Dental Hygiene Major, B.S.
UNC Adams School of Dentistry
385 South Columbia St., CB# 7450, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7450
Academic Affairs: (919) 537-3347
Laura Ornelas, Student Services (919-537-3474)
Scott S. De Rossi, Dean and Professor
The dental hygienist is an educator and motivator as well as a health care provider. As a practicing member of the dental health team, the hygienist is primarily concerned with the maintenance of oral health and the prevention of dental disease. Additionally, dental hygienists may assume professional leadership roles; participate in the development, implementation, and evaluation of community health programs; engage in research activities; or serve as consultants and assume managerial roles in certain types of dental care delivery systems.
Students are subject to the academic requirements in place when they are admitted to the dental hygiene program; consequently, the requirements described in this catalog particularly apply to students admitted to the school during the 2020–2021 academic year.
All course descriptions can be found in ConnectCarolina.
- M.S. in Dental Hygiene Education
- M.S. in Endodontics
- M.S. in Operative Dentistry
- M.S. and Ph.D. in Oral and Craniofacial Biomedicine
- M.S. in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
- M.S. in Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
- M.S. in Orthodontics
- M.S. in Pediatric Dentistry
- M.S. in Periodontology
- M.S. in Prosthodontics
Admission to the Program
Applicants may be admitted for dental hygiene study after completion of the dental hygiene prerequisites, provided they meet requirements of the University. To assure proper planning for admission, applicants should maintain close contact with the program during the application process.
Enrollment is limited, and applicants are accepted on a competitive basis. Admission to the University does not guarantee admission into the dental hygiene program. Selections are based on academic achievement with an emphasis on performance in science courses, character, knowledge of working with the dental team, and a sincere interest in dental hygiene as a professional career. For UNC–Chapel Hill students, application for admission to the program is usually made during the second year of General College study. Interested students should submit an online application, which can be accessed from ConnectCarolina.
For transfer applicants, all prerequisite dental hygiene coursework and General College courses taken at other institutions must be approved for transfer in advance by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Official transcripts from all schools attended (including high school) must be submitted.
Three letters of recommendation must be submitted with the application. Two of the letters should be from previous college course directors and one letter should be a character reference. In addition, applicants must shadow in a dental office for a minimum of 20 hours. This requirement may be fulfilled through prior dental assisting experience.
Prior to being admitted and enrolled, all applicants will be required to present evidence of satisfactory completion of prerequisite courses required by the major. Applicants with a previous degree should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to determine fulfillment of General College requirements. For questions about specific admission requirements on the prelicensure and graduate programs in dental hygiene please visit our Web site or call our office at (919) 537-3474.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the dental hygiene program, students should be able to:
- Possess the skills and knowledge needed to provide optimal dental hygiene patient care while valuing and adhering to the ethical beliefs as stated by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association Code of Ethics
- Promote the values of optimal oral health as related to general health and overall wellness to all patients
- Embrace an interdisciplinary role within the health care system and assess, plan, implement, and evaluate oral health care programs and activities for diverse population groups while facilitating access to care and services
- Assess, plan, implement, and evaluate treatment in the promotion of oral and systemic health using an evidence-based approach
- Value the dental hygiene profession through career growth and development and commitment to lifelong learning
All baccalaureate-seeking dental hygiene students must fulfill the General Education requirements. In addition to completing ENGL 105, a foreign language through level 3, a quantitative reasoning course (STOR 151 recommended), and a lifetime fitness course, dental hygiene students must fulfill the Approaches requirements and successfully complete at least five Connections courses, including global issues, experiential education, and U.S. diversity. Other specific requirements include the following courses:
|BIOC 107||Introduction to Biochemistry 1||4|
|or CHEM 101|
| General Descriptive Chemistry I|
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I
|BIOC 108||Introduction to Biochemistry||4|
|or CHEM 102|
| General Descriptive Chemistry II|
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II
|Select one of the following options:||3-5|
|Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology|
and Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory H
|Select one of the following COMM courses:||3|
|Communication and Social Process|
|Public Speaking 2|
|Introduction to Interpersonal and Organizational Communication H|
|MCRO 251||Introductory Medical Microbiology||4|
|PSYC 101||General Psychology 3||3|
|SOCI 101||Sociological Perspectives 4, H||3|
|or SOCI 111||Human Societies|
Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.
COMM 113 satisfies the communication intensive Connections requirement.
PSYC 101 satisfies the physical and life sciences Approaches requirement
Both courses satisfy the social and behavioral sciences Approaches requirement.
