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Dental Hygienist to Dentist

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by dentalhygienist, Apr 29, 2012.

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  1. dentalhygienist

    dentalhygienist

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    I looked around on the past threads trying to find some "recent" information or opinions, but I was unable to find anything current regarding a practicing hygienist deciding to return to school for dentistry.

    I've been working in a wonderful family practice under a great DMD for the past 2 years since I graduated with and Associate of Science in DH (2 years pre-reqs, 2.5 years in the DH program at Indiana University Dental School) and he has asked me several times why I didn't go for dentistry in the first place. He believes my work ethic and understanding of dentistry as a business and background of dentistry is perfect for me to become a DDS. ( he will be retiring in about 10 years and jokes I should go back to school and try to get into dental and take over his practice, which I would LOVE to do.) I know my knowledge and background in the dental field will help me excel in the clinic and class aspect of dental school and I feel if I'm ever going to do this, this is my time at the age of 24. I also have experienced dentistry and KNOW it is what I want to do. BUT, I have fears, like most future dental students. Loan debt is a big one! Also, going back to school to finish the remaining science pre-reqs while working part-time. AND going through all this, applying and not getting accepted.
    My questions are...Have any hygienist have done this after working a few years as a hygienist? And, how many more pre-reqs did you have to complete and were you able to still work as a hygienist during those courses?

    I have not taken the DAT, as I am at the beginning stages of contemplating dental school. My overall GPA was 3.8 prior to DH program, 3.6 at the end. Not sure if they will factor in the hygiene program since the scoring system is very different. (95-100=A, 87-94=B, 75-86=C, below 75 was failing). Overall science without considering hygiene science courses was 3.7.

    Sorry this was a long post, just wanted to get some background info in there...any advice or recommendations are so much appreciated :)
  2. Seahawk

    Seahawk Nothing to do here Gold Donor

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    I know of 2 or 3 right now at my school who are coming back and trying.
  3. TheToothsayer

    TheToothsayer

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    The trick to health care is knowing what you want to do. You clearly have displayed clinical ability and passion. That being said, a DMD acknowledged your work. Your GPA prior to DH school was high. You are clearly capable of doing good work. You are also young.

    The debt isn't anything you can't pay off. I would consider only the rigor of your pre-req courses and if you can satisfy them and the DAT. Have you taken higher level science and math courses before? You will need to take biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, and math courses to prepare for the DAT and satisfy your prereqs. Your GPA will need to be high. While adcoms looks down on community college courses, you experience may make up for it. I recommend attending a 4 year college or university to finish your degree. This may lead to more debt, but dentistry is a commitment. I would not recommend trying to cut corners when your prize is only obtainable through a narrow window.

    Many dental hygienists turn to dentistry.
  4. dentalhygienist

    dentalhygienist

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    Thank you very much for your reply. I agree that I would need to make a full commitment to the remaining pre-req courses to make sure I am a top applicant and do well on the DAT. The pre-reqs for hygiene that I have already completed were 1 semester of Chem with lab, 2 semesters of human anatomy/physiology with labs, Microbiology and Immunology with labs, Psychology, Composition (W131), Interpersonal Communication, and then of course the electives that obtain to healthcare that show a well-rounded background...Logic, Nutrition, Stress Prevention and Management, Personal Health and Wellness, Yoga :), Music etc. Then of course once in the hygiene program our 5 semesters of courses consisted of...Periodontics, Pathology, Head and neck anatomy, oral histology and embryology, chem and nutrition, radiology, dental and med emergencies, local anesthesia, and then clinic (these were first semester...I won't bore you with the rest that we completed) We did take a lot of the same courses as the dental students.

    I feel I do have a good general Chem and Bio background...but obviously it looks as if no classes from the hygiene program will count as "science courses"...which is very unfortunate since they all are dental specific and I will be repeating many of these courses if accepted.

    As it looks right now, I will need to complete. 2 semesters General Chem,1 semester Organic Chem, 2 semesters Physics, and possibly have to retake anatomy and physiology depending on what each school accepts as there anatomy courses. I did not have to take math as a pre-req for hygiene because I tested out of the math course needed, but I would prob take a refresher course at least.

