Dental hygienists clean teeth and provide other preventive dental care, as well as teach patients how to practice good oral hygiene. Hygienists examine patients' teeth and gums, recording the presence of diseases or abnormalities. They remove calculus, stains, and plaque from teeth; take and develop dental x rays, and apply cavity preventive agents such as fluorides and pit and fissure sealants. In some States, hygienists administer local anesthetics and anesthetic gas; place and carve filling materials, temporary fillings, and periodontal dressings; remove sutures; and smooth and polish metal restorations. Dental hygienists also help patients develop and maintain good oral health. For example, they may explain the relationship between diet and oral health, inform patients how to select toothbrushes, and show patients how to brush and floss their teeth. Dental hygienists use hand and rotary instruments, lasers, and ultrasonics to clean teeth; x-ray machines to take dental pictures; syringes with needles to administer local anesthetics, and models of teeth to explain oral hygiene.
Frequently Asked Questions
What courses do I need to take at Mississippi College?
The program involves two years of work at Mississippi College (a minimum of 63 academic semester hours) and two years at the University Medical Center in Jackson. Upon successful completion of the total four years, a Bachelor of Science degree will be awarded from the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Admission to the Medical Center is competitive.
The courses to be taken at Mississippi College are:
- Biology 111, 203-204, 251 (16 sem. hrs.)
- Chemistry 141-142 (8 sem. hrs.)
- Mathematics 101 (3 sem. hrs.)
- Psychology 201 and 302 or 305 or 423 (6 sem. hrs.)
- Sociology 205 (3 sem. hrs.)
- Nutrition, Business, Accounting, Management or Computer Science (9 sem. hrs, electives)
- English 101-102 (6 sem. hrs.)
- Communication 202 or 203 (3 sem. hrs.)
- Humanities (6 sem. hrs.)
- Art 125 or Theater 125 or Music 125 (3 sem. hrs.)
What are the requirements to get into the program?
Your overall GPA, as well as your science GPA, will be considered. During the interview process, you will take a written exam to assess written communication skills.
When do I apply?
The application window is July 1 – February 1 preceding the fall term of acceptance.
What kind of courses will I take my junior and senior year?
If you enroll in the Dental Hygiene program at the University of Mississippi Medical Center you will take the following courses:
- Patient Care Services
- Medical Emergencies in the Dental Office
- Dental Morphology and Occlusion
- Oral Health Education
- Radiology I
- Dental Hygiene Theory
- Head and Neck Anatomy
- Survey of Health Care Delivery
- Dental Materials
- Oral Histology and Embryology
- Patient Care Theory I
- Patient Care I
- Radiology II
- Periodontics I
- General Pathology
- Oral Microbiology
- Research Issues and Trends
- Patient Care II
- Biochemistry of Nutrition
- Oral Pathology
- Patient Care Theory II
- Periodontics II
- Research Design and Statistics
- Research Issues and Trends II
- Practice Administration
- Community Dental Health
- Patient Care Theory III
- Patient Care III
Is there a licensure exam?
Yes, upon completion of the program you will take a state and national exam in order to become a licensed dental hygienist.
How much does a dental hygienist make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay of dental hygienists was $70,210 in 2012.