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Dental Hygiene

Associate of Applied Science Degree

Program Director: Julie Barnwell
Program Faculty: Kim Dunlap, Rachael Bruce, Dr. David Dachs

Program Website

Program Application (Fall 2021 Application available February 15th)

The Dental Hygienist is a licensed professional member of the healthcare team who integrates the roles of educator, consumer advocate, practitioner, manager, and researcher to support total health through the promotion of oral health and wellness. The focus of dental hygiene is on preventing oral disease.

Upon receipt of the Associate of Applied Science Degree, successful completion of the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination is required. The graduate will also need to obtain a license for the state he/she wishes to practice in by successfully completing a regional practical examination (WREB). The dental hygienist must practice in accordance with the requirements of the individual state's practice acts and abide by requirements to maintain licensure.

The Great Falls College MSU’s Dental Hygiene Program is a limited enrollment program, accepting 25 students each year. Interested students are urged to contact the Program Director or the Advising & Career Center Advisors for student advising specific to admission requirements and criteria for program acceptance.

Dental Hygiene Program Goals:

Patient Care:

Provide challenging clinical experiences that encompass dental hygiene care for the child, adolescent, adult, geriatric, and special needs patients so students can demonstrate clinical care that is safe, effective and ethical.


Provide a comprehensive curriculum in dental hygiene that reflects current practice and incorporates a variety of health care settings.


Incorporate evidence-based research into presentations for dental hygienists that require students to analyze and assess emerging technology and treatment modalities hygienist can integrate into their clinical practices.


Promote participation in professional organization and community service projects.

When students graduate, they will have met the following competencies:

1. Apply a professional code of ethics in all endeavors. This should include assuming responsibility for professional actions and care based on current standard of care. This standard of care should incorporate scientific theories and research.

2. Adhere to state and federal laws, recommendations, and regulations in the provision of oral health care.

3. Use critical thinking skills, comprehensive problem solving and reflective judgement to identify oral health care strategies that promote patient health and wellness as well as they should be able to determine a dental hygiene diagnosis. These strategies should consider predisposing and etiologic risk factors to prevent disease. In addition, these strategies should recognize how systemic diseases, meds, and oral health conditions influences patient care.

4. Use of evidence-based decision making to evaluate emerging technology and treatment modalities as well as accepted scientific theories and research to provide not only quality, cost effective care but also educational, preventative and therapeutic oral health services

5. Continuously perform self-assessment for lifelong learning and professional growth that may include pursuing career opportunities within health care, industry, education, research, and other roles as they evolve in dental hygiene. They should understand how to access professional and social networks to pursue professional goals.

6. Communicate effectively with diverse individuals and groups, serving them without discrimination by acknowledging and appreciating diversity.

7. Promote the values of the dental hygiene profession as well as positive values of overall health and wellness to the public and organization through service­ based activities, positive community affiliations and active involvement in local organizations within and outside the profession.

8. Apply quality assurance mechanisms to ensure continuous commitment to accepted standards of care that include methods that ensure the health and safety of the patient and clinician in the delivery of care.

9. Initiate a collaborative approach with all patients to develop an individualized care plan that may include collaboration with and consultation from other health care providers to formulate a comprehensive dental hygiene care plan that is patient centered. Use of professional judgement and current science based evidence should be considered as well as the unique needs of each patient including cultural sensitivity and referrals as needed. These referrals may include physiological, psychological or social problems. Adherence to disease prevention or maintenance strategies should also be addressed. Finally obtain and document patients informed consent based on through presentation of case.

10. Systematically collect, analyze, and record diagnostic data on the general, oral, and psychosocial health status of a variety of patients. Record accurate, consistent and complete documentation of oral health services provided.

11. Identify patients at risk for medical emergency, and manage patient care to prevent emergency. Manage a medical emergency by using professional judgement that may include providing life support and CPR as well as specialized training and knowledge.

12. Provide specialized treatment that includes educational, preventative, and therapeutic services designed to achieve and maintain health that includes determining outcomes of dental hygiene interventions using appropriate techniques. Also, evaluate the effectiveness of this treatment, as well as compare actual outcomes of dental hygiene interventions with expected outcomes and adjusted as needed to provide optimal care.

13. Identify population risk factors as well as oral health needs in the community and develop strategies that promote health-related quality of life which may include determining availability of resources to meet the health care needs of this population or community In addition advocate for effective oral health care for underserved populations.

