Dental hygienists are licensed health care professionals that specialize in preventing oral health problems and diseases. To become a licensed, registered dental hygienist requires successful completion of an ADA accredited dental hygiene program, The National Dental Hygiene Board Examination, and a state or regional examination.
The primary responsibility of a dental hygienist is to treat and educate patients in the control and prevention of oral diseases. Typical functions of the clinical dental hygienist include assessment of health histories, evaluating and charting oral conditions, removing deposits (plaque, tartar, and stain) from the teeth, exposing and processing dental x-rays, applying preventive agents to the tooth surfaces such as fluoride and sealants, and providing individualized oral hygiene instruction services.
Today's dental hygienists work as clinicians in dental offices; however, dental hygienists can be found in numerous settings, such as nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospitals, corporate health facilities, school systems, research centers, state and federal agencies, and public health clinics. Other popular avenues for the dental hygienists seeking alternative roles include positions as educators, researchers, and in management services.
This growing career field is projected to be one of the 30 fastest growing occupations. The population growth combined with the increasing rate of retention of natural teeth will continue to stimulate the need for dental hygienists. For additional information, visit the American Dental Hygienists' Association website.
We offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs to meet the student’s career goal. Our philosophy is based on student-centered learning and quality patient care that guides all aspects of our programs. Students will experience multiple and diverse experiences in community based-clinics, agencies, and specialized populations. Our faculty is diverse in their experiences, leaders in their field, and nationally recognized for their expertise in clinical teaching excellence.
Dental Hygiene Program Tour
Each semester, the dental hygiene division conducts a "Closer Look Tour." Those interested in any of our programs can attend an informative afternoon session that includes a presentation of the programs offered as well as a campus tour. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Barbara Floyd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210-567-3387.
In an effort to provide much needed service to the community, dental hygiene students have an opportunity to expand their skills and experiences outside of the dental hygiene clinic by traveling to several sites during their last semester of dental hygiene school. For 5-6 weeks, students provide dental hygiene care, including a complete prophylaxis, delivering individual preventive education, placing pit and fissure sealants, and administering topical fluoride treatments.
Bloodborne Pathogens Policy
Individuals who are involved in the provision of dental hygiene services may be exposed to blood borne pathogens that may result in human disease. Students and faculty members who experience an exposure to potentially infectious materials (needle stick, mucous membrane, or non-intact skin) or airborne inhalation require specific follow-up attention. For more information on the policies on bloodborne and infectious diseases refer to UT Health San Antonio Policies on Bloodborne and Infectious diseases.