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About the Dental Hygiene Profession

Registered dental hygienists are licensed oral health care professionals. Dental hygienists provide direct patient care services that limit the extent of cavities and periodontal disease as well as promote the overall health and well-being of the oral environment and head and neck region.

Dental hygienists assess general and oral health by using a variety of diagnostic aids (comprehensive health histories, head, neck and oral examinations, radiographs and indices). Utilizing information obtained from the assessment process, the hygienist develops a care plan in conjunction with the patient's goals and needs, provides oral health education and performs preventive (fluorides, sealants) and therapeutic services (non-surgical periodontal therapy) according to individual needs.

Graduates from the lock-step Baccalaureate degree program are employed as clinical practitioners, educators, researchers, administrators, managers, preventive program developers, consultants and in public health agencies. Registered (licensed) dental hygienists practice according to the requirements of individual state dental practice acts. Learn more about career paths for dental hygienists at the American Dental Hygienists' Association website found here. For additional information on career opportunities, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics Dental Hygienists here.

Occupational Safety and Health Policy

The Dental Hygiene department follows UMMC Occupational Safety and Health policies and regulations which is in accord with codes and requirements of such safety organizations as the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), The Joint Commission (TJC), National Safety Council, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and, when applicable, the United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). At the time of the their interview, applicants may request a copy of the Department's Bloodborne Pathogens Policies.