Access to Dental Hygiene/Therapy
Dental hygiene/Therapy is the care of people's teeth and gums, in order to prevent tooth decay, the need for fillings, gum disease and other problems that can arise from poor oral health. To become a qualified Dental Hygienist you will need to complete a BSc. (Hons) degree in Dental Hygiene/Therapy and register with the General Dental Council (GDC).
What are the university entry requirements for Dental Hygiene degrees?
To apply to universities for a Dental Hygiene/Therapy degree, you should have, or be working towards achieving, a relevant Access to HE Diploma in Health Science or 3 A Levels with at least one in a pure science area (Biology, Human Biology, Physics, Chemistry). Applicants will also need to have experience of working withing the field of Dental Care. Universities can advise on their particular entry requirements and they publish these on the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) website.
With the A Level route, you may also be expected to have a minimum of 5 GCSEs. With the Access to Dental Hygiene route, you are normally only required to have 2 GCSEs in English and Maths at Grade C or above. Access to HE Diplomas are aimed towards adults 18+ returning to education or wishing to change to a new career. There are no upper age limits. The Diploma qualification is viewed as being equivalent to 3 A Levels. Access to Higher Education can be studied from home via online learning with AOLL.
There are many websites that track university performance in all subject areas. Students are encouraged to research carefully which university has a good track record in the particular degree course they are interested in. It is also worth looking into the department that you are applying to and see what facilities are available, what sort of placements are on offer and the student satisfaction rate for each degree course.
What do Dental Hygienists do?
Dental Hygienists work with people of all ages in a variety of settings. Most often they work in a General Dental Practice, which can be run by the NHS, be a private practice, or be a mixture of both. Hygienists could also work in hospitals, the armed forces and community dental programs. The day-to-day life of a dental hygienist will involve working with dentists and orthodontists to help deliver full oral health care to the public. The key aspect of their work can be described as ‘prevention rather than cure'. They tailor their care and advice to each individual case, advising on all aspects of oral health. From the 1st May 2018, dental service users are now able to make appointments directly with hygienists, without needing to see a dentist for a referral. This change by the General Dental Council is expected to lead to a rise in the need for graduates in this area. Tasks carried out by dental hygienists can include:
- Removing plaque and hard (calculus/tartar) deposits
- Giving diet advice on how to reduce sugary and erosive food and drink
- Polishing teeth
- Applying topical fluoride and fissure sealants
What personal attributes are desirable in Dental Hygiene?
- Organised and able to work under your own steam as well as a good team worker
- Dependable and a good communicator
- Compassionate and an interest in helping others
- Attention to detail and the ability to maintain relationships with care users
- A strong interest in education and researching the latest advances in dental health
What are the pay and working conditions like?
- Starting salaries typically range from £22,000 to £29,000
- With experience, you can earn between £28,000 to £35,000
- Salaries for high levels of experience, including some managerial roles, could be £45,000
Work will generally be practice-based and broadly Monday to Friday 9-5pm. However, those working in hospitals and the community may be asked to work some evenings and weekends and potentially work on a shift basis and be ‘on call'.
Did you know?
- The ancient Egyptians used frayed twigs to clean their teeth, the first known use of ‘toothbrushes'
- Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body
- Adults have 32 teeth, children only have 20
- If you don't floss you're missing cleaning around 35% of the surface of your teeth
- The average person will spend almost 40 days brushing their teeth during the course of their lifetime
How is the degree funded?
Studying for a Dental Hygiene degree allows you to apply for the standard student support package in the form of a student loan. Scholarships, bursaries or grants may also be available for example, through the university or your place of work.
If you would like to complete an Access to HE course to obtain the qualifications for entry onto a Dental Hygiene degree course at university, please choose your payment options below, then complete the enrolment form or contact us for more information. Studying and achieving this qualification with Academy Online learning provides a flexible way of achieving, as it is fully online and recognised and accepted by UK universities.
What will I study on the online Access to Dental Hygiene/Therapy course?
