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New Sask. dental hygienist degree program to offer strictly evening classes

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A new dental hygienist degree program is launching at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) in September to help meet a growing demand for oral health specialists.

"This is very big news to the College of Dentistry, University of Saskatchewan, and to the province. We are going to be opening the first dental hygiene degree in Saskatchewan," said Walter Siqueira, dean of the dentistry college.

Amid a nationwide shortage of skilled medical professionals, including in the dental sector, the new program aims to address the growing demand for dental services in the province.

"This is extremely important for the province because we need more dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, and dental therapists. The College of Dentistry is providing this support to Saskatchewan," Siqueira said.

The program will be unique not only as the only degree option in Saskatchewan — complementing the existing diploma program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Regina — but also in its scheduling.

Classes will be held from 5 to 10 p.m., making it the first program in North America designed to accommodate students who need to continue working during the day.

"We are supporting a niche of the population that is needing to continue to work during the day, and wanting to have the additional training as a dental hygienist and can come to our program," Siqueira said.

The university is set to roll out the program, with eighteen students expected to start this fall.  

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