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Dental Hygiene
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  The Dental Hygiene Program consists of a sequence of courses that prepares students for positions in the dental profession as a dental hygienist. Learning opportunities develop academic, technical, and professional knowledge and skills required for job acquisition, retention, and advancement. The program emphasizes a combination of didactic and clinical instruction necessary for successful employment. Program graduates receive a Dental Hygiene Associate of Applied Science Degree, and are eligible to sit for the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and The Central Regional Dental Testing Services Examination, both of which are required for licensure to practice dental hygiene in the state of Georgia.


The program in dental hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of approval with reporting requirements. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. The Commission’s web address is


The philosophy of the dental hygiene program is to provide a quality education for the dental hygiene student which will include a variety of experiences in the classroom, clinic, and community.

Program Goals

Goal 1 – Provide dental hygiene education and training to meet community workforce needs.
• Encourage professionalism and ethics in all endeavors.
• Develop communication and critical thinking skills.
• Develop motor skills to provide efficient and safe patient care.
• Provide didactic training to create a knowledgeable graduate.
• Introduce students to volunteer-based community services.

Goal 2 – Provide opportunities for students and graduates to advance technical training and research opportunities.
• Pursue articulation agreements with institutions of higher learning.
• Recognize diverse career pathways for dental hygienists.
• Promote lifelong learning among students and graduates.
• Develop evidence-based research skills through community service projects.

Goal 3 – Increase student retention and program completion rates by maintaining the number and quality of healthcare graduates.
• Recognize program candidates best suited for success in the program.
• Provide advisement and remediation for student improvement.
• Review and evaluate student pass rates on the National Board and Regional Board (CRDTS).
• Monitor job placement rates.
• Maintain full program accreditation from CODA.

Goal 4 – Seek ongoing capacity development and quality improvement for the dental hygiene program.
• Acquire and maintain equipment to provide learning opportunities in all aspects of dental hygiene care.
• Participate in continuing education to maintain properly educated faculty and staff.
• Implement an institutional effectiveness model including assessment, evaluation and planning for continuous improvement of the dental hygiene program.

Entrance Requirements

The Dental Hygiene Program admits fifteen students once per year at the beginning of the Fall Semester. Admission into the program involves a competitive selection process administered by the Dental Hygiene Selection Committee. Meeting the minimum criteria for admission does not guarantee an applicant’s acceptance into the program. Acceptance into the Health Care Science certificate does not guarantee acceptance into the Dental Hygiene Degree program. The Dental Hygiene Selection Committee evaluates the following criteria:

Completed sequence of core classes
GPA of the core classes
Dental assisting/shadowing hours in private practice Form
Three letters of reference from members of the dental community
Personal essay explaining your reasons for choosing a career in dental hygiene
Professional interview

In order to be considered for an interview the applicant must complete the criteria listed above and submit an Application for Interview form to the Dental Hygiene Department Secretary by March 15th.

-Dental Hygiene Degree

Frequently Asked Questions

What courses are required to be eligible for an interview to enter the Dental Hygiene Program?
See core classes.

What courses may be taken to satisfy the Humanities/Fine Arts requirement?
HUMN 1101          ENGL 2130          MUSC 1101

How should I prepare for the interview?
The candidate should be prepared for a professional interview with the Dental Hygiene Selection Committee. Dress well (business suit), as if you were preparing for a job. Be ready to answer questions concerning your preparation to enter the field of dental hygiene and your reasons for choosing this career path.

How do I begin the competitive admissions process?

