Dental Hygiene

What is a Dental Hygienist?

Dental Hygienists work primarily in dental offices and are supervised by dentists. They advise and educate patients, examine and clean their mouths, and help detect signs of oral diseases. They use a variety of tools, such as air-polishing devices, x-rays, and ultrasonic tools. Some dental hygienists that have additional training can also work as dental therapists.  For more information on dental hygienists, please see the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.

How do I become a Dental Hygienist?

An associate’s degree in dental hygiene is required in order to become a dental hygienist. These programs take approximately 3 years to complete. There are bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well, and the University of Maryland School of Dentistry has a “2+2” program for a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene.

The University of Maryland School of Dentistry also has an accelerated Bachelors of Dental Hygiene to Master’s of Public Health program, which allows students to work towards their MPH while in the dental hygiene program.

Because most dental hygienists pursue the associate degree route, the UMD Health Professions Advising Office only advises students interested in pursuing the Bachelor’s of Dental Hygiene at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. Students interested in transferring to this program should review the UMSOD Webpage before reaching out to the HPAO for advising.  

What prerequisites are necessary to apply to the Dental Hygiene Program at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry?

Application requirements include:

  • 57 credits of prerequisite courses. At least 16 science prerequisite credits (20 is highly recommended) must be completed at the time of application
    • Anatomy and Physiology I & II (with lab)
    • General Biology (with lab)
    • General Chemistry (with lab)
    • Microbiology (with lab)
    • Organic Chemistry (with lab)
    • Statistics
    • Technical Writing
    • English Composition
    • Humanities
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Nutrition
    • Public Speaking
    • Human Growth and Development
    • Social Sciences
  • Dental Hygiene Baccalaureate Program Application
  • Signature Form
  • $80.00 Application Fee
  • Resume
  • 2x2 Photo
  • Dental Hygiene Shadowing Form
  • Official Transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation (one from a science professor and one from a dentist or dental hygienist)