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super_d

Dental Hygene Before Dentistry?

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So I have all of my pre reqs done for dentistry and am not really interested in finishing my science degree. I was wondering if anyone has thought of doing the dental hygiene program instead of finishing sciences? Would this possibly give you an advantage over other applicants with the experience that you obtained in a dental setting (plus give you an awesome summer job while in dental school)?

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This is similar to what my best friend did. She applied to hygiene and dentistry after her 3rd year (of science), and got into hygiene. She decided to go into hygiene because it would give her experience working with the tools, and it would also give her a solid back-up if she didn't get into dent when she re-applied the next year. If having a degree at the end is something that you want (since hygiene is only a 2-year certificate program) some universities offer a 3 year degree and certificate program. The sweet thing about the 3 year program is that you get your certificate after the 2nd year, so you can work as a hygienist while you're in your last year.

 

In terms of gaining an advantage from an admissions stand point, most schools give equal weight to all programs/don't give special consideration for programs. An Arts student and a Science student would have the same shot at getting in to Dent (provided they met admissions requirement), so doesn't really make sense to grant preference to students in hygiene. The only real advantage would be after you get accepted since you'd already have relevant clinical experience.

 

Hope that gives you some insight. If you really don't want to finish your science degree, but know that you want to work in the dental industry, then hygiene might be a good choice since it's a better fall-back than a science degree ;)

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I always thought if I had to do it again, I would have gone for dental hygiene as opposed to biochem. The way I see it, there are multiple advantages though all unrelated to admissions. First, you will have already established a network of dental offices from which to seek job opportunities if you worked beforehand. You will have one less skill set to worry about - dental school is jam packed so if you have more time to devote yourself to other skills, the better. If you expect to work in the big cities, you will be doing a lot of hygiene as a way to keep your schedule going so the more efficient you are at it, the more you can do (though only if you have the patients to fill those spaces). Also, as you develop your fine motor skills in hygiene school and indirect vision, this will give you a huge advantage in acquiring those restorative skills in dental school.

 

It makes sense to me to study hygiene if you are adamant about going to dental school.

 

So I have all of my pre reqs done for dentistry and am not really interested in finishing my science degree. I was wondering if anyone has thought of doing the dental hygiene program instead of finishing sciences? Would this possibly give you an advantage over other applicants with the experience that you obtained in a dental setting (plus give you an awesome summer job while in dental school)?

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I am not sure what dental hygiene is like in your provinces, but in Ontario it is a two-year college diploma. So I am not really sure why it would be worth it if dentistry was really your ultimate goal. It would simply add an extra two years of school on, and no courses would transfer over, and while you would have connections perhaps it would be hard to argue that someone with a 3.7 GPA who studied dental hygiene for two years would be a better dentist then someone with a 3.9+ GPA who did not. Although, I wonder whether GPA is actually a good indicator of dental skills, but that is how things are done either way.

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You can get a degree in dental hygiene through UBC at least. Heck, you can even get a masters or PhD in hygiene.

 

Also, one of my classmates was a hygienist before starting dental school and I can tell you there are advantages. It's not about being a better dentist, but rather what helps you out whether in school or starting out. I can tell you Biochemistry to me is just a piece of paper with little meaning or just a stepping stone. From my class, I saw advantages in hygiene, assisting, and pharmacy whether later or just during dental school. Yes, one of my classmates was a dental assistant and she transitioned quite well to the clinical portion.

 

I am not sure what dental hygiene is like in your provinces, but in Ontario it is a two-year college diploma. So I am not really sure why it would be worth it if dentistry was really your ultimate goal. It would simply add an extra two years of school on, and no courses would transfer over, and while you would have connections perhaps it would be hard to argue that someone with a 3.7 GPA who studied dental hygiene for two years would be a better dentist then someone with a 3.9+ GPA who did not. Although, I wonder whether GPA is actually a good indicator of dental skills, but that is how things are done either way.

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I always thought if I had to do it again, I would have gone for dental hygiene as opposed to biochem. ....

 

...It makes sense to me to study hygiene if you are adamant about going to dental school.

 

I agree with everything Adversary said. If you are 100% sure that you want to work in the dental industry, then hygiene would be a good way to go, especially if you know that you have no interest in finishing your science degree. There might not be an admissions advantage, but if you can keep your GPA up (or improve it) then why not try for Hygiene.

 

@super_d how many years have you completed, and have you tried applying for dentistry yet?

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That is true, but a hygienist makes $40 to $55 per hour in the west. In fact, my current hygienists shockingly make close to $120K/year because of the way my boss sets up his unique pay scale. Alternatively, a bachelor's in science can potentially net you a lab job paying $20K to $40K/year with the lower end for academic labs. I think the difference in price is worth it.

 

Good Point.

But the important thing to be aware is that hygiene education at UBC is a lot more expensive than standard B.Sc. option.

 

http://www.dentistry.ubc.ca/Education/Hygiene/EntryToPractice/PDF/ProjectedCosts-ETP.pdf

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Good Point.

But the important thing to be aware is that hygiene education at UBC is a lot more expensive than standard B.Sc. option.

 

http://www.dentistry.ubc.ca/Education/Hygiene/EntryToPractice/PDF/ProjectedCosts-ETP.pdf

 

UBC sure knows how to rake in the dough. 4 years program for DH. Gez, you can do that in a community college in 2 years at half the cost!

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