Dental Hygiene Professional School Program
|CBPH 741||Introduction to Human Anatomy||3|
|DHYG 252||Dental Radiology||3|
|DHYG 253||Dental Anatomy||2|
|DHYG 257||Introduction to Dental Hygiene||2|
|DHYG 257L||Preclinical Dental Hygiene||3|
|DHYG 261||Dental Pharmacology||2|
|DHYG 262||Dental Health Education||2|
|DHYG 265||Dental Materials||3|
|DHYG 267||Dental Hygiene Theory||3|
|DHYG 267L||Clinical Dental Hygiene||3|
|DHYG 414||Radiographic Interpretation||1|
|DHYG 351||General and Oral Pathology||3|
|DHYG 352||Community Dental Health||3|
|DHYG 357||Clinical Dental Hygiene||5|
|DHYG 401||Oral Microbiology||2|
|DHYG 402||Special Care in Dentistry||2|
|DHYG 403||Current Concepts in Periodontics||2|
|DHYG 362||Community Dental Health Internship||1|
|DHYG 363||Dental Ethics and Jurisprudence||1|
|DHYG 367||Clinical Dental Hygiene||4|
|DHYG 393||Dental Hygiene Specialty Practicum||5|
|Dental hygiene elective (one to two hours) chosen from:||1-2|
|Current Topics in Dental Hygiene|
|Death and Dying During Life's Experience|
|Advanced Clinical Dental Hygiene|
|Introduction to Dental Office Management|
|INTRO TO CLIN TEACH|
|Dental Hygiene Service Learning|
|Community-Based Dental Hygiene Service Learning|
In addition to the program requirements listed above, students must attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.
Additional Information for the Dental Hygiene Programs
Upon provisional acceptance into the dental hygiene program, all students must provide an acceptable criminal background check and provide documentation of required immunizations. See "Immunization Requirements" details in the Compliance section.
One of the consequences of the delivery of health care is the possibility of contracting infectious disease such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, herpes, or HIV. To minimize this risk, the UNC School of Dentistry has adopted an Infection Control Policy that requires the wearing of a clinical overgarment, disposable gloves, a mask and protective safety eye covering when oral examinations and dental hygiene services are being performed.
Dental school fees are required that include instrument rental and other supplies needed for clinical care and the education of patients. Additional costs may occur for projects required in the curriculum.
Special Opportunities in Dental Hygiene
Students are eligible to become members of the student American Dental Hygienists’ Association, American Dental Education Association, American Association of Dental Research, American Association of Public Health Dentistry, and other specialty organizations. Student membership fees may be required.
Students have the opportunity to participate in community-based clinical experiences as well as providing oral hygiene programs in the community. Service-learning opportunities are possible as an elective. Each semester students will be involved with hands-on experiences providing dental hygiene services. During the final semester of dental hygiene, students will participate in a three-week practicum. Due to the location of community sites, undergraduate students may need access to transportation. Expenses for travel are the responsibility of the student.
Certificate and baccalaureate degree graduates are eligible for dental hygiene licensure examinations at the state and national levels. Candidates must pass both the national and clinical board examinations in order to be granted a license to practice dental hygiene. Additional costs are associated with the examinations required for licensure. Some dental hygiene licensure examinations require background checks with fingerprint analysis.
The dental hygiene program's accreditation status is approval without reporting requirements as determined by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Dental hygiene students are eligible for awards through the Spurgeon Dental Society in the UNC Adams School of Dentistry and the Dental Foundation of North Carolina. In addition, student awards are also available through the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, American Association of Public Health Dentistry, American Dental Education Association, and other specialty organizations.
Research opportunities are available at the undergraduate level for dental hygiene students. Students are encouraged to become involved in research activities pertaining to dental hygiene and dentistry. Student research grants are available through the University, professional organizations, and private industry.
Graduate School and Career Opportunities
Upon satisfactory completion of the baccalaureate program, students are eligible for application to graduate programs in dental hygiene education, public health, and other areas. The UNC Adams School of Dentistry offers a master of science (M.S.) graduate degree program in dental hygiene education to which graduates of the dental hygiene program may apply. Graduates also are eligible to apply for admission to the school’s predoctoral dental curriculum provided they successfully complete the required program prerequisites.
The growth of the dental health care field assures an excellent employment outlook for the coming years. Courses of study provide comprehensive educational experience to qualified individuals for the practice of dental hygiene in accordance with the current and changing demands for health services and in accordance with the laws and ethics pertaining to practice.
Information Relevant to the UNC Adams School of Dentistry Experience
The State of North Carolina immunization requirements and the UNC Adams School of Dentistry immunization requirements for dental hygiene and doctor of dental surgery students are listed below. Documentation of all is required with application.
