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Starting the new semester I've decided to major in Dental Assisting and hopefully achieve my Certificate/Associate. What are some possible study habits I can maintain to help me be successful in the DA program?

I've been on the Dental Hygeine Waiting List for almost two years now, and I've decided to go back to school for Dental Assisting to get my foot in the Dental Field. With working a part-time job in those two years of waiting I am nervous going back to school and I currently struggle with procrastination, so what are study habits I can build along the way?

Thank you comment icon While getting a certification in dental assisting will ease your entry into the field, as far as I know certification is NOT necessary to work as a dental assistant. Are dental hygiene programs so in demand that there are no placings, or is the problem a location/money thing? If your aim is to become a dental hygienist it seems unnecessary to take the time to get certification in assisting. Your earning potential without the assisting certification will probably be less, but it will get you more comfortable with dental practice sooner if you actually are in a practice sooner. A couple of places you might check for entry-level assisting jobs-- 1--Ask your own dentist 2--Inquire at the Arizona College of Dental Medicine 3--Check with the Arizona Dental Association, which probably maintains a list of dentists looking for assistants. Good luck! Steven Bornfeld

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Doreen’s Answer

Good morning. As a long time Dental Assistant I love your passion. I've been in the business over 50 years and have loved every moment. However, getting to your question. Do I think becoming a Dental Assistant would enhance your career as a Dental Hygienist? Well it certainly won't hurt, but it's not necessary. Learning all the Dental terminology and anatomy would be great. You'd get the basics in a dental Assistant school. There are several in your area. Easy to get in. Most are 2 years. I would assume you already have a four year college degree? Most hygiene schools require that. It's important that if you choose to go to an Assistant school make sure it's accredited as well as the hygiene program. Just a side note.. working in this capacity in any position is taxing on your body. A career as a Hygienist/Assistant can really create issues with hands, neck, back etc. Do yourself a favor and take the ergonomics seriously. Learn the proper techniques at chairside. Your body will love you for it later.. 😊 Best of luck! Doreen Denisty, Lake Havasu City
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Kaitlin !

I commend you for going back to college and entering the Dental Hygiene Program ! It's going to be a most wonderful, interesting and much needed career that you will prepare for and I think you will do very well with this new venture.

There's really nothing to worry about because the journey is a bright experience for your future career. Each step of the way, you will learn new things, meet all new people and become familiar with self-discoveries you never thought about yet. So there's no room for worry, really, you've got this. You have taken active steps towards your long term goal !

You know, we all procrastinate at one time or another. I think it's a natural reaction when we just haven't deemed the thing top priority or we just need a break from something we're putting off. Sometimes it's good to take that "break" to do things in our comfort zone so that we'll have the energy to put into the thing we're procrastinating about. But you have recognized this and now you have a plan and a very meaningful personal choice and it is going to be fabulous. Do not be afraid that you will not adapt to learning. Think about the last time you were in school and the study schedule you had. Once you're in college, it all will come naturally to you and you will feel part of something quite important which will give you positive energy.

With Dental Hygiene, you will have lectures at which you should take notes manually - keep a hard copy notebook of your subjects. Read the textbook as assigned and ask questions if something needs to be clarified. An awesome tool that contemporary students have now a days is access to watching lectures about subjects on You Tube to get additional or supplemental information. If you need more information about one of your subjects, watch a video on You Tube about the subject. You can even watch the videos beforehand to get a sort of primer for when you start your program. This will be a course of study that you can really get into and you will see your enthusiasm grow as you go along. I left a link below for some Dental Hygiene videos on You Tube that you may find interesting.

Just remember, when it comes time for your clinicals, everyone has to start sometime. You just have to keep in mind that you will be helping people in such an important way. Each experience will entail what you've learned but all your patients are different. You will have developed a way to make people feel comfortable in a sort of sometimes stressful situation for them. You will learn everything you need to know about patient care and communication and the program you attend is structured to support you as you take each step forward. There's no room for worry because worry only causes the procrastination. You are going to be just fine.

I would advise studying whatever your professor assigns and not trying to do too much at once. Study every day, go over your lecture notes. Writing notes as you hear a lecture helps you retain the information and pick out the important elements. In college, I found that copious note taking was a huge help to me. I would also advise doing any assignment that same day. It will be completed and you won't have to think about it.

So, I think instead of a list about "how to study", your study structure and schedule are going to come naturally to you. Something that you can think about is forming a study group with classmates that you become friendly with. Just to discuss things and even if everyone understands the material. It would be a supportive and fun way to share ideas and answer other students questions and keep you involved. You will definitely find yourself helping other students.

You have been very patient during the wait time for getting into this program and now you will start the action toward it. It will no longer be just a thought. Try not to anticipate the details, let the program flow naturally for you. Let it unfold for your individual and unique experience !

I hope that this is helpful and, once again, congratulations and I wish you all the best !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

DENTAL HYGEINE VIDEOS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Dental+Hygeine+videos+lectures
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