Next available program openings are in fall 2025. Contact the counseling and advising center to learn more.
In Lakeland's Dental Hygiene program, we educate, enrich, and empower students to graduate, and assume caring roles and responsibilities as licensed dental hygienists in clinical and community settings.
The department of dental hygiene is committed to developing oral healthcare professionals who are capable of critically thinking, solving problems and making responsible decisions in order to be an effective co-therapist with the dental team.
The primary responsibilities of the educational experience are to stress excellence and ethics in delivery of dental hygiene services to people of all backgrounds, ages and stages of life and to prepare graduates for roles in decision making, leadership and responsibility within the scope of dental hygiene care in an interdependent multicultural world.
The dental hygiene program started in 1972. The dental hygiene student has access to a modern dental hygiene clinic, lecture rooms, and study areas within the college. There are approximately 1,700 contact hours in the curriculum. One third of those hours are spent in the clinical setting assessing, planning, implementing, and evaluating procedures for optimum oral care. Students, while in the dental hygiene program at Lakeland, are offered the opportunity to attend various seminars and educational conferences to enhance their knowledge within their discipline. Observations in various dental specialty offices such as periodontics, pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, endodontics, and oral and maxillofacial surgery, along with teaching dental health units in the public schools and providing dental care in various community dental programs, are some of the opportunities provided for the dental hygiene student. The Lakeland Library offers reference materials specific to the discipline. Computer facilities and instruction are available with programs applicable to dental hygiene. Also, a separate media library contains many CDs, DVDs and videotapes that augment the program.
With increased emphasis being placed on the preventive aspect of oral health care, the employment opportunities for dental hygienists is expected to remain very favorable through future years.
Factors such as an increase in the number of dental insurance plans, a greater awareness of the importance of oral hygiene, and an expansion of the role and function of the dental hygienist point to an increased employment growth rate.
Registered dental hygienists work in a variety of professional settings. The public is most familiar with dental hygienists in the private dental office where they perform numerous critical services designed to detect and prevent diseases of the mouth. These include scaling and polishing teeth; examining the head, neck, and oral areas for signs of disease; educating patients regarding oral hygiene, taking or developing X-rays and applying fluoride or sealants. In this setting, registered dental hygienists play a vital role in protecting the oral health of the American public.
In the public health field, dental hygienists conduct research studies and epidemiological surveys to evaluate the oral health needs of people in various population groups, such as the elderly, the disabled, and children. The findings are used to develop oral healthcare programs aimed at solving problems specific to each group - ranging from recommending such public health measures as water fluoridation to producing specially tailored educational materials.
Beyond the private dental office, dental hygienists can be found in numerous other settings; nursing homes and long-term care facilities, hospitals, corporate health facilities, school systems, and public health clinics.
Dental hygienists also work as educators - teaching in dental hygiene and dental school programs, providing continuing education seminars, and research - conducting clinical research and/or collecting and analyzing scientific data.
Dental hygiene is a licensed profession. Following graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program, the applicant is required to demonstrate competency by successful completion of board examinations that may include both written and clinical sections. The license to practice dental hygiene is issued by the state board of dentistry in the state where employment is pursued.
For one to practice as a dental hygienist in Ohio, the board examinations that must be successfully completed in order to apply for licensure are as follows:
National Board Dental Hygiene Exam (NBDHE)
- one full day written exam
Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA)
- patient treatment clinical exam
- simulated clinical exam
Ohio State Dental Board Ethics/Law Exam
Each indicated agency will mail the exam scores to each individual student.
A criminal background check which includes fingerprinting is a component of the application for licensure. Any student who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor related to substance abuse, or crime involving moral turpitude, may be denied licensure by the Ohio State Dental Board. Students requiring further clarification are encouraged to contact the Ohio State Dental Board at 614.466.2580.
Once the specified exams are completed at competency level and upon filing the designated license application, a license for dental hygiene practice in the State of Ohio will be issued by the Ohio State Dental Board. Annually the dental hygiene program director will inform students of dates and fees for the stated exams.
The dental hygiene program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association