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How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Mississippi

The aim of this article is to help current and future Mississippi residents who have considered becoming dental hygienists learn what is required, in terms of education, and what the job entails.

What is a dental hygienist?

The medical definition of a dental hygienist is “a person trained and licensed to provide preventive dental services, such as cleaning the teeth, usually in conjunction with a dentist.”

What are a dental hygienist’s job duties?

Adding to those described above, a dental hygienist’s responsibilities also include assisting dentists with oral examinations, x-rays, instrument maintenance and providing patient care. Above all, dental hygienists must have a desire to help people improve their quality of life.

What are the educational requirements for dental hygienists?

While specific educational criteria vary from institution to institution, representatives of the American Dental Association (ada.org) offer the following advice to prospective dental hygienists: “High school-level courses such as health, biology, psychology, chemistry, mathematics and speech will be beneficial in a dental hygiene career.”

Contacting the preferred school’s admissions office and inquiring about common prerequisites such as high school or General Educational Development (GED) test transcripts, minimum grade point average (GPA), proficiency examinations and other coursework that may need to be taken is the best way to find out what is required as information on some websites may be outdated.

Are dental hygienists required to be certified in order to legally work in the state of Mississippi?

As of the date of this article, the MS Dental Practice Act states: “Every person who desires to practice dentistry or dental hygiene in this state must obtain a license to do so as hereinafter provided; but this section shall not apply to dentists or dental hygienists now holding permanent licenses to practice provided the same have been recorded as required by law.”

How can a dental hygienist become certified?

The American Dental Hygienists Association (ada.org) has outlined the certification process for dental hygienists in the United States in the following manner: “To obtain your license you must be a graduate of an accredited U.S. dental hygiene program, take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and pass a state or regional clinical licensure exam. Once these steps have been completed, an applicant for licensure must then contact the state licensing authority in the state where he/she wishes to practice.”

Additional information about these requirements can be found by visiting the American Dental Hygienists Association’s website.

Is continuing education necessary for dental hygienists in Mississippi?

Continuing education standards for dental hygienists in the state Mississippi have been defined by the Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners in the following manner: “Every licensed dental hygienist shall be required to have twenty (20) hours [of] documented, approved continuing education. Every year thereafter, each licensed dental hygienist shall have twenty (20) hours of continuing education for the previous two (2) consecutive years. Approved CDE for dental hygienists shall consist of courses approved by the Mississippi Dental Hygienists’ Association (MDHA), American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA), MDA, MDS, AGD, ADA, NDA, or other courses or activities specifically approved by the Board for CDE credit.”

Additional information about approved courses can be found by contacting the Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners directly or by visiting the organization’s website.

Dental Hygienist Salary in Mississippi?

As is the case with all jobs, factors such as experience, location and demand will affect a person’s earnings; however, the United States Department of Labor (bls.gov) determined that the average salary for dental hygienists was $71,100 in 2013.

Where can more information be found?

By joining organizations such as Student Members of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (SADHA), prospective dental hygienists can learn more about the profession and enjoy a sense of camaraderie. Other membership perks include scholarships, employment assistance and assistance with continuing education.

References

Dental Hygienist Education and Training Requirements. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ada.org/en/education-careers/careers-in-dentistry/dental-team-careers/dental-hygienist/education-training-requirements-dental-hygienist

Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.dentalboard.ms.gov/msbde/msbde.nsf

Licensure | ADHA – American Dental Hygienists Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.adha.org/licensure

Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.dentalboard.ms.gov/msbde/msbde.nsf/webpages/Laws_RegsAdopted_reg41/$FILE/regulation41.pdf?OpenElement

Dental Hygienists. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292021.htm

Student Members of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (SADHA) | UDM School of Dentistry. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://dental.udmercy.edu/student/organizations/sadha/

Dental hygienist | Define Dental hygienist at Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dental+hygienist