May 28, 2024  
2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Dental Hygiene, B.S.

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College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences

Department of Allied Health Sciences

Dental Hygiene Program Information

P.O. Box 70690
Phone: (423) 439-4497
FAX: (423) 439-4030
70 Lamb Hall
Web address:

Accredited by: CODA – Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association

The Department of Allied Health Sciences offers a BS degree in dental hygiene. One class per year is admitted in the fall. Students are required to attend designated consecutive semesters to complete the program. Successful completion of the program enables students to take the National Board Exam for Dental Hygiene and clinical board exams as required for licensure leading to the credentials of Registered Dental Hygienist. The dental hygienist works with the dental team in the prevention and control of dental disease and has the opportunity to work in diverse settings. In addition to the private dental office, dental hygienists may work in such practice settings as: federal, state, and local health departments, hospitals, nursing homes, school systems, educational programs for dental hygiene and dental assisting students, private business/industry, correctional facilities, private and public centers for pediatric, geriatric, and other individuals/groups with special needs, and health maintenance organizations. The dental hygienist, a recognized member of the dental team, is devoted to helping patients prevent dental disease and maintain good oral health. The responsibilities of a licensed dental hygienist in Tennessee include scaling and polishing teeth, applying topical fluoride agents, placing pit and fissure sealants, providing nutritional counseling, exposing and processing dental radiographs, and educating the patient in the proper care of their teeth and supporting structures.

Admission – Students must be admitted both to the university and to the program, requiring separate application processes. Admission to the university does not insure admission to the program. Application to the dental hygiene program requires submission of the online application form and submission of all college transcripts to the program. Completed application materials must be received by March 1.

Expenses: In addition to the usual registration and tuition, students are required to purchase such personal items as uniforms, dental instruments, specialized textbooks, laboratory materials, and specialized equipment. Expenditures for these items, which are the personal property of the student, are approximately $3,500. Most of this additional expense occurs during the first year of study.

Retention - Progression Policy: Dental Hygiene students will be allowed to progress in the dental hygiene curriculum as all dental hygiene courses and basic science courses (Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, and Chemistry) are completed with a grade of C or better. Progression status will be evaluated at the close of each semester. Students receiving less than a C in any of the classes listed above will be placed on probation. A student on probation who receives a second grade of less than C in one of the classes listed above will not be permitted to progress in the dental hygiene curriculum. Students earning failing grades in any dental hygiene course will be reviewed by the faculty to determine feasibility of progression. Following the faculty review of student performance, an individual plan for curriculum completion will be presented for consideration for any student affected.

Graduation Requirements – The BS in dental hygiene degree requires 41 credit hours of general education courses, 68 credit hours of dental hygiene courses, 11 credit hours consisting of chemistry, nutrition, and microbiology, totaling 120 hours. CSCI 1100 or the successful completion of the proficiency exam is an additional ETSU graduation requirement.

General Program Information

To earn a degree from ETSU, there are specific course requirements established by ETSU, by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), by each college, and by each department. All students must meet the degree requirements at each of these levels outlined in the following list:

University-level Degree and Graduation Requirements

Total Credit Hours for Degree: 120

TBR General Education Requirements: 41 Credit Hours

Listed below are the categories and courses specified under TBR General Education Requirements. Note that certain courses are required for this degree, specific to this major. Thus, these courses will satisfy both a TBR General Education requirement AND a requirement of this major. (Other majors may require different General Education courses.) Where specific courses are required for this major,  only those courses are listed under the category. If there are no specific major requirements for a category, all course options appear.


9 credits, consisting of 6 credits of written composition and 3 credits of oral communication.

Written Composition

Complete both of the following: 

Oral Communication

Complete one of the following:

Humanities and Fine Arts

9 credits, consisting of 3 credits of literature, 3 credits of fine arts, and 3 credits of humanities electives. For ETSU students and those transferring in with less than 50 hours, dental hygiene majors are advised to take courses designated as writing intensive for their literature and humanities credits to avoid taking extra courses to meet writing intensive requirements.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Complete both of the following:


6 credits, consisting of both of the following:

Natural Sciences

Must complete all the following (required lab is listed below the lecture course):


Students will enroll in the appropriate general education math course during their first calendar year of enrollment at ETSU. Students required to complete learning support in mathematics must enroll in a learning support-designated section (L01-L99) of MATH 1530  during their first 15 hours at ETSU (not including summer) unless they are also required to complete learning support in reading or writing. Students needing learning support in reading or writing in addition to learning support in math should enroll in MATH 1530-Lxx immediately upon completing their other learning support requirements. Additional information may be found on the University Advisement Center website

Additional pre-requisite requirements for Dental Hygiene Major: 11 credit hours

Must complete all of the following:

Major Requirements: 68 credit hours

Minor: no minor required

Dental Hygiene Intensive Courses

At the present time the following dental hygiene courses have been designated as intensive courses to meet university general education requirements. Writing-Intensive (WI) courses are DHYG 4010  and DHYG 4120  . Oral Communication-Intensive (OCI) courses are DHYG 4010  and DHYG 4130 . Our Using Information Technology (UIT) or technology intensive course is DHYG 4020 .


Click here to view the Dental Hygiene Suggested Course Sequence. 

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