    I passed my Local Anesthesia Indiana Board Exam with a 100 percent and I've been administering local for SRP patients for a few months and LOVE it :) Would love to be on the restorative side of dentistry :)
  5. dentalhygienist

    dentalhygienist

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    I would also not be attending a community college...looking at major universities such an University of Louisville and Indiana University.
  6. DentalDiva RDH

    DentalDiva RDH

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    I will be applying this coming June. I have been working as an RDH just a year now, to many, but just a mere day in dentistry. I completed some of the pre-reqs at a local university while in hygiene school (Bio. 1 and 2 and Chem.1). I tried to squeeze them in along with my hygiene curriculum schedule as best I could to not delay, because I knew I wanted to go to dental school after hygiene. After I graduated, got my license and found work I took the remaining sciences Chem.2, Physics 1 and 2, Orgo 1 and 2, the labs for those and I am currently finishing up some labs, as well as studying for the DAT and working full time. It's possible. I had to take all the pre-reqs. because while some dental schools considered them fulfilled based on my transcript, most I am interested in considered them to be basic intro. chem. and bio. courses, which in hindsight, after taking all those courses and DAT studying, they were, so I'm glad I had to take them. It's definitely university specific, so I'm not sure if yours were also basic, instead of those that, lets say, pre-dent/pre-med students would take? Yes, it is grossly unfortunate our dental related courses, aren't consider science, I suppose just don't be discouraged about that, admission committees will see these grades, and they will take note you did well.

    Anyways, hope this helped a little with your faith, especially. It's completely possible while working, it's great you're figuring it out now, as it is easy to fall into complacency. Don't be scared, you clearly have great capability and most importantly you're passionate.
  7. Msmouth

    Msmouth

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    Please PM me.....most here have heard my boring story...

    In a nutshell I have been a dental hygienist for over 15 years and decided to go back to school to get into dental school.
  8. doc toothache

    doc toothache

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    It sounds like your interest in dentistry stems more from the compliments/patting on the back you have been receiving rather than from a genuine interest in the profession. There must be a reason why all ds do not consider your courses "science courses". In spite of your feeling of being well prepared in bio/chem, keep in mind that the courses you took were not designed for science/engineering majors. While, no doubt, it is very possible to follow the yellow line to ds, be prepared to work much harder than you believe at the moment.
  9. dentalhygienist

    dentalhygienist

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    I'm genuinely interested in becoming a dentist, otherwise I wouldn't be going through all of this. I know what it entails and I know the hard work it will take to be successful in the dental program. I also know the personal sacrifices, such as putting off having children etc. Trust me, I wouldn't be putting myself through all this just because I like the thought of being a dentist. I was originally signed up for pre-dental courses in college and quickly switched to pre-dental hygiene because I was planning on playing college softball and was told it would be impossible to be a college athlete at that university and make the grades necessary for dental school. Although I wish I would have stuck it out, I love hygiene and do not regret pursuing that degree. It fits me perfectly, but I feel dentistry fits me perfectly period. I've worked for 2 years in a wonderful office and would not leave that dental team unless I knew for sure this is what I want to do.
  10. dentalhygienist

    dentalhygienist

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    And yes, I realize my basic science courses are not what are needed for dental and I will be taking much harder/advanced courses than I was previously used to, but the hygiene curriculum in the program was very strenuous and I was easily able to handle the work load and clinic. So, I feel like I will be able to complete the required pre-reqs still needed and work as I am and still be a competitive applicant. I was just stating I wish the science courses I took in hygiene counted towards a bachelors degree of some sort. I realize that's not possible. Just stinks to have 112 credits and an associates of science in hygiene out of it.
  11. TheToothsayer

    TheToothsayer

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    It's really not all that bad. Your previous courses and experience will help you significantly in your relevant science courses, the DAT, dental school and out in the profession.
  12. FreeFallin

    FreeFallin

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    :thumbup:
  13. rdhbstodds

    rdhbstodds

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    I am also going through your same situation; I am a RDH starting to take courses to apply to dental school. I am wondering why everyone is saying not to take the classes at a community college. I have found this to be my only option while continuing to work full time. I am fully committed to applying to dental school, like the original post I have worked in the field for 2 years and know this is what I aspire to do. I am willing to try and cut down on my hours while taking pre-requisites if necessary but I want to know what is so wrong with community college? I have my BS in health science from a university and then Iwould be completing the necessary courses through community college. Is this going to lessen my chances of getting into Dental school?
  14. toothfairyy

    toothfairyy

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    there are probably 4-5 DHs in my current class. They transitioned in nicely and had an advantage in terms of the material for dental occlusion and some lab work due to their experience too.

    Figure out if you are willing to take the plunge. If you are satisfied with your current career, then you don't have to switch over, because only if you truly want it- is the time and money commitment worth it. But if you feel like you should progress to DDS, then acknowledge that not getting in & loans are the two biggest worries for ALL applicants, so it is a risk that you must be willing to take.
  15. Msmouth

    Msmouth

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    Hey fellow RDH's please PM me, maybe we can be facebook friends and keep tabs of our progress and support each other ( :

    I am applying this summer

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