14. Provide screenings, referrals and educational services that allow patients to access the resources of the health care system.

15. Provide community oral health services in a variety of settings and evaluate the outcomes of community-based programs, and plan for future activities.

16. Evaluate reimbursement mechanisms and their impact on the patient's access to oral health care.

Estimated Resident Program Cost*

Tuition and Fees $12,074
Application Fee $30
Lab Fees $265
Program Fee $1,771
Books/Supplies/Instruments $3,116
Total $17,256


Fall 2020 MUS Student Health Insurance Premiums will be changing. Please check the Health Insurance website and/or Student Central for confirmed premium rates. Students will be charged an additional fee of $21 per credit for online/hybrid courses.

Students will be required to purchase dental instruments, supplies, uniforms, and may also be required to provide transportation to clinical sites and lodging costs depending on the clinical sites selected.

Many students need preliminary math, science, and writing courses before enrolling in the program requirements. These courses may increase the total number of program credits. Students should review their math and writing placement before planning out their full program schedules.

Prerequisite Courses

BIOH 201Human Anat Phys I/Lab (= 301) *,**,+4
BIOH 211Human Anat Phys II & Lab(=311) *,+4
NOTE: UM Western students may substitute BIOB 160, BIOH 365 & BIOH 379 for GFC MSU BIOH 201 & BIOH 211. All 3 classes are required and must have a grade of C or higher (not C-) within the last 5 years of application.
BIOM 250Microbiology for Hlth Sci wLab *,+4
M 121College Algebra (OR Any math course in the MUS Core)3
WRIT 101College Writing I **,+3
Select one of the following:
CHMY 121Intro to General Chem w/Lab **,+4

CHMY 141College Chemistry I w/Lab **,+4
CHMY 143College Chemistry II w/Lab *,+4
Total Credits22-27

All prerequisite courses and dental hygiene program application must be completed by June 10th prior to fall entry into the program. A grade of C (not a C-) or above must be achieved in all prerequisite and program courses to advance in the program and to graduate.

Program Course Requirements

First Year
DENT 101 Intro to Dental Hyg/Preclinic *,+ 2
DENT 102 Intro to DH/Preclinic Lab *,+ 2
DENT 105 Professional Issues/Ethics in Dental I *,+ 1
DENT 110 Theory of Infect Ctrl and Dis *,+ 1
DENT 118 Oral Anatomy for Hygienists *,+ 3
DENT 122 Radiology I/Lab *,+ 2
HTH 140 Pharmacology for HC Providers *,+ 2

First Year
DENT 125 Radiology II/Lab *,+ 2
DENT 150 Clinical Dent Hyg Theory I *,+ 2
DENT 151 Clinical Dent Hyg Practice I *,+ 4
DENT 160 Periodontology I *,+ 3
DENT 165 Oral Histology and Embryology *,+ 2
DENT 240 Local Anes/Nitrous Ox Theo/Lab *,+ 2

First Year
DENT 220 Dental Nutrition Health *,+ 3
DENT 223 Clinical Dent Hyg Theory II *,+ 2
DENT 251 Clinical Dent Hyg Practice II *,+ 4
DENT 260 Periodontology II *,+ 2

Second Year
DENT 130 Dental Materials *,+ 2
DENT 237 Gerontology/Special Needs Pts *,+ 2
DENT 250 Clinical Dent Hyg Theory III *,+ 2
DENT 252 Clinical Dent Hyg Practice III *,+ 5
DENT 263 General/Oral Pathology *,+ 3
Select one of the following:
COMX 111 Intro to Public Speaking + 3
COMX 115 Intro to Interpersonal Communc + 3

Second Year
DENT 205 Professional Issues/Ethics in Dental II *,+ 1
DENT 232 Comm Dental Hlth and Educ *,+ 2
DENT 280 Clinical Dent Hyg Theory IV *,+ 1
DENT 281 Clinical Dent Hyg Practice IV *,+ 5
SOCI 101 Introduction to Sociology + 3
Select one of the following:
PSYX 100 Introduction to Psychology + 3
PSYX 230 Developmental Psychology + 3
Total Credits71



Indicates prerequisites needed.


Placement in course(s) is determined by placement assessment.


A grade of C or above is required for graduation.