Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene Student with patient

The Dental Hygiene program at Shawnee State University is designed to educate and prepare competent dental health care professionals who are able to be employed in private dental practices or clinics where they provide a variety of oral care services and treatments as well as dental health education, home care instruction and diet and nutritional counseling.

Graduates of the Dental Hygiene Program at Shawnee State University earn an Associate of Applied Science degree. The program is completed in 5 academic semesters that combine classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. All instruction is provided at Shawnee State University. Graduates are eligible to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as state and regional clinical examinations.


The Dental Hygiene Program is accredited by the American Dental Association – Commission on Dental Accreditation.


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Dental Hygiene

Contact Information

Dental Hygiene Program
940 Second Street
Health Science Building, Room 128
Portsmouth, OH 45662

Tammy Grigson
Phone: (740) 351-3236

What is Dental Hygiene?

Dental hygiene is a vital health service component of dentistry and emphasizes oral health and the prevention of oral disease.

Most dental hygienists are employed in private dental offices. The hygienist's main function is to provide dental health education, home care instruction, and diet/nutritional counseling. Dental hygiene services include performing oral prophylaxis, scaling and polishing of the patient's teeth to remove soft and hard deposits; dental charting and oral examinations; exposing and processing radiographs; applying fluoride treatments and sealants; and making preliminary impressions for study models. A dental hygienist should possess fine-motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Dental hygienists should be able to effectively communicate with individuals, both one-on-one and during small group interactions. Many states, including the State of Ohio, permit hygienists to administer local anesthesia and monitor nitrous oxide sedation.

Career Opportunities

Hygienists are employed in the following areas:

  • Private Practice

  • Public Health Dental hygienists may be involved in school-based oral screening of sealant programs, planning, implementing, and evaluating oral health education programs for dental professionals, medical professionals and the public.

  • Dental Marketing Employment opportunities may be available with companies that market dental-related materials and equipment.

  • Hospitals and Clinics Concerned primarily with the special oral health problems of the bedridden and chronically ill.

  • Teaching and Research Hygienists with advanced degrees may be employed in research or may teach in dental hygiene educational programs that help students to prepare for the profession.

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