Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
Program Overview & Information
The Northern Arizona University Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Program has earned a nationwide reputation for educating dental hygiene professionals since its inception in 1973. The Northern Arizona University Dental Hygiene Program is the only program in Arizona that awards a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene upon completion of the program.
The Dental Hygiene Program is a 2-year program consisting of four 16-week semesters, a 5-week summer, and a 2-week externship which is completed before classes start in the Fall. Classes are only offered through the Flagstaff Mountain Campus. This program requires roughly 2 years of prerequisites.
Click below to see the program prerequisites
The NAU Dental Hygiene Program requires a separate application and acceptance to the program. Since there are more applicants than available space, admission is competitive. Meeting the minimum criteria merely allows you to submit an application and is not a guarantee of acceptance into the dental hygiene program. Students who are not admitted must reapply each year, there is no wait-list.
You’ll be educated in a well-equipped, cutting-edge clinical facility. An 18-chair clinic and dental laboratory are used to develop and practice dental hygiene procedures, using state-of-the-art dental equipment, including Velscope, Spectra, and Intraoral camera. The radiographic technique is taught in a 5-chair facility, which includes a panoramic x-ray machine, and digital x-ray equipment. The comfortably-furnished student seminar/computer center has a beautiful view of the San Francisco Peaks and is a pleasant place to access web courses and study between classes.
The Dental Hygiene Department was awarded the Provost Award for Excellence in Global Learning on April 23rd, 2014, and April 24th, 2018.
Every year, the Dental Hygiene Department travels to under-served areas all over the world to provide dental hygiene services to citizens in need. Participation in the International Community Partnership affords dental hygiene students the opportunity to work among various cultures in the health disciplines, internationally contributing to the process of global engagement as a NAU dental hygiene student. Through this process, students understand the role of a dental hygiene advanced public health practitioner while working as an interdisciplinary team member. Some of these rotations will require the student to be gone for several days or longer. The NAU Dental Hygiene Department does provide faculty-supervised housing and transportation for the Hopi rotation located in Polacca, AZ approximately 2.5 hours away from the Flagstaff area. The student may choose to drive to and from the location; however, the student will then be responsible for getting themselves to the Hopi Clinic on time each day and providing their own transportation. Students are expected to drive to the Yavapai Clinic and return in the evening of the same day using their own transportation. They may arrange to carpool with other students.
What is a Dental Hygienist? Accordion Closed
Job Description According to the ADA
A career as a dental hygienist offers a wide range of challenges. In the dental office, the dentist and the dental hygienist work together to meet the oral health needs of patients. Since each state has its own specific regulations regarding its responsibilities, the range of services performed by hygienists varies from state to state. Some of the services provided by dental hygienists may include:
patient screening procedures; such as assessment of oral health conditions, review of the health history, oral cancer screening, head and neck inspection, dental charting, and taking blood pressure and pulse
taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays)
removing calculus and plaque (hard and soft deposits) from all surfaces of the teeth
applying preventive materials to the teeth (e.g., sealants and fluorides)
teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health;
(e.g., tooth brushing, flossing, and nutritional counseling)
counseling patients about good nutrition and its impact on oral health
making impressions of patients’ teeth for study casts (models of teeth used by dentists to evaluate patient treatment needs)
performing documentation and office management activities
WREB/NDHBE Exam Information Accordion Closed
The NAU Dental Hygiene Clinic is a WREB testing location for Local Anesthesia Clinical & Dental Hygiene Clinical.
POLICY ON AUTHORIZATION FOR STATE, REGIONAL, AND NATIONAL BOARD EXAMINATIONS (WREB / NDHBE) – The Dental Hygiene Department has an obligation to withhold recommending a student to take a board examination if a student is considered to be an unsafe or unethical practitioner. Graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program does not guarantee a graduate will perform at a passing level in a stressful board environment. Students are responsible for all exam registration fees and for finding an appropriate patient for the clinical board examination. AFTER graduation and the student has taken the clinical board, the instruments used can be sterilized during the 5 weeks of summer school. The graduated student CANNOT use NAU facilities for ANY procedures e.g. screenings, radiographs, etc. due to legal implications resulting from the graduate not being covered under NAU student statutes.
WREB / NDHBE – Each student is responsible for contacting the state board of dentistry in the state they wish to practice. Additional courses and/or fees may be required depending upon the state’s regulations.
In the event a student fails the clinical board and has to remediate:
1. Student is responsible for submitting paperwork from WREB/ NDHBE Board Examiners to NAU.
2. Students must reapply to NAU.
3. Student must enroll in and complete DH 313 (Didactic and Clinic)
4. If they fail to meet the summer deadline the student must enroll in and complete Fall DH 411 (Clinic and Didactic)
5. The student is responsible for all fees associated with enrollment at NAU and in DH courses.
STUDENTS’ RESPONSIBILITY TO MOCK BOARD PATIENTS
Dental hygiene students are responsible for completing all treatment for their mock board patient. Under no circumstances should patients used for mock boards be abandoned after the student has completed the requirements. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate to the patient the recommended treatment plan, obtain informed consent for the patient to participate in the capacity of mock board patient, and ensure the patients are scheduled for completion of care if the student is unable to complete the treatment plan in its entirety for mock board patients.
Professional Licensure by State Accordion Closed
State Licensure Information Accordion Closed
Licensure is granted by each individual state. Dental hygienists practice in accordance with requirements of individual state dental practice acts. For more information regarding program licensure in other states, please visit https://www.adha.org/licensure. Board exams that transfer to different states: https://www.adha.org/resources-docs/75116_State_Licensure_Credentials_Endorsement_Chart.pdf
DISCLAIMER: STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Students enrolled at NAU who wish to practice in the state of California must take an additional ANE/CURETTAGE/NITROUS OXIDE course because CA does not recognize AZ dental hygiene anesthesia courses. More info can be found here: http://www.swccd.edu/index.aspx?page=3822 or
Our Dental Hygiene Program is fully accredited by the