Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene

Now is the time to pursue a career in healthcare. To get started, enroll at the college, then complete a program application using the instructions on this page. Program applications are currently being accepted by email only. Admissions Specialists are available to help you by phone or by email. Call 704.330.6284 or 704.330.6958 to schedule your personal phone appointment.

What You Will Learn

As someone interested in dental hygiene, you know the value of a healthy smile is much bigger than appearance — overall dental health can indicate serious, underlying health issues including and beyond your mouth. You are passionate, eager, and patient to educate people about these facts to ensure that their oral hygiene is a priority. As a future dental hygienist, you imagine being professional and personable with your patients; you're likely detail-oriented and easy to talk to. You also recognize the importance of a team dynamic in the workplace. Enroll in the Dental Hygiene program at Central Piedmont and earn an Associate of Applied Science in dental hygiene. 

On a typical day as a dental hygienist, you will:

  • review health histories, assess oral health conditions, provide oral cancer screening, collect and review vital signs, and complete necessary chart entries
  • expose and develop dental radiographs (x-rays)
  • develop and present dental hygiene treatment plans to patients
  • provide periodontal treatment to include removal of hard and soft deposits from the teeth and administration of preventive and therapeutic agents
  • instruct patients on appropriate preventive oral hygiene techniques and nutrition as it relates to oral health
  • make impressions of the teeth and pour study models
  • place temporary fillings, periodontal dressings, and remove oral sutures

The dental hygiene program is a two-year program in which graduates earn an associate degree. On the other hand, the Central Piedmont Dental Assisting program is a one-year diploma program which enables graduates to participate as part of the dental office team. Both programs have a different set of prerequisite requirements. In the professional setting, dental assistants typically work more closely with the dentists with occasional independence while dental hygienists work independently with assistance from the dentist.

In the dental hygiene program (video), you will learn to evaluate patients' oral health, diagnose oral diseases, