BS, Dental Hygiene

Note: This degree/certificate leads to professional licensure. Licensing requirements vary by state/territory and relocating could impact whether you will meet eligibility requirements for licensure. Please visit our Professional Licensure Programs page for full details on State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement.

Program Description

The Bachelor of Science, Dental Hygiene Program prepares the graduate to practice as a registered dental hygienist. The TMCC dental hygiene program meets the minimum degree requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree.

 The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).  The two-year (four-semester) program does not include the general education, college and program core requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree.

It is recommended students complete the general education, college and program core requirements prior to starting the two-year (four-semester) Dental Hygiene program.

IMPORTANT: Due to the considerable time requirements of the Dental Hygiene Program, and to receive full admission points for the cumulative and science GPA categories on the Program Admission Points Worksheet, it is strongly recommended all general education, additional college requirements, and program admission requirements be completed.

Recommended Course Schedule

Plan of Study Grid
1st semesterUnits
COM 113 Fundamentals of Speech Communications 3
ENG 101
Composition I
or Composition I for International and Multilingual Students
Fine Arts/Diversity 3
MATH 126 Pre-Calculus I 3
 Semester Total12
2nd semester
Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology
and Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory
CHEM 121 General Chemistry I 4
ENG 102
Composition II
or Composition II For International and Multilingual Students
STAT 152
Introduction to Statistics
or Introduction to Biostatistics in Public Health
 Semester Total14
3rd semester
BIOL 223 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4
CH 203 American Experiences and Constitutional Change 3
CHEM 220 Introductory Organic Chemistry 4
PSY 101 General Psychology 3
 Semester Total14
4th semester
BIOL 224 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4
BIOL 251 General Microbiology 4
NUTR 223 Principles of Nutrition 3
SOC 101 Principles of Sociology 3
 Semester Total14
5th semester
DH 102 Oral Biology 4
DH 103 Head and Neck Anatomy 2
DH 299 Independent Study 1
DH 304 Dental Hygiene Theory I 3
DH 305 Pre-Clinical Practice 3
DH 310 Foundations of Dental Hygiene Practice 3
DH 314 Oral Radiology and Interpretation 3
 Semester Total19
6th semester
DH 209 Pain and Anxiety Control 3
DH 299 Independent Study 1
DH 311 Pharmacology 2
DH 312 General and Oral Pathology for the Dental Hygienist 3
DH 313 Periodontic Principles I 2
DH 315 Clinical Dental Hygiene I 3
DH 404 Research Methodology 2
 Semester Total16
7th semester
DH 299 Independent Study 1
DH 308 Dental Materials 2
DH 403 Periodontic Principles II 2
DH 405 Clinical Dental Hygiene II 4
DH 407 Dental Public Health Concepts 2
DH 410 Foundations of Inter-Professional Collaborative Practice 2
DH 420 Dental Management of Special Patients 2
DH 440 Capstone I 1
 Semester Total16
8th semester
DH 299 Independent Study 1
DH 411 Dental Public Health Field Experience 1
DH 409 Ethics, Law, and Business Practices 2
DH 413 Periodontic Principles III 1
DH 415 Clinical Dental Hygiene III 4
DH 416 Inter-Professional Collaborative Practice Field Experience 2
DH 417 Community Dental Health 2
DH 442 Capstone Seminar II 2
 Semester Total15
 Total Units120


Students must apply for entrance into the Dental Hygiene program. The application is available on the Dental Hygiene website. 

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.

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, science prerequisite courses or other program requirements 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. 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) and a "C" or higher in general education, college and program requirement courses is required.

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 overall general education GPA, pre-requisite science GPA and other criteria established by the screening committee. There are three pre-admission assessment exams required which must be 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 223BIOL 224BIOL 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 the beginning of June. 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.


Graduates of the TMCC Dental Hygiene Program will be prepared to complete the written National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, Nevada State Board Clinical Exam and other state/regional clinical examinations in the U.S. All states require dental hygienists be licensed. Graduates from the dental hygiene program are eligible to apply for licensure in other states. Each state has specific criteria for licensure eligibility. It is the students responsibility to contact the state to determine eligibility requirements. 

 The Nevada Dental Practice Act (NRS 631.290) requires 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).

This program has special admission requirements. Please visit the program website for specific admission advising. 

To earn a Dental Hygiene Bachelor's Degree students must:

  1. Maintain a C or better in each course and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 (see requirements for graduation.)
  2. Satisfy General Education requirements for Bachelor's degrees.
  3. Complete the 120 units of Degree requirements. 
    • 32 units must be completed at TMCC.
    • 40 units must be upper division.
  4. Have no financial or library obligation to the college.
General Education Requirements
Composition II 1
Composition II For International and Multilingual Students
MATH 126Pre-Calculus I (or higher)3
Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology
and Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory
CHEM 121General Chemistry I4
Social Science
PSY 101General Psychology3
American Experiences and Constitutional Change 2
Fine Arts3
Theatre: a Cultural Context
Survey of African, Oceanic, & Native American Art
Women in Art
Dance Appreciation
Additional College Requirements
Diversity 2[3]
U.S. and Nevada Constitutions[3]
Capstone I
Capstone Seminar II
Program Admission Requirements
COM 113Fundamentals of Speech Communications 33
NUTR 223Principles of Nutrition 33
SOC 101Principles of Sociology 33
STAT 152Introduction to Statistics 33
or CHS 280 Introduction to Biostatistics in Public Health
BIOL 223Human Anatomy and Physiology I 34
BIOL 224Human Anatomy and Physiology II 34
BIOL 251General Microbiology4
CHEM 220Introductory Organic Chemistry 34
Degree Requirements 4
DH 102Oral Biology4
DH 103Head and Neck Anatomy2
DH 209Pain and Anxiety Control3
DH 299Independent Study (4 units are required)4
DH 304Dental Hygiene Theory I3
DH 305Pre-Clinical Practice3
DH 308Dental Materials2
DH 310Foundations of Dental Hygiene Practice3
DH 311Pharmacology2
DH 312General and Oral Pathology for the Dental Hygienist3
DH 313Periodontic Principles I2
DH 314Oral Radiology and Interpretation3
DH 315Clinical Dental Hygiene I3
DH 403Periodontic Principles II2
DH 404Research Methodology2
DH 405Clinical Dental Hygiene II4
DH 407Dental Public Health Concepts2
DH 409Ethics, Law, and Business Practices2
DH 410Foundations of Inter-Professional Collaborative Practice2
DH 411Dental Public Health Field Experience1
DH 413Periodontic Principles III1
DH 415Clinical Dental Hygiene III4
DH 416Inter-Professional Collaborative Practice Field Experience2
DH 417Community Dental Health2
DH 420Dental Management of Special Patients2
DH 440Capstone I1
DH 442Capstone Seminar II2
Total Units120

If you place into ENG 102 or ENG 114 the additional 3 required units will become elective units. 


Course may also count toward additional degree requirements. Please consult with Academic Advisement. 


These courses are recommended to be completed prior to applying to the program.  


Students will begin these courses upon acceptance into the Dental Hygiene Program.  See Program Director for specific GPA requirements for Degree requirement courses. 

Students completing the degree will:

  •  Be eligible to take the written National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE), apply and take the ethics examination for state licensure, and be eligible to apply and sit for state or regional clinical examination. 
  • Utilize critical thinking skills to investigate and pursue the evolving role of the dental hygienist in career options outside the traditional private practice model such as in education, research, administration, public health, corporate sales, as members of inter-professional healthcare teams, and in advanced practice pursuing additional skills and education needed to advance their careers.
  • BSDH graduates will be better prepared to practice within an integrated healthcare system to positively impact the public's oral and overall health by functioning as competent oral healthcare providers who can deliver optimal patient care within a variety of practice settings to meet the needs of diverse populations and the evolving healthcare environment.