The role of a dental hygienist

Dental Hygienists are credentialed and licensed health professionals who serve integral roles in the delivery of health care, by providing preventive, therapeutic and educational dental health services to patients. They focus on preventing and treating dental diseases to improve oral health, in support of the patient’s overall health.

Dental hygienists must maintain a license in each state in which they practice. In most states, candidates must graduate from an accredited dental hygiene program, pass a national written board examination and pass a state or regional clinical board examination to be eligible for licensure.

Graduates of our bachelor's degree program serve the private sector and community through employment in general and specialized dental practices, government clinics, and public health agencies.  Job availability is greater in rural areas and in areas not adjacent to academic dental hygiene programs. Salaries vary depending on the practice setting. Georgia Workforce 2014 ranked dental hygiene a field that is "fast growing, high-paying, and expected to offer plentiful job openings over the projected period."

Clinical duties include:

  • Take and record dental and medical histories
  • Perform oral examinations
  • Assess dental hygiene treatment needs
  • Scale and polish teeth
  • Apply topical fluoride
  • Prepare diagnostic casts
  • Perform root debridement
  • Expose and process dental X-rays
  • Place temporary restorations
  • Apply sealants
  • Provide patient education

Augusta University dental hygiene graduates enter the profession able to:

  • Provide accurate documentation of the assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation phases of the dental hygiene  process in patient care and community settings for the promotion of health and prevention of disease,
  • Effectively communicate with individuals and groups from diverse populations in humane, empathetic, and caring manner,
  • Relate the dental hygiene process of care to the research process by using critical thinking and problem solving in evidence-based practice within accepted standards of care,
  • Contribute actively to the dental hygiene knowledge base by presenting scientific research,
  • Advance the dental hygiene profession and establish social networks through service activities and affiliations with professional organizations,
  • Identify the various roles of dental hygienists and alternative career options available in health care institutions, industry, education, and research,
  • Adhere to the professional Code of Ethics, state and federal laws, and institutional policy in the provision of dental hygiene care and other endeavors where applicable, and
  • Perform self-assessment for life-long learning and professional growth.

Contact Us

College of Allied Health - Dental Hygiene
  Dental College of Georgia
       1430 John Wesley Gilbert Dr.
       Room 4309

       Augusta, GA 30912
       Erin Boyleston