Health Sciences

Dental Hygiene

The Dental Hygiene program includes instruction in principles of preventive oral care, including teaching patients self-care, examining patients’ head and neck areas for abnormal health status, nutritional counseling, smoking cessation, applying sealants to the grooves of patients’ teeth, producing diagnostically acceptable dental radiographs (X-rays), managing pain and anxiety, and removing deposits from patients’ teeth with scaling procedures.

Employment opportunities in South Carolina include private practice positions as employees of dentists.  There are also opportunities in public health settings, hospital dental practices, prison dental clinics and in dental hygiene education.

Related career roles include dental product sales representatives, infection control consultants for private dental offices and dental hygiene educators.

The Dental Hygiene program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.

Commission on Dental Accreditation
America Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois  60611
(312) 440-4653

Completion of the five clinical semesters in Phase II qualifies the student to take the Dental Hygiene National Board, the passing of which is a prerequisite for licensure by the South Carolina Board of Dentistry.  Students must also pass a Clinical Dental Examination administered by a board approved testing agency to gain licensure in South Carolina.

Special Requirements

Phase I, the Pre-Dental Hygiene certificate, must be completed with a 2.5 GPA, including “C” or better in natural science and math courses, as one of the criteria for advancement to Phase II, the Dental Hygiene major curriculum.  Students may not retake any course in Phase I more than once.  Students may not retake more than two courses in Phase I.  Science and math courses must be completed according to the Health Sciences policy.

Students in Phase II must receive a “C” or better on all dental hygiene courses and maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA.  Students may not repeat a major course more than once, nor may they progress until that course has been passed.

Students may not repeat more than two Phase II courses during their program matriculation. 

A student may not be readmitted to the dental hygiene program more than once.  Readmitted students will be expected to revalidate competencies prior to resuming participation in the program at the previous point of validated competencies and may be required to comply with mutually agreed upon re-entry requirements.

Students are required to purchase and maintain a complete set of dental hygiene and x-ray instruments, clinical instruments, laboratory coats, standard uniforms (including gloves and masks), shoes, name pin and safety glasses at an approximate cost of $4,500.

Students are required to pass a comprehensive examination in each clinical dental hygiene course to continue in the program the following semester.  Students must pass a written competency examination prior to the third semester of Phase II.  This competency exam tests students’ knowledge in all clinical and scientific subject matter presented during the Pre-Dental HygieneCertificate and the first year in dental hygiene.

Primary clinical experience is gained in the on-campus dental clinic at the Airport Campus.  Students may also rotate through local dental clinics, hospitals, private dental offices and nursing homes in the immediate area for practicum experiences in a variety of situations and age groups.  Students will be required to comply with regulations required in off-campus clinical sites, which might include finger printing, additional background checks and drug screening.

Pre-clinical practice is performed on classmate patients.  Students accepted into Phase II of the Dental Hygiene program will be expected to act as patients for classmates to practice all new skills, including infiltration anesthesia injections.  Students who require antibiotics prior to dental procedures will be expected to comply with such self-medication so as to allow equitable classmate learning experiences during pre-clinical sessions.  Students anticipating orthodontic procedures should complete their banding phase prior to entry into Phase II or they should delay initiation of the orthodontic procedures until the second year of Phase II.

Students will be required to produce an acceptable background check and a drug screening prior to entering Phase II of the Dental Hygiene Program.  Arrangements will be made by the Allied Dental Education Program.

Students are encouraged to join their student professional organization and to participate in its scheduled activities, including attendance at the annual meeting.  In addition, they are required to participate in scheduled activities such as visits to elementary schools for dental health education presentations and dental screenings.

Major:  Dental Hygiene (84 credit hours)
Degree:  Associate of Health Science


General Education Course Requirements (19 credit hours)





Credit Hours


BIO 210

Anatomy and Physiology I @



ENG 101

English Composition I @



ENG 102

English Composition II@



MAT 155

Contemporary Mathematics @



PSY 201

General Psychology @




Approved Humanities Course @







Major courses meeting other college general education core requirements are starred (*)

Courses designated with @ are part of Phase I - Pre-Dental Hygiene Certificate.






Major Course Requirements (45 credit hours)





Credit Hours


AHS 113

Head and Neck Anatomy



BIO 115

Basic Microbiology @



DHG 121

Dental Radiography



DHG 125

Tooth Morphology and Histology



DHG 140

General and Oral Pathology



DHG 141




DHG 143

Dental Pharmacology



DHG 151

Dental Hygiene Principles



DHG 161

Clinical Dental Hygiene I Foundations



DHG 175

Clinical Dental Hygiene II*



DHG 230

Public Health Dentistry



DHG 231

Dental Health Education



DHG 239

Dental Assisting for DHGs



DHG 255

Clinical Dental Hygiene III



DHG 265

Clinical Dental Hygiene IV








Additional Course Requirements (20 credit hours)





Credit Hours


BIO 211

Anatomy and Physiology II @



CHM 105

General Organic and Biochemistry @



CPT 170

Microcomputer Applications * @



DHG 115

Medical and Dental Emergencies



DHG 241

Integrated Dental Hygiene I



DHG 242

Integrated Dental Hygiene II



DHG 243

Nutrition and Dental Health



SOC 101

Introduction to Sociology @










Total Credit Hours:


Major courses meeting other college general education core requirements are starred (*)  Courses designated with @ are part of Phase I - Pre-Dental Hygiene Certificate.