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.
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.
Credentials You Can Earn
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:
- 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)
- 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.