This gives you an opportunity to shine when you are invited for an interview at the university. You will research the university and look at the syllabus and the combination of academic and practical experience and delivery. You will address your own transferable skills and put them to use when writing your UCAS application. You can produce a practice UCAS form prior to submitting your application to UCAS. All the research relating to this unit needs to be contained in a portfolio. You can take this with you to demonstrate that you have carried out detailed research of the course that you have applied for.
There are many diseases and consequently many causes of diseases. Identifying the prevalence of diseases comes with the notion of patterns in society where disease is prevalent. You will be looking at the nature of diseases and the changing patterns across society over time. By identifying diseases and causes, steps can be taken to reduce a disease. Public Health Agencies play a clear role in this; you will be given the opportunity to discover how effective these agencies are in promoting health.
There are many different methods involved in research and you will be introduced to some of these, for example; Correlations, Experiments, Observations, Case Studies Questionnaires and Surveys. You will be given the opportunity to develop your own piece of research in a standard report format.
This can be awarded against a level 3 essay. In essay preparation, you will be expected to research a topical area and present an argument, analysis or evaluation, demonstrating that you can use the evidence you have researched to present ideas and empirical evidence to support the claims that you are making.. The set of writing conventions relating to an essay can vary depending on the subject area. You will be asked to read the question carefully so that you know what the question is asking. In identifying the key words you will be able to see what the main idea is behind the title. You will be able to demonstrate your ability to select relevant material.
Psychology Units (Graded)
Biology Units (Graded)
The main theme in this unit is to develop an understanding of the hormone system and the endocrine glands. You will be looking at the principles behind homeostasis and feedback mechanisms involved in as blood sugar control. You will also look at the actions of hormones and the understandings of molecular processes in steroid and peptide action. You will be illustrating and giving accounts of the endocrine system and identifying the specific organs associated with the system. There will be an opportunity to discuss the medical use of synthetic hormones such as HRT.
Here you will be given the opportunity to explore the components and function of a balanced diet. You will be directed towards looking at what happens when there are deficiencies of a particular nutrient and you will be given the opportunity to identify common forms of malnutrition. Whilst collecting your evidence you will be explore the Alimentary Canal, identifying and locating the structure and function of the Digestive System and the processes involved in the digestive process.
The skeletal system is the primary focus of attention in this unit where you will be given the opportunity to understand the function and structure of the skeletal system, the different joints and movement possibilities relating to joints. You will locate the regions of the spine and identify a number of bones in the human body. You will explore the muscle fibre action in detail and the mechanism involved in sliding filament theory.
This introduces the basic structure and function of the nervous system including the peripheral nervous system the autonomic nervous system and it’s subdivisions. You will also be given the opportunity expand upon your research and look at the nature of nerve impulses and the importance of action potential and the myelin sheath. You will also look at the principles of synaptic transmission, the direction of transmission and the effects of synaptic inhibition.
This looks into the organisation and structure of the body considering tissue types and DNA. You will study the various blood components, the roles and relate this to the circulatory system as a whole. You will cover the blood flow within them, the dynamics of the heart in relation to the needs of the body as well as the differences between plasma and tissue fluid.
This unit looks at homeostasis and the kidney as a homeostatic organ. You will be researching the kidney’s role in the balance of water, salt and pH and the effects of the environment on a cellular level. There will be an opportunity to give a detailed account of the kidney and illustrate its function in relation to the body. Kidney replacement is also a topical area. Malfunction diagnosis is a key consideration and point of investigation.
Chemistry Units (Graded)
Doctors, whether in primary care or as specialists prescribe drugs and medicines every day. Other Health Professionals e.g. Nurse Practitioners, Paramedics, Radiographers can also undergo specialist training to be supplementary prescribers.
This unit will introduce you to the chemistry behind drugs and medicines and enable you to understand the effects of medicines and drugs on the functioning of the body. How drugs function is an important part, not only in the design of new drugs, but in the diagnostic testing of bodily fluids for the presence of drugs. To combat resistance to e.g. bacterial invasion or find new treatments for diseases, new drugs are constantly being developed, tested, trialled and released and sometimes things go wrong. Isomerism in drug action is covered here and linked to the Thalidomide tragedy. Computers are widely used in the design process of new drugs. The concept of computer aided drug design and a compound library are covered in this unit.