Isabelle: College

Before being qualified to apply for the dental hygiene program, a student has to finish about forty semester units' courses as prerequisites. Many of these classes are required to be completed within a short period of time. It is normal for a student to spend one to two years to complete the prerequisites prior applying for the program. Due to these tons of prerequisite requirements and there are other factors, which can delay the process as well. For instance, students might not be able to add the class that they want to take because too many students register for the same class. Usually, students will take two science classes the most each semester to maintain high GPA points since most of the dental hygiene programs are based on GPA. Make an appointment with a counselor to talk about all the prerequisite courses that you need to take so you do not need to take unnecessary classes which school does not require. To finish all the prerequisites on time with good grades makes it even harder for the students to apply for the program that they interested in. According to Miss Scoles, the head director of the dental hygiene program in Chabot College, students need to have a strong science background in order to apply and be successful in the dental hygiene program. As a student who majors in dental hygiene, I have experienced the challenges to do well in all the classes but having different obstacles to get good grades in the prerequisites, especially in science classes. Since I am in the program already, I understand that having adequate science knowledge is very important for students to do well in the dental hygiene classes. Murray states: "Ability varies and it varies a lot" (29). It is true that students' abilities are different in different classes. Some of them may feel science classes are easy but some of them may struggle a lot to get even a passing grade. Unfortunately, passing grades do not work well for applicators. Educators should find some ways to help these students because they study so hard and want to get the best grade in order to apply and qualify for dental hygiene. How can we solve this problem? Having more knowledgeable tutors can be one solution. Most of the tutors work at school for only one semester than they will quit. The main reason that they do not want to work as tutors at school are because of the salary. Schools only pay the minimum wage which is too low when comparing to the tutors that work outside of school, such as independent tutors that tutor middle school students during after school programs. Schools usually get the funding for tutoring programs from the government, but they always say they are short of budget. If schools can solve this problem, improve the tutoring program, and use more funding on it, students will have a better chance to succeed in the future.

After finish all the prerequisites, students can start to apply for the program. It is a challenge since many students may be qualified but there are only limited spaces for the program. The dental hygiene program at Chabot College begins once a year in the fall semester and accepts twenty students into each class. Because of there are many applications will be received, which exceed this number. School places students on points based system. The points are derived from the overall college grade point average, such as grades in Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, English, Psychology, and Speech. If students get high grades on these courses, they have a better chance to get more points and to be selected for the program. It is not necessary to be a resident of the college's district in order to be placed into the program, but there are five additional points are awarded to students who are residents of the district. The program director recommends students to take all or most of the general education requirements for the Associate of Arts degree prior to starting the Dental Hygiene program. The two year dental hygiene program is an intensive course of study involving lectures, clinical work, and laboratories. There is very little time for additional courses to be taken outside of the program.

Before applying for the program, one needs to make sure dental hygiene is the right field that he/she would like to be in. Hisako, a registered dental hygienist, suggests that students who want to apply for the dental hygiene program, needs to find out what do hygienists do, know what their job is. Dental hygienists are primary oral health care providers, which mean they work in a patient's mouth. They provide oral health care education to patients who work in private dental offices. They can do research, and public health. Some of the applicants only know that dental hygiene is a very good career, and they apply because they can make a lot of money. It is better to do an observation in a dental office to see the actual work the hygienist does. It is very important to make sure you like the work they do, and you want to do this kind of job for future. Some students got into the program but dropped out after one or two semesters because they found out it was not the right career for them, which wasted their time and money. For example, one of the previous graduates told me there was a girl in her class dropped out after one year of school because she found out working in people's teeth and scaling for hours is boring. Referring to money, this is a big issue to some applicants. Anything related to the medical field is going to be expensive. Dental hygiene program is not an exception. If you are selected, you will receive a letter from the program. The letter will inform you that you are placed into the program, also; you will need to send in a $6,000 check for the instruments in order to secure your spot. If you do not have the money to pay, they have the right to kick you out of the program. So applicants not only need to prepare the prerequisites, also need to prepare the money as well.

