Dental Hygiene

Nature of Work

Dental hygienists are vital members of the dental healthcare team. They are preventive oral health professionals licensed to provide educational, clinical, and therapeutic services to the public. Dental hygienists provide comprehensive care to patients in collaboration with dentists by assessing patient needs, planning for treatment and disease prevention, implementing the treatment plan, and evaluating clinical dental hygiene services.

As members of the dental team, dental hygienists are responsible for providing treatment that helps prevent oral diseases such as decay and periodontal (or gum) disease. Hygienists also educate patients to maintain optimal oral health. Dental hygienists integrate many roles in their profession depending on whether they practice in traditional or nontraditional settings to support total health through the promotion of oral health and wellness.

Preparation for the comprehensive preventive care provided by a hygienist emphasizes basic sciences, including chemistry, introductory microbiology, pathology, and anatomy and physiology. The Dental Hygiene curriculum maximizes the integration of and promotes the interrelationship between general education, biomedical science, dental science, dental hygiene science, and clinical practice components of preventative dental hygiene services.

Dental Hygiene courses build on the theoretical knowledge and clinical competencies gained each semester. Program instructors base the curriculum sequence so that students can master fundamental theory before progressing to more difficult levels of theory application. Upon mastery of fundamental theory, students begin developing the skills necessary to deliver preventative, educational, and therapeutic services to the public. The Dental Hygiene curriculum teaches the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective skills that will enable prospective dental hygienist to provide the highest quality of care to patients. Upon completing degree requirements, graduates of accredited dental hygiene programs are eligible to take the written National Board Examination for Dental Hygiene, the Central Regional Dental Testing Service clinical exam, and /or the clinical board given in the state chosen for practice. Upon successful completion of the examinations, graduates are employable as licensed registered dental hygienists.

Career Outlook

Dental hygienists held about 192,800 jobs nationally in 2012. Almost all jobs for dental hygienist were in offices of dentists. Graduates may also find employment as educators, administrators, managers, and researchers. Other options for practice settings include school systems, hospitals, correctional facilities, long-term care facilities, HMOs, dental supply and product companies, insurance companies, universities and other research centers, government agencies, community health programs, and areas of forensic dentistry. Employment of dental hygienist is expected to grow by 33 percent from 2012 through 2022.

Learn more about our Dental Hygiene program

Credentials You Can Earn

Associate Degree
Dental Hygiene



Program Expenses

The Higher Education Act requires all colleges and universities to notify students and prospective students of the all program costs for which they will be responsible. Students will be responsible for the following expenses:

 

Admissions Fees

  • Nonrefundable application fee ($25)
  • Program Placement Examination ($60)

Outside Vendor Fees Prior to Beginning DHYG Courses

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Certification ($40)
  • Hepatitis B Immunization ($200)
  • Mumps, Measles, Rubella Immunizations ($25)
  • Varicella Immunization ($25)
  • Tetanus Shot ($25)
  • Tuberculosis Skin Test ($25)
  • Physical Examination (Approximately $100)
  • Uniforms (Approximately $250)
  • SADHA Dues ($90)

Semester Fees

  • Tuition ($89 per credit hour)
  • Accident Insurance Fee ($4 per term)
  • Campus Supply Fee ($40 per term)
  • Instruction Fee ($55 per term)
  • Parking Fee ($20 per term)
  • Campus Safety Fee ($25 per term)
  • Radiation Monitor Fee ($25 per term)
  • Registration Fee ($50 per term)
  • Student Activity Fee ($30 per term)
  • Technology Fee ($105 per term)

 

Throughout the Program 

 

 

  • Background Checks and Drug Screenings (Approximately $100 per required check/screening) 
  • Instrument Kit, Supplies, and Loupes (Approximately $4,000)
  • Radiology Fee (Approximately $250)
  • Textbooks (Approximately $600)
  • Supply Fee (Varies — See course descriptions for exact amount)

Outside Vendor Fees at Program Completion

  • National Board Examination Review ($500)
  • National Board Examination ($285)
  • Clinical Board Examination ($1,150)
  • Clinical Board-Related Expenses ($500)
  • Licensure Application Fee ($200)
  • RDH Pin ($120)

Tese expenses are based on costs in effect at the time this catalog was published. Prices are subject to change.

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Faculty

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Tina Grile, Program Chair
Tina Grile has over 30 years' experience in the Dental field. She has been at Athens Technical College since Fall 2002, and before that taught at Armstrong Atlantic State University and Savannah Technical College in their Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting programs respectively. At Savannah Tech she served as the Program Chair for Dental Assisting, then came to Athens Technical College to start the Dental Assisting program from scratch. The program was accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation by the time the first class graduated in the Spring, 2004. Her B.S. degree is from Florida State University and her Master’s degree is from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Health Science. She has been a Registered Dental Hygienist (Associate of Science degree, Armstrong Atlantic State University) in the state of Georgia since 1985 and a Certified Dental Assistant, so she was uniquely qualified to be Program Chair of both the Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene Programs at Athens Technical College in 2004, having taught in both programs at prior colleges in Savannah. While serving as the Program Chair of the Dental programs is her main focus, she also teaches in both, with her primary interest being Dental Radiography and working with the hygiene students and their patients in the dental clinic. Tina was the 2008 Athens Technical College Rick Perkins winner for Excellence in Technical Instruction and was also named Employee of the Year for the 2008/2009 academic year. She has been recognized for a Graduate Student Merit award from the American Association of Public Health Dentistry and from the Allied Health Research Symposium for her Outstanding Presentation.
Office Location: A-119 S
Phone: (706) 355-5142
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