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Due to the large number of people interested in the Dental Hygiene program we would like you to attend an information session to provide you with the most current and comprehensive information. During these sessions, the application process, program requirements, and the competitive ranking criteria will be discussed. We encourage you to attend one of these sessions as soon as possible. Reservations are required. You can make your reservation by calling 256-352-8300.
2014-2015 Information Sessions:
Location - Health Science Building, Room 208 Campus Map
October 8, 2014 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
January 14, 2015 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
As a practicing member of the dental health team, the dental hygienist acts as an educator and motivator in maintenance of oral health and prevention of dental disease.
Hygienists are in demand in general dental practices, as well as in specialty practices such as periodontics or pediatric dentistry. Hygienists may also be employed to provide dental hygiene services for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and public health clinics. Dental hygienists remove soft and hard deposits from teeth, teach patients how to practice good oral hygiene, and provide other preventive dental care. Hygienists examine patients’ teeth and gums, recording the presence of diseases or abnormalities. They remove tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth; perform root planing as a periodontal therapy; take and develop dental x-rays; and apply cavity-preventive agents such as fluorides and pit and fissure sealants. In some states, hygienists administer anesthetics; place and carve filling materials, temporary fillings, and periodontal dressings; remove sutures; and smooth and polish metal restorations. Although hygienists may not diagnose diseases, they can prepare clinical and laboratory diagnostic tests for the dentist to interpret. Hygienists sometimes work chairside with the dentist during treatment.
Flexible scheduling is a distinctive feature of this job. Full-time, part-time, evening, and weekend schedules are widely available. Dentists frequently hire hygienists to work only 2 or 3 days a week, so hygienists may hold jobs in more than one dental office.
Employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2012, in response to increasing demand for dental care and the greater utilization of hygienists to perform services previously performed by dentists. Median annual earnings of dental hygienists were $70,210 in May 2012, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $96,280 per year. Earnings vary by geographic location, employment setting, and years of experience. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Barbara Ebert, CDA, RDH, MA, Program Director