- Three DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), Td (tetanus, diphtheria), or Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) doses. (This fulfills the primary series requirement.)
- One Tdap booster after completion of the primary series that did not include a Tdap, and then a Td vaccine every 10 years thereafter.
- Three polio (unless greater than 18 years of age).
- Two measles (rubeola), two mumps, one rubella (two MMR doses meet this requirement) or positive titers.
- Hepatitis B series (not required for individuals born before July 1, 1994). See school requirements below.
UNC Adams School of Dentistry Requirements
- Varicella vaccination series (two shots) or a positive titer.
- Hepatitis B vaccination series (three shots) and a positive hepatitis B antibody (HBsAb) quantitative titer. (Please make sure your physician does not order a qualitative titer.) Ideally, a titer is recommended one to two months after completion of the series for proof of immunity to hepatitis B but can be checked at a later date.
- Two-step tuberculosis skin test (TST) or a TB blood test (IGRA). DDS and DH students report to Campus Health and follow the testing procedures required. Advanced Dental Education students report to Employee Health and follow the testing procedures required.
The matriculating student is required to submit an official certificate of immunizations that is signed by an authorized healthcare provider. Immunization documentation is to be submitted to both to UNC Campus Health Services (CHS) and to the UNC Adams School of Dentistry through ConnectCarolina by a published and specified date. CHS will notify students who are not in compliance with the state immunization requirements noted above. Individuals who have not met the state immunization requirements after 30 calendar days from the first date of attendance will be administratively withdrawn from the University by the University Registrar. See the UNC Campus Health Web site.
Students with deficiencies in the additional immunization requirements of the school will be notified of the deficiencies by the UNC school's director of clinical compliance. The school will work with students to meet these additional requirements. The failure to comply with the school’s requirements after consultation with the director of clinical compliance and the agreed-upon resolution schedule will result in administrative withdrawal from the school.
- Influenza vaccine not earlier than September 1.
- Tuberculosis screening.
- Verification of health insurance. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill requires all eligible students to have health insurance (see the UNC Campus Health Student Health Insurance Web site.) Students are required to waive with existing creditable insurance each semester or they will automatically be enrolled in the UNC System Student Health Insurance Plan, which is administered by Student Blue/BCBS of NC. To waive or enroll/renew, visit the Student Blue Web site.
- American Heart Association certified CPR for Healthcare Providers training. Documentation of current certification is required of the matriculating student. (Note that the school requires in-person CPR skills assessment.)
Infection Control: One of the consequences of the delivery of health care is the possibility of contracting an infectious disease such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, HIV, or herpes. To minimize this risk, the school has adopted an Infection Control Policy that requires the wearing of a clinical overgarment, disposable gloves, a mask, and protective eye covering when oral examinations and dental procedures are being performed.
Infectious Disease Status
Students engaged in patient care activities are required to know their tuberculosis and hepatitis B (HBV) status, and are encouraged to learn their hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV status. State regulations require health care workers, including students, who perform surgical or dental procedures or who assist in such procedures in a way that may result in an exposure of patients to their blood, and who know themselves to be infected with HIV or HBV, to report their status to the state health director. See UNC's policy.
University regulations require students who do not register before the first day of classes in any semester or summer session to pay an additional fee of $20 for delayed registration. Any student who believes that she/he can show sufficient justification for the delay may petition for a refund by completing a form, which can be found online, and outlining the reason for delay. This form must bear the approval of the dean of the UNC Adams School of Dentistry.
Awarding of Degrees and Certificates
To be awarded a degree or certificate, students must satisfactorily complete all requirements of their respective program.
Class and Clinic Attendance
Regular class and clinic attendance is a student obligation. No right or privilege exists that permits a student to be absent from any given number of sessions.
Patient Care Responsibilities
Students are granted the privilege of participating in the patient care system of the UNC Adams School of Dentistry and are expected to provide care consistent with our patient-centered philosophy. Patients are a central part of the health care team and are involved in the planning of their care. It is the responsibility of the dental student to provide patients with the information needed so they make informed decisions about their treatment. The dental student has the responsibility to provide high-quality, evidence-based care to all their assigned patients in a timely manner and to uphold the ethical responsibilities as outlined in the school's Code of Professional Conduct and the Code of Clinical Behavior.
Current academic policies and procedures can be found online. However, policies are subject to change at any time. The manual provides guidelines for governing the School of Dentistry educational programs and advises students, faculty, and staff of academic policies and procedures related to the respective programs.