Dental Hygiene

Location: RDMT 415-A
Phone: 775-673-8247
Fax: 775-673-8242

Dental Hygiene Program

The dental hygienist is dedicated to providing preventative and therapeutic dental hygiene care. Some of the responsibilities routinely performed by hygienists in Nevada include:

  • Performing oral cancer screening through examination of soft tissues.
  • Examining periodontal (gum and bone) structure around and supporting teeth.
  • Taking and interpreting radiographs.
  • Removing stain, hard (calculus), and soft (plaque) deposits from tooth surfaces above and below the gum line utilizing scaling and root planing procedures.
  • Administering topical fluoride treatments.
  • Applying dental sealants.
  • Administering local anesthesia and nitrous-oxide sedation.
  • Designing and implementing treatment plans for individuals.
  • Designing and implementing oral health programs for groups.
  • Providing dental health education for individuals and groups.

Graduates of the TMCC dental hygiene program will be prepared to complete the written Dental Hygiene National Board Examination, the Nevada State Board Clinical Examination and many other state/regional clinical examinations in the U.S.

The dental hygiene program is a two-year (four-semester) program once the student has been accepted which does not include the general education requirements for the Associate of Science degree or the science prerequisite courses for dental hygiene.

Dental hygiene students must meet certain technical standards:

  • Possess good hand/eye coordination and manual strength and dexterity to perform instrumentation skills necessary for direct patient care.
  • Hold a current CPR card and be able to perform emergency procedures required in the field.
  • Be free from conditions which put other humans at risk (i.e., active tuberculosis. Persons with blood borne pathogen infections are not excluded from the program or clinic facility.).
  • Possess ability to read, write, record and report.
  • Be able to understand and react quickly to verbal instructions and patient needs.
  • Be able to effectively communicate with patients to explain procedures, provide instructions and educate.

Limited Entry

The dental hygiene program is a limited entry program. Twelve to fourteen students will be admitted each fall. The application is available on the Dental Hygiene homepage under "Steps to Apply" tab. Application's open in January and close in February. See Steps to Apply webpage for application dates.

A minimum GPA of 2.75 (4.0 scale) in general education and pre-requisite courses is required. Recent completion of the following program degree requirements are required:

BIOL 223Human Anatomy and Physiology I4
BIOL 224Human Anatomy and Physiology II4
BIOL 251General Microbiology4
CHEM 220Introductory Organic Chemistry4
COM 113Fundamentals of Speech Communications3

Applicants not selected will not be carried forward to the next year, and must reapply for consideration. Additional program information is available in the dental clinic office 775- 673-8293, located in the Red Mountain Building (RDMT) 415-A, Admissions and Records in RDMT 319, and Academic Advisement in RDMT 111.

Student Selection

 The final selection of students will be conducted by the dental hygiene program screening committee. Applicants will be ranked using selection criteria including experience in the field, overall prerequisite GPA, pre-requisite science GPA and other criteria established by the screening committee. The DH ACCUPLACER Test can be taken a maximum of three times and must have been taken within two years of applying. A minimum of eight hours of dental office observation must be completed within 13 months of applying.

Dental hygiene applicants are limited to repeating program pre-requisite science courses (BIOL 223, BIOL 224, BIOL 251, and CHEM 220) once. This means the students will take the course for the first time, and may repeat the same course once. If a student enrolls in a pre-requisite science course and withdraws from course with a “W," this will be counted as one attempt.

Accepted Students

Students accepted into the program will be required to attend a mandatory new student orientation. Once accepted into the program, students will be required to show proof and adherence to the dental hygiene program infectious disease/immunization policy, prior to starting classes.  A medical exam is required and medical insurance is recommended.


All states require that dental hygienists be licensed. In addition to successfully graduating from the accredited dental hygiene program and passing the written Dental Hygiene National Board Examination, graduates must pass a Clinical Examination. The Nevada Dental Practice Act (NRS 631.290) requires that candidates for licensure be of good moral character and be citizens of the U.S. or lawfully entitled to remain and work in the U.S. Prospective students are advised that if they have felony or misdemeanor convictions or have a history of substance abuse or infectious disease that this may preclude subsequent licensure as a dental hygienist in Nevada (NAC 631.050).