Dental Hygiene


Indiana University School of Dentistry has been a leader in dental education since its inception as The Indiana Dental College in 1879.  IUSD is the home of the first dental hygiene program in Indiana, which was established in 1950.   The current IUSD Dental Hygiene Program offers both an Associate of Science degree in Dental Hygiene and a Bachelor of Science in Public Health Dental Hygiene, the latter being a part-time, degree-completion program for hygienists who have already completed their Associate degree.  The current Associate degree program is a full-time curriculum which is two years in length and is composed of a core curriculum of 62 credit hours of professional coursework presented over four semesters and one summer session.  All courses are mandatory.   Prerequisite college course work (37 college credit hours) must be completed at an undergraduate college or university prior to acceptance to the Dental Hygiene degree program at IUSD.  The Dental Hygiene program at Indiana University School of Dentistry is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. 

Our program is currently undergoing the review process with Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) to convert our Associate degree into a Bachelor degree.  The tentative approval date for the proposed Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene degree (BSDH) will be September 2015.  Once the BSDH degree is confirmed by the university, we will no longer offer the Associate degree in dental hygiene.

The new BSDH will allow the student to choose from three specialization tracks.  We are fortunate to have the cooperation and support of the Fairbanks School of Public Health, located on the campus of IUPUI, to enable our program to offer specialized tracks in Public Health Dental Hygiene and Public Health Administration.  We will offer a track in Education through the dental hygiene program as well. 

The new BSDH program will be unique in that the program will hold courses year round (see proposed BS curriculum).  This will enable students to graduate with a BSDH in 40 months, a semester earlier than a traditional 4 year Bachelor degree. 

Proposed BS degree curriculum

What is a Dental Hygienist?

The dental hygienist is a member of the dental health team who provides educational, preventive and therapeutic oral health services.  Employment opportunities may be available in private dental practice, hospitals, public health agencies, educational institutions, and research.

Average Salary for a Dental Hygienist

Salaries for dental hygienists vary depending on location and type of practice.  The last reported survey from the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics dated 2014-2015 shows that the median yearly salary for dental hygienists nationally was $70,210 and the median hourly salary was $33.75.  In Indiana, the mean yearly salary was $65,100 and he mean hourly salary was $31.30.  Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Hnadbook, 2014-15 Edition, Dental Hygienists, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-hygienists.htm (visited July 26, 2015). 

The Dental Hygiene curriculum supports attainment of the following list of competencies expected of a dental hygienist entering the profession.

The graduate will be prepared to:
1. apply a professional code of ethics in all endeavors;
2. adhere to state and federal laws, recommendations, regulations and safety practices in the provision of dental hygiene care;
3. provide dental hygiene care to promote patient/client health and wellness using critical thinking and problem solving in the provision of evidenced-based practice;
4. assume responsibility for dental hygiene actions and care based on accepted scientific theories and research as well as the accepted standard of care;
5. continuously perform self-assessment for life-long learning and professional growth;
6. advance the profession through service activities and affiliations with professional organizations;
7. provide quality assurance mechanisms for health services;
8. communicate effectively with individuals and groups from diverse populations both orally and in writing;
9. provide accurate, consistent and complete documentation for assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation of dental hygiene services;
10. provide care to all clients using an individualized approach that is humane, empathetic and caring;
11. provide planned educational services using appropriate interpersonal communication skills and educational strategies to promote optimal oral health;
12. initiate and assume responsibility for health promotion, health education and disease prevention activities for diverse populations;
13. systematically collect, analyze and record data on the general, oral, and psychosocial health status of a variety of patients/clients using methods consistent with medico-legal principles;
14. use critical decision-making skills to reach conclusions about the patients'/clients' dental hygiene needs based on all available assessment data;
15. collaborate with the patient/client, and/or other health professionals to formulate a comprehensive dental hygiene care plan that is patient/client-centered and based on current scientific evidence;
16. provide specialized treatment that includes preventive and therapeutic services designed to achieve and maintain oral health; and
17. evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented clinical, preventive and educational services and modify as needed.


DH Curriculum - AS degree

DH Program Fees 2014-2015

Bachelor of Science degree completion program in Public Health Dental Hygiene

The IUSD Bachelor of Science degree completion program in Public Health Dental Hygiene provides an opportunity for graduate dental hygienists to develop further expertise in public health methods or dental hygiene education and includes application of practical experience.  It prepares hygienists for leadership roles in education, public health, commercial ventures, professional associations and/or health advocacy.  It can enhance career opportunities available to dental hygienists in a variety of areas, including but not limited to: state and county health departments, academia, sales and marketing, educational software development, pharmaceuticals, dental education consulting, dental insurance companies, research, and clinical dental hygiene.  The Bachelor of Science degree completion program will allow you to develop the leadership skills needed for today’s dental hygiene professional and prepare you for entry into graduate programs.

The program's objectives are designed to provide students with the education and skills to:
1. perform dental hygiene services in a variety of settings (e.g. private dental practice, public health clinics, school systems, institutions and hospitals
2. design, implement, and evaluate effective preventive dental health programs for individuals and for groups in such settings as schools, hospitals, institutions and community programs;
3. serve as a resource person and work in cooperation with other health personnel in assessing health care needs and providing health care services to the public;
4. plan, implement, and evaluate effective teaching methodologies in an educational setting;
5. supervise the teaching of dental hygiene services in a clinical/public health setting;
6. prepare for admission to graduate programs; and
7. continue their professional education and personal growth.

 The program is designed to meet the needs of part-time students who wish to work while completing their degree.

An application and further information about the Bachelor of Science program in Public Health Dental Hygiene can be obtained from the B.S Degree Completion Director.  Address communications in writing to Nancy A. Young, BS Degree Completion Program Director, Dental Hygiene Program, Indiana University School of Dentistry, 1121 West Michigan Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202-5186.  You may also call the Dental Hygiene office at (317) 274-7801 for more information about the Bachelor of Science degree program.

BS Degree Completion Program Description

BS Degree Completion in Public Health Dental Hygiene application- revised 2014

BS Degree Completion Program Fees 2014-15