Dental Hygiene

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Dental Hygiene
Each state has its own specific regulations and the range of services performed by dental hygienists varies from one state to another. As part of dental hygiene services, dental hygienists may:

  • perform oral health care assessments that include reviewing patients' health history, dental charting, oral cancer screening, and taking and recording blood pressure;

  • expose, process, and interpret dental X-rays;

  • remove plaque and calculus (tartar)-soft and hard deposits-from above and below the gumline;

  • apply cavity-preventive agents such as fluorides and sealants to the teeth;

  • teach patients proper oral hygiene techniques to maintain healthy teeth and gums;

  • counsel patients about plaque control and developing individualized at-home oral hygiene programs; and

  • counsel patients on the importance of good nutrition for maintaining optimal oral health.

Information above taken from The American Dental Hygienists' Association, 444 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 3400, Chicago, IL 60611
The following employment information was taken from U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Outlook

Employment of dental hygienists is expected to increase 36% or grow much faster than average for all occupations through 2018, ranking among the fastest growing occupations, in response to increasing demand for dental care and the greater utilization of hygienists to perform services previously performed by dentists. Job prospects are expected to remain excellent.


Median hourly earnings of dental hygienists were $66,570 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $55,220 and $78,990. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,180, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $91,470.

Educational Requirements

Dental hygienists must be licensed by the State in which they practice. To qualify for licensure in nearly all States, a candidate must graduate from an accredited dental hygiene school and pass both a written and clinical examination.

In 2008, the Commission on Dental Accreditation accredited 301 programs in dental hygiene. Most dental hygiene programs grant an associate degree, although some also offer a certificate, a bachelor’s degree, or a master’s degree. A minimum of an associate degree or certificate in dental hygiene is generally required for practice in a private dental office. A bachelor’s or master’s degree usually is required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs.

Educational Program
The Associate of Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene is a joint degree program between VSU and Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.  Students are required to complete 44 hours of general education core courses from VSU and 45 hours of occupational courses from Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.  Twenty-one hours of the coursework must be completed at VSU before being admitted to Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.   
This program has a limited enrollment. Wiregrass Georgia Technical College accepts 14 new students each fall into the clinical program.  Students must apply separately for admission to Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.  For questions related to clinical requirements, contact Sandi Woodward, Director of Dental Programs at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College or 229-259-5533.

Admission to the clinical program is a decision made solely by Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.  Completion of the required coursework at VSU does NOT guarantee admission to the clinical program at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.

Associate of Applied Science–Dental Hygiene at VSU
Prerequisites for these programs include biology, chemistry, english, political science, math and a history course. The A.A.S. degree at VSU includes all of the prerequisites needed to attend Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. In addition, our advisors will keep you apprised of the latest developments and advise you of the necessary extracurricular activities needed for your application to the dental hygiene program.

For more information visit our website at or College of Nursing’s Website:

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