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 IUSD Dental Hygiene Program offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene and a Bachelor of Science degree completion in Public Health Dental Hygiene, for hygienists who have already completed their Associate degree.  The Bachelor degree program is a full-time curriculum which is three and one-half years in length and is composed of Prerequisite college course work (35 college credit hours), a core curriculum of professional coursework (65 credit hours) presented over four semesters and summer session, and a specialized track (20 credit hours) in one of three subjects:  Education, Public Health Dental Hygiene and Public Health Administration.  Prerequisite college course work must be completed at an undergraduate college or university prior to acceptance to the Dental Hygiene degree program at IUSD.  Once accepted into the program, all core, and professional courses are mandatory.  The Dental Hygiene program at Indiana University School of Dentistry is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. 

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.  The IUSD Bachelor of Science Dental Hygiene program is unique to Indiana in that the program will hold courses year round (see BS degree map).  This will enable students to graduate with a BSDH in 40 months, a semester earlier than a traditional 4 year Bachelor degree. 

BS degree map

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 May, 2017 shows that the median yearly salary for dental hygienists nationally was $74,070 and the median hourly salary was $35.61.  In Indiana, the mean yearly salary was $69,340 and the mean hourly salary was $33.34.  Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, May, 2017 Edition, Dental Hygienists, on the Internet at (visited January 4, 2019). 

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.

BSDH Program Fees 2018-2019

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 Lisa Maxwell, 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 Application 2018

BS Degree Completion Program Fees 2018-19