After students are placed into the dental hygiene program, be prepared to study hard. The program includes courses such as Clinical Dental Hygiene, Dental Radiology, general and Oral Pathology, Community Dental Health, Pharmacology, and Periodontic. These are just a few of the courses in the program. There are exams, quizzes, competencies (instrumentation, sterilization procedure, and local anesthesia), and practical (patient care) every single week. Furthermore, there is a huge amount of homework too. The average of the sleep hours is about five hours a day. From the second semester of the program, students are required to see real patients for cleaning and taking x-rays. There are certain requirements for the patients and students need to find their own patients. According to Murray, "interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, and logical-mathematical are the invaluable all-purpose tools" (23). They can be reflected in the dental hygiene program, and these abilities are extremely important. Students do not need to be very good at every ability, just a little of each ability will be beneficial. In order to be successful in the program, you need to have friends, that mean you have to have interaction with your classmates since many classes require group work. You can sense others' emotions, needs, and work well with others. Furthermore, you need to express yourself enough to let others know you better, understand your thoughts and know yourself. The logical-mathematical is important to help you in basic numbering, such as when you give local anesthesia to your patients you need to calculate how much cartridge you need based on the patient's body weight. Students will be paired up to do exercises before treating real patients. If you do not know how to interact with others and express yourself, it will be very difficult for yourself and others. Even for real patients, you need to have these abilities in order to deliver the best service. You need to communicate with patients all the time, let them know the procedure that you are going to give and go over home oral hygiene care with them.

"No classroom in this country shall have more than twenty students," Miss Johnson states in her book The Queen of Education (15). Small classes do have more advantages than bigger classes. The dental hygiene program only accepts twenty students the most each year. In small classes like this, instructors can help every single student in the class. They have more time to correct student's homework and do one on one teaching; for instance, dental hygienist needs to know different instrumentation technique, instructor can do four demos with five students each group then watches them demo back based on a one on one teaching. Students can learn better this way. During the program, students are required to do some community service work. They can go to schools to teach children how to maintain a good oral health or go to some clinics to volunteer. Since there are only twenty students, it is easier to assign the work. Students in dental hygiene are kind of special. They have their own break room separated from the school's cafeteria. They have microwave and refrigerator, so they do not need to wait in the long line in the cafeteria to microwave their food.

Educational system has problems, and dental hygiene program has a problem existing as well. The most unfair thing for students is instructors playing favorites. When instructors do that, it really affects the student's confidence and brings the students down; f may confuse the student. He/she does not know what things they or should not do. It is understandable that everybody has their right to like or dislike somebody else, but not as teachers at school. When they play favorites, they become unprofessional and not fair to other students. There are contradictions between some of the instructors, and they do things involve the students, that makes some of the students' life miserable. One time a student needed to check in for medical history form with an instructor, that instructor was talking on the phone and let that student waited for one hour. Students cannot do anything about that, the only thing they can do it to bear it. Some of the graduates already warned us before they leave.

Having friends in the dental hygiene program is another important factor to be successful. Since students need to find clinic patients by themselves, and it is better to look for patients together and share all the patients whom they found. During clinic days, students need to be in the clinic early in order to get ready for patients. It includes 15-minute sterilization processes and some paper work. If you were running late, for some reason, you can just call your friends to help you set up the operatory which includes sterilize the room, put barriers on, sharp instruments, and set up instruments, so you can see patient on time. The most important thing is that you can complain to them, talk to them, and cry in front of them. They what is happening to you, so they know how to comfort you. Nobody can understand your stress except your friends in the same programs like you, even your family members will not be able to understand your stress.

Most of the courses in the dental hygiene program are related to science, so having the strong basic science background can make student life easier in the program. After student graduate from the program, they will get an AA degree which does not seem reasonable to a lot of people. Since their courses are all based on the science background, why can't they get the AS degree? If you want to work in a private dental office, an AA degree is good enough. To me, there's no difference between AA and AS but AS sounds more intelligent. A lot of graduates went to continue education to get their bachelor degree after they were graduated. It does not necessary to have a bachelor degree dental hygiene, can be any major. Dental hygienists who have their bachelor degrees have a wider career selection. They do not need to be stuck the private dental office only. They do research or teaching as well.

