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How to choose dental hygiene schools in the UK

Dental hygienists play a vital role in helping to prevent tooth and gum problems and work as part of a dental team. This article will show how long it takes to become a dental hygienist and where you can train.

Diploma in dental hygiene

Sometimes, also known as oral health practitioners, dental hygienists work alongside dentists treating tooth and gum conditions. They carry out procedures, such as scaling and polishing teeth and applying topical fluoride and fissure sealants. They can be based in a hospital, where they also help patients who are having surgery or complicated orthodontic treatment. Nineteen colleges offer the two-year (27 months) General Dental Council Diploma in Dental Hygiene to become a dental hygienist.
These are:
-Queens University of Belfast Schools for Dentistry -BSc Dental Hygiene and Therapy Birmingham Dental Hospital -School of Dental Hygiene University of Bristol/ Dental Hospital -Training and Education Centre for DCP’s Cardiff University -Unit of Health Sciences Dundee Dental Hospital -School of Health Sciences Edinburgh Dental Institute -School for Professionals Complementary to Dentistry Glasgow Dental Hospital and School -School of Dental Hygiene and Therapy Leeds Dental Institute -Liverpool University Dental Hospital -School of Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy Eastman Dental Hospital (London) -King’s College Hospital (London) -Bart’s and London Centre for Dental Care Professionals -Unit of Oral Health Science Manchester University -Manchester Outreach –Salford -School of Dental Hygiene Newcastle Dental Hospital -BSc Dental Hygiene and Therapy University of Portsmouth -Programme in Hygiene and Therapy School of clinical Dentistry University of Sheffield Department of Health and Human Sciences University of Essex Subjects studied include anatomy and physiology, preventive dentistry, dental health education, dental pathology and the management and care of patients. Several dental schools offer courses combining dental hygiene and dental therapy.

Entry requirements

Five GCSEs at grades A-C including a biological science plus two A Levels (preferably one a science) at grade A-C are the normal requirement. Some schools accept a dental nursing qualification in place of A levels, but as these courses are popular with limited places available, A levels are often preferred. All dental applications are handled by UCAS, and many students now apply online. Courses start in September each year and for applications to be considered, they must be submitted between June and January of the year prior to the course start date. The earlier the application is made, the better. All dental students undergo a Criminal Records Bureau check and have to fill out a form regarding their personal medical history. They need to have blood tests where screening for particular diseases takes place.
Once they have passed, students must register with the General Dental Council. The General Dental Council at Gdc-uk.org has more information.

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