Have you ever wondered how you can trust your dentist and their staff? Or perhaps you’ve considered a change of careers and pondered the dental field — or you’ve got a teenager to encourage who wants to become a dentist. Often overlooked and undervalued, those in the dental field have as much — and sometimes more — education behind their profession as those in the general health fields. Whether you’re curious what kind of training your dental hygienist has received or what it takes to become an oral surgeon, look no further.
Dental assistants often act as an extra set of hands around the office. You might encounter a dental assistant cleaning and sterilizing tools, taking X-rays, explaining post-treatment instructions or performing other duties that help dentists and hygienists more smoothly transition from patient to patient.
The education and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state. In New Jersey, dental assistants without any formal education are limited in their duties — they may not be allowed to perform more advanced tasks and might only be doing behind-the-scenes prep work around the office.
Registered dental assistants in New Jersey have at least a high school diploma and are accredited through a state-issued exam. Registered dental assistants also must have completed either an apprenticeship or a certified training program. Assistants who take X-rays must have completed a course and passed an additional exam. Continuing education is required every two years.
Oral hygienists can perform all the duties of an assistant, but they are also trusted to work one-on-one with patients. Oral or dental hygienists may perform cleanings, do routine exams, prep and administer anesthesia before a treatment and even apply decay-preventing treatments.
Licensure and education requirements are left up to each individual state. In New Jersey, dental hygienists have at least an associate’s degree, though some hold bachelor’s degrees in the field. All oral hygienists in New Jersey must complete both a written and a practical exam. If administering anesthesia, they must have additional education and take another written exam. Dental hygienists are required by the state to complete at least 20 continuing education credits every two years to maintain their license, with an additional four hours in anesthesiology education to maintain that certification.
Doctors and Surgeons
If you’ve ever wondered why your dentist seems to know everything, it’s because they do! (Just kidding!) Becoming a dentist requires a lot of schooling — if you’ve got a child in your life who dreams of helping others find their smile, encourage them to start studying now. Most dentists have completed eight years of schooling by the time they earn their degrees — a four-year undergraduate degree and four years of dental school, although some schools offer accelerated undergrad pathways for those dreaming of practicing dentistry.
After school, it’s exams, exams and more exams to obtain the necessary license to practice dentistry. This is pretty universal throughout the United States, including in New Jersey. Dental specialists, such as orthodontists or pediatric dentists, typically require two to four more years of schooling on top of the eight years already spent studying. Dentists are required to obtain 40 hours of continuing education every two years to keep abreast of the latest and greatest things in the field.
What This Means for You
The office of Drs. Krieger and Hur is fully staffed with knowledgeable and licensed personnel. We spend our time getting up to speed with new technology, new techniques and advances in the field to make your time with us even more painless, productive and powerful.
Whether you want to know more about how we came to do what we do, or you’ve got a budding dentist in the family who needs a little encouragement, we’re happy to discuss it at your next checkup. Book your exam now by giving us a call at (201) 560-0606 or secure your spot via email by clicking here.