New students:

  • Apply for admission to Lanier Technical College
  • Select Healthcare Science (Pre-Dental Hygiene Concentration) as your major
  • Take the core classes
  • Obtain credit for dental assisting/shadowing
  • Apply for an interview (Application for Interview form)
Transfer Students:
  • Apply for admission to Lanier Technical College for the summer semester prior to the fall semester you plan to begin the Dental Hygiene Program.
  • Submit a (Request for Transfer Credit Form) to the Registrar's Office (this allows time for evaluation of Transfer of Credit to identify any possible missing course work)
  • Select Healthcare Science (Pre-Dental Hygiene Concentration) as your major
  • Complete any required core classes
  • Obtain credit for dental assisting/shadowing
  • Apply for an interview (Application for Interview form)

What paperwork should be included with my application for an interview?
  • The candidate MUST have completed the above criteria
  • The following paperwork is submitted to the Dental Hygiene Secretary
    • Application for Interview
    • Dental experience forms
    • 3 letters of reference from members of the dental community
    • Personal essay explaining reasons for choosing a career in dental hygiene.

What is the deadline to have all information submitted to apply for an interview?
The deadline is March 15th to be considered for the class that begins in the Fall Semester.

How are applicants selected for the program?
The Dental Hygiene Selection Committee chooses 25 candidates to be interviewed, and 15 of these candidates will be selected for the program. The criteria to be evaluated in the interview are included in the Candidate Interview Criteria and the breakdown of the percentages to determine entry are included in the Dental Hygiene Scoring Template.

What courses are taken after entering the Dental Hygiene Program?
See occupational courses.

How time intensive is the program?
Students who are selected for the program should consider not working while they are in the program. The program schedule will be similar to a full-time job with the didactic courses and the clinical requirements. There will also be outside school requirements that may occur after hours or on weekends that the student will have to meet with a flexible schedule.

Is there any other information I should know?
  • To begin the program in the Fall Semester you MUST be CPR certified. The Healthcare Provider card should read “BLS for Healthcare Providers (CPR & AED) Program”.
  • Proof of current immunizations will need to be provided.
  • Applicants to the program should be aware of the bloodborne pathogens infectious diseases policy in relation to patient care.
  • Estimated program costs.
  • The program is five semesters in length, including a summer semester, over a period of 21 months.

Click (+) on the following topics for more information:
Significant Points [+]

  • A dental hygienist must receive a license issued by the Georgia Board of Dentistry to practice in the state of Georgia.
  • Dental hygienists rank among the fastest growing occupations.
  • To apply for a dental hygiene license in Georgia the dental hygienist must have a degree from an accredited dental hygiene school, have passed the jurisprudence examination for the state of Georgia, have passed the National Dental Hygiene Examination, and have passed the Central Regional Dental Testing Services (CRDTS) Examination.
  • Although background checks are not required by the Lanier Technical College Dental Hygiene Program, individuals should be aware that the Georgia Board of Dentistry requires the following information for dental hygiene licensure:
    Have you ever been summoned, arrested, taken into custody, indicted, convicted or tried for, or charged with, or pled guilty to, or pled nolo contender to a violation of any law or ordinance or the commission of any felony or misdemeanor (excluding minor traffic violations), (DWI &DUIs’ are not minor traffic violations), or have you been requested to appear before a prosecuting attorney or investigative agency in any matter?

    (Although a conviction may have been expunged from the records by order of court, it nevertheless must be disclosed in your answer to this question). If yes, for each occurrence furnish a written statement giving the complete facts in your own words, including in such statement the date, name and nature of the offense, the name and locality of the court, and the disposition of each such matter. You must attach the court disposition.

  • Program Instructors [+]

      Dr. David Byers  
      Oakwood Campus
      Phone: (770) 533-6932

      Vanessa Jones  
      Oakwood Campus
      Phone: (770) 533-6948

      Ruth Thompson  
      Oakwood Campus
      Phone: (770) 533-6970

    Nature of the Work [+]

    The dental hygienist is a vital member of the dental care team who offers a variety of services. Hygienists work with people to identify their tooth care needs, provide services that help them keep their teeth healthy throughout life, and work closely with the dentist to ensure that treatment needs are met. Those who enter the field should be caring people who enjoy the opportunity to be with others, communicate their expertise to clients, and enjoy working with their hands. Dental hygienists are licensed to practice under the supervision of a licensed dentist.

    Dental hygienists can perform the following tasks:
    • take and record dental and medical histories
    • perform oral examinations
    • scale and polish teeth
    • apply topical fluoride treatments
    • prepare diagnostic casts
    • perform periodontal root planning procedures
    • expose and process dental x-rays
    • apply sealants
    • implement patient education programs
    • perform nutritional counseling
    • discuss smoking cessation
    • other duties approved by the state Board of Dentistry

    Work Environment [+]

    Dental hygienists work in clean, well-lighted offices. Important health safeguards include strict adherence to proper radiological procedures and the use of appropriate protective devices when administering anesthetic gas. Dental hygienists also wear safety glasses, surgical masks, and gloves to protect themselves and patients from infectious diseases. Dental hygienists also should be careful to avoid possible shoulder and neck injury from sitting for long periods of time while working with patients. Flexible scheduling is a distinctive feature of this job. Full-time, part-time, evening, and weekend schedules are common. Dentists frequently hire hygienists to work only 2 or 3 days a week, so hygienists may hold jobs in more than one dental office. In 2008, about half of all dental hygienists worked part time—less than 35 hours a week.

    Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement [+]

    High schools students interested in becoming dental hygienists should take courses in biology, chemistry, and mathematics. Most dental hygiene programs require applicants to have completed at least one year of college as students are meeting the core requirements. Specific entrance requirements typically vary from one school to another.

    In 2008, there were 301 dental hygiene programs accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. 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 corporate sales and marketing.

    Schools offer laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction in subjects such as anatomy, physiology, chemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, nutrition, radiography, histology, periodontology, pathology, dental materials, clinical dental hygiene, and social and behavioral sciences.

    Other qualifications. Dental hygienists should work well with others because they work closely with dentists and dental assistants, as well as dealing directly with patients. Hygienists also need good manual dexterity, because they use dental instruments within patient’s mouths, with little room for error.

    Certification and advancement. Dental hygienists must be licensed by the State in which they practice. Nearly all States require candidates to graduate from an accredited dental hygiene school and pass both a written and clinical examination. The American Dental Association’s (ADA) Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations administers the written examination, which is accepted by all States and the District of Columbia. State or regional testing agencies administer the clinical examination. In addition, most states require an examination on the legal aspects of dental hygiene practice.

    Advancement. Advancement opportunities usually come from working outside a typical dentist’s office, and usually require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in dental hygiene. Some dental hygienists may choose to pursue a career teaching at a dental hygiene program, working in public health, or working in a corporate setting.

    Job Outlook [+]

    Dental hygienists rank among the fastest growing occupations. Job prospects are expected to be favorable in most areas, but competition for jobs is likely in some areas.

    Job Prospects. Job prospects are expected to be favorable in most areas, but will vary by geographical location. Because graduates are permitted to practice only in the State in which they are licensed, hygienists wishing to practice in areas that have an abundance of dental hygiene programs may experience strong competition for jobs.

    Older dentists, who have been less likely to employ dental hygienists, are leaving the occupation and will be replaced by recent graduates, who are more likely to employ one or more hygienists. In addition, as dentists’ workloads increase, they are expected to hire more hygienists to perform preventive dental care, such as cleaning, so that they may devote their own time to more complex procedures.

    Employment change. Employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow 36 percent through 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This projected growth ranks dental hygienists among the fastest growing occupations, in response to increasing demand for dental care and more use of hygienists.

    The demand for dental services will grow because of population growth, older people increasingly retaining more teeth, and a growing emphasis on preventative dental care. To help meet this demand, facilities that provide dental care, particularly dentists' offices, will increasingly employ dental hygienists, often to perform services that have been performed by dentists in the past. Ongoing research indicating a link between oral health and general health also will spur the demand for preventative dental services, which are typically provided by dental hygienists.

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    2990 Landrum Education Drive, Oakwood, Georgia 30566
    Phone: 770-533-7000 | Fax: 770-531-6328
    A Unit of the Technical College System of Georgia
    An Equal Opportunity Institution.