Moy: Career / On the Job

Dental hygienists play an important part in a dentist's office. Dental hygienists assist patients to clean teeth in order to remove plaque, tartar, or stains from teeth. They assist the dentist to check patients' teeth and gums, and note down any presence of diseases or abnormalities. Dental Hygienist goes over with the patient after collecting and recording medical information. Working with an assortment of dental instruments, then they clean, polish, and floss a patient's teeth. Depending on what is necessary for the patients, they may take dental pictures, develop X-rays and print the films. They also assist patients to apply fluoride treatments.

Dental Hygienist confirms a patient's medical history and takes vital signs before starting treatment. Hygienists manage with a wide selection of patients who impact the oral health care visits. A complete periodontal examination should be done for all patients. Periodontal illness is easy to manage in its early stages, but it takes careful consideration and records to catch early changes. Advanced periodontal disorder is hard to treat. Loose teeth and swollen gums are common signs of periodontal disease. Patients on routine maintenance interims should have a periodontal exam at least once per annum.

Oral or mouth cancer is difficult to uncover. When it is at the mainly treatable early stages, it is frequently undetected, because there are no simple signs or warnings that exist. It is prominent in getting patients informed. It is up to the patient to receive or decline an oral cancer preview exam. It is the Dental Hygienist's job to get patients better informed about the danger causes for oral or mouth cancer. That way patients may be able to recognize some of the early indications of oral cancer and request examination and treatment while still in stage I, the most treatable of the disease process.

A hygienist is ready to lend a helping hand with suggestions on a patient's dental care during an office visit. For example, suggesting to a patient to switch to a softer brush or better flossing technique. Physical, mental and emotional factors all contribute to how at ease a patient is in the dentist's office. The knowledgeable hygienist may take charge of the situation by alleviating issues that concern the patient and increasing the patient's overall comfort and participation in each professional visit.

Dental hygienists work in germ-free and brightly lit offices. They wear safety glasses, surgical masks, and gloves to shield themselves and patients from infectious diseases. Neck and shoulder pain often occur from sitting in the same position while they are treating patients. The unique feature of this job is the flexible scheduling. Many hygienists work only part-time which allows them to work for several different dentists. Dental hygienists are rank among the fastest growing occupations.

According to Murray in "Real Education, he asserts, "We need certifications, not degree" (156). If Dental Hygienists are rank among the fastest growing occupations, the demand is there. People are living longer and they want to keep their teeth. They will need to spend more money to take good care of their teeth. We clearly need more school programs that specialized in Dental Hygiene where students could take the needed and necessary courses to receive a certification. Instead of allowing only twenty students in the Dental Hygiene Program, could we double that number, or even triple that number? Miss J says, "Well-trained teachers know how to motivate. They know how to lead. They know how to teach. And when teachers teach, students learn" (21). If we can get more well-train teachers, open up more classes to the students, perhaps this may help our economic situation. Teachers will have jobs, students who graduate will have jobs, and more patients will get educated about their oral health. When people have jobs, they are able to spend money and get the economy going to the right direction. We will have more qualified Dental Hygienist to care for patients to educate them to take good care of their teeth.

Dental Hygienists have a responsibility to educate their patients about oral cancer. In order to empower patients to make well-informed decisions about their teeth and overall health, many lives can be saved with early detections. Screenings for oral cancer not simply uncover the disease but also tend to as a learning knowledge for patients. In the article from the Journal of Dental Hygiene 83.3 (2009), "In 2005, during an oral cancer screening of over 800 people in New York and New Jersey, it was discovered that most people did not recognize alcohol abuse as being a risk factor for oral cancer, despite it being the second highest risk after smoking" (134-140). Dental Hygienists have an ethical duty to teach their patients, and educate them to be performed during all phases of dental treatment. This teaching may include pictures, handouts, pamphlets, books, videos, computer presentations, and exchanges.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), 2010-11 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Increasing Growth is estimated to be 36%, 1,230 estimated annual job openings (800 due to growth and 430 due to replacement". The number of employment in 2008 was 174,100 people, in 2018; the projected employment is 237,000 in the United States.


In conclusion, we have discussed and shown you many ways that a dental hygiene can be a challenging one, in the way of education, competition and teaching strategies. We have also presented strong solutions which we believe can improve the way this profession is presented to present and future students who desire to pursue it and make it their career. We hope that you have a better perception what it takes to become and continue as a successful dental hygienist. Empower yourself to have a profession with integrity and to have fun doing it.