Indiana University Northwest offers courses in both Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene. Both the Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene Programs are fully accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation (a specialized accreditation body recognized by the Council of Post Secondary Education and by the United States Department of Education).
The dental assistant takes on significant responsibility as a member of the dental health care team. Assistants greatly increase the efficiency of the dentist in the delivery of quality oral health care and are valuable members of the dental team. Dental assistants must possess strong communication skills and enjoy working with their hands.
A career as a dental assistant offers many challenges. In addition to assisting the dentist during a variety of procedures, other specific tasks dental assistants may perform include providing instructions for oral care following treatment, performing office management tasks, exposing and processing dental radiographs (x-rays), sterilizing instruments, decontaminating equipment, and taking impressions of patients’ teeth.
Dental hygienists are oral health clinicians and educators who help the public develop and maintain optimum oral health. As members of the dental health team, dental hygienists perform preventive and therapeutic services under the supervision of the licensed dentist. Specific responsibilities may include removing deposits and stain from the patient’s teeth, providing instructions for patients’ self-care and nutritional counseling, applying topical fluoride to prevent tooth decay, and administering local anesthesia.
Dental hygienists are also responsible for recording medical and dental histories, exposing and processing dental radiographs (x-rays), placing pit and fissure sealants (protective barriers) on posterior teeth, and preparing other diagnostic aids for the dentist’s use.
The Dental Hygiene Department has four full-time faculty appointments and many adjunct faculty members who bring years of experience to the classroom from their time spent in private dental offices and educational institutions.
The education of the student is enhanced by experience in the IU Northwest On-Site Dental Clinic (located in the Dunes Medical/Professional Building, Room 1015), rotation in private dental offices and clinics, and local, state and federal public health facilities throughout Northwest Indiana. This expands the opportunities for our students to engage in gaining experience with dental health care teams within and outside of the university.
The campus offers a fully equipped dental clinic with 16 dental stations, six radiography cubicles and two darkrooms.
Class size is limited for the programs. Therefore, each applicant is strongly encouraged to perform well academically. The Dental Education Admission Committee reviews all applications without discrimination or favor based on sex, age, race, religion, or national origin.
Students accepted in the fall semester will possibly be the final class eligible to receive an Associate of Science degree in Dental Hygiene (the plan is for the Associate degree to no longer be offered). Plans are for the students accepted in the fall semester of 2013 and after will be eligible to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene.
The plan for the fall semester of 2014 is to offer a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene completion degree. The degree will be offered to licensed dental hygienist holding an Associate of Science degree in Dental Hygiene.