Education

Best Online Dental Hygiene Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Dental Hygiene programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Dental hygiene is the process of keeping the mouth and teeth clean and healthy. Dental hygienists work with patients to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth, and to teach patients how to brush and floss properly. Dental hygienists also work to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Dental hygiene is a growing field, as more and more people are seeking dental care. Dental hygienists are in demand in a wide variety of settings, including dental offices, hospitals, and clinics.

Dental hygiene degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in dental hygiene, including dental assistant, dental hygienist, and dental technician. Students in dental hygiene degree programs learn about the different theories and techniques of dental hygiene, and how to apply those techniques to prevent and treat dental problems.

How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene Program

When choosing a dental hygiene program, there are many factors to consider. The most important factor is whether the program is accredited. An accredited program means that it meets the standards set by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. This is important because it means that the program will prepare you for the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, which is required for licensure.

Other important factors to consider include the cost of the program, the length of the program, and the location of the program. Many programs offer scholarships and financial aid, so be sure to research those options. The length of the program can vary from two to four years, depending on whether you attend full-time or part-time. The location of the program may be important if you have family or other obligations that you need to stay close to home.

Once you have considered all of these factors, you can narrow down your choices and apply to the programs that are the best fit for you.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Dental Hygiene Programs

The best online programs for Dental Hygiene ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from University of Michigan is a two-year full-time program that provides students with a broad-based education in the social, behavioral, and biological sciences, preparing them for the practice of contemporary dental hygiene and for leadership roles in oral healthcare of the future. The program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and graduates will be eligible to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and state licensure examinations.

Rank 2
Oregon Institute of Technology
Klamath Falls, OR

The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from Oregon Institute of Technology is an online degree completion program designed for professional dental hygienists. The program integrates dental hygiene, public health, education and management courses with a general education core, and provides students with the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. The program also prepares students to pursue advanced degrees in business, education and more.

Rank 3
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

The Dental Hygiene Baccalaureate Degree Completion Program from Ohio State University is designed for licensed dental hygienists who hold an associate degree or certificate in dental hygiene from a CODA-accredited dental hygiene program. The program provides an opportunity for students to participate in a stimulating and educational environment that combines the general education aspects of a baccalaureate degree with advanced education in dental hygiene.

Rank 4
University of New Haven
West Haven, CT

The University of New Haven’s online Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene completion program is designed for practicing dental hygienists. The program is asynchronous, self-paced, and offers students the opportunity to learn at their own pace and convenience. The instructors in the program are licensed dental hygienists and leaders in their field who are dedicated to mentoring students through every step of the program. The program is designed to help students adjust to online technology and learning, and upon completion, students will be fully qualified to pursue professional opportunities in the areas of education, research, administration, public health, and corporate business.

Rank 5
Minnesota State University
Mankato, MN

The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from Minnesota State University is designed for current dental hygienists who are licensed and have successfully completed training at an accredited program. The program is flexible and can be completed in as little as 1-2 years. The curriculum is broad and prepares students for careers in multiple areas such as education and public health. The program is one of the most affordable online dental hygiene programs in the country.

Rank 6
Georgia State University
Atlanta, GA

The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene degree from Georgia State University is designed for registered dental hygienists who already have an associate degree. This online bachelor’s completion program will help students advance in the profession by providing them with the education they need to move into other roles, such as clinical instruction for future hygienists, attending graduate school, or moving into roles outside of clinical practice.

Rank 7
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA

The Old Dominion University Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene is an online program designed for licensed dental hygienists. The program expands on your existing training and experience to help students pursue a wide range of employment opportunities and graduate study. Because the program is designed for licensed dental hygienists, there are no clinicals. The program is accredited by CODA, the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Rank 8
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ

The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from Northern Arizona University is an accredited online degree completion program designed for dental hygienists who already have an associate’s degree, diploma, or certificate in dental hygiene. The curriculum is centered in public health and emphasizes topics such as dental research, communication and behavior, professional development, global oral health, interprofessional practice, and healthcare policy and management. The program culminates in a capstone project in which students originate a public health project, assess and plan for its implementation, and evaluate its outcomes in a final written report.

Rank 9
University of Bridgeport
Bridgeport, CT

The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from University of Bridgeport is designed for licensed dental hygienists who want to enhance their skills and career opportunities. The program can be completed in as little as two years and is customizable to help students meet their personal career goals. Students will have the opportunity to take courses that cover topics such as dental hygiene practice management, advanced clinical concepts, dental hygiene research, and statistical reasoning.

Rank 10
Utah Valley University
Orem, UT

The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from Utah Valley University is an online program that is designed to fit the busy schedules of working students. The program is flexible and can be completed on your own time. The program is also designed to help students advance their careers in management, education, public health, and research. The faculty is experienced and committed to student success. The program is known for its 99.9% pass rate and reputation for student excellence.

What to Expect From an Online Bachelor’s in Dental Hygiene Program

Students in a bachelor’s degree program in dental hygiene learn how to clean teeth, take X-rays, place sealants and perform other preventive care measures. The curriculum also covers topics such as pain management, oral anatomy, nutrition and dental materials. Most programs take four years to complete and include both classroom and clinical instruction.

During the first two years of the program, students take courses in chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology. They also begin to learn about dental hygiene theory and practice in the laboratory and clinic. In the third and fourth years, students complete advanced coursework in dental hygiene and gain practical experience through externships.

Most dental hygiene programs culminate in a capstone project or research thesis. Students may also be required to take a state or national licensing exam to practice dental hygiene. To be successful in a dental hygiene program, students should have strong communication, interpersonal and problem-solving skills. They should also be detail-oriented and able to work independently.

Common Dental Hygiene Courses

The dental hygiene program at your school will likely have a curriculum that covers a wide range of topics related to dental health. The courses below are some of the most common ones that students take as part of their dental hygiene degree.

Head and Neck Anatomy

This course covers the study of the head and neck region with emphasis on the bones, muscles, arteries, veins, nerves, and lymphatics. Topics include planes and terms used to describe locations, surface anatomy, and common anatomical variations. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the head and neck region, identify common anatomical structures, and apply anatomical knowledge to dental hygiene practice.

Dental Materials

This course covers the properties, manipulation, and placement of dental materials used in direct and indirect restorations, as well as preventive, therapeutic, and esthetic procedures. Topics include an introduction to dental materials, physical properties of dental materials, dental amalgam, tooth-colored direct and indirect restorative materials, cements, impression materials, preventive materials, and auxiliary materials. Upon completion, students should be able to identify and describe the major classes of dental materials and their uses, as well as manipulate and place various dental materials used in direct and indirect restorations.

Periodontology

This course covers the study of periodontal disease, its etiology, classification, and manifestations, as well as its impact on oral health. Emphasis is placed on the role of dental plaque in the pathogenesis of periodontal disease, as well as current therapeutic modalities for the treatment and management of periodontal disease. Upon completion, students should be able to apply knowledge of periodontal disease to the clinical practice of dental hygiene.

Oral Pathology

This course covers the study of the structure, function, and development of the oral cavity and its associated tissues and organs. Topics include an overview of the oral cavity, common oral diseases and disorders, and their effects on oral tissues. Upon completion, students should be able to identify common oral diseases and disorders, explain their effects on oral tissues, and describe the structure and function of the oral cavity and its associated tissues and organs.

Ethics and Jurisprudence

This course introduces the ethical and legal principles governing the profession of dental hygiene. Emphasis is placed on the role of the dental hygienist in relation to the dentist, the dental team, and the patient. Topics include the history of dental ethics, professional codes of ethics, jurisprudence, risk management, infection control, and patient confidentiality. Upon completion, students should be able to apply ethical principles to dental hygiene practice, identify potential legal problems in dental hygiene practice, and follow infection control guidelines.

Career Options for Dental Hygiene Graduates

Graduates of dental hygiene programs work in a variety of fields and industries, including dentistry, education, and healthcare. They may also work in fields such as research, marketing, and sales.

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists are responsible for cleaning teeth, taking x-rays, and performing other preventive dental care for patients. They also work with patients to help them develop good oral hygiene habits. Dental hygienists typically work in a dental office, although they may also work in a hospital or other healthcare facility.

Public Health Educator

Public health educators teach people about health and wellness. They develop and implement strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities. Public health educators typically work in government agencies, hospitals, or nonprofit organizations. They may also work in schools, businesses, or other settings. Public health educators typically have a bachelor’s degree in public health or a related field. Some jobs may require a master’s degree or other advanced degree.

Dental Assistant

Dental assistants are an important part of the dental team. They work closely with dentists, providing patients with the best possible care. Dental assistants perform a variety of tasks, including taking X-rays, preparing patients for dental procedures, sterilizing instruments, and providing patients with instructions for post-operative care. They also may schedule and confirm appointments, update patient records, and process insurance claims.

Dental Practice Manager

Dental practice managers are responsible for the business side of running a dental practice. This can include everything from hiring and training staff to handling finances and insurance claims. In some cases, dental practice managers may also be responsible for marketing the practice and attracting new patients.

Dental Consultant

Dental consultants work with dental practices to help them run more efficiently and profitably. In many cases, consultants are brought in to help with a specific issue or problem, such as increasing revenues, reducing expenses, improving patient retention, or increasing the efficiency of the dental practice. Dental consultants typically have a background in business, dentistry, or both. They use their knowledge and experience to assess a dental practice’s needs and develop customized solutions.

Insights From a Dental Hygiene Graduate

Ashlyn Brewer is a Dental Hygienist at Aspen Dental. She has a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene from the University of Pittsburgh. Ashlyn has over 3 years of experience as a dental hygienist.

ClimbtheLadder: How did you make the most of your Dental Hygiene degree program so that it prepared you for post-graduation jobs?

Ashlyn Brewer: I made the most of my Dental Hygiene degree program by getting involved in as many extracurricular activities as possible. I was a member of the American Dental Hygienists Association and the Student National Dental Association. I also volunteered at a local dental clinic. These extracurricular activities helped me to build my network and to gain experience in the field.

ClimbtheLadder: What type of person is successful and thrives in a Dental Hygiene career?

Ashlyn Brewer: A successful dental hygienist is someone who is passionate about oral health and enjoys working with people. Dental hygiene can be a very rewarding career, but it is also important to be able to work well under pressure and have excellent time management skills.

ClimbtheLadder: Was there anything about your Dental Hygiene program that you didn’t expect or anticipate?

Ashlyn Brewer: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the clinical portion of my program. I was able to get hands-on experience starting in my first semester, and I loved working with patients. I also didn’t realize how important it would be to develop relationships with my classmates and instructors.

They were a great resource during my program, and I’m still in touch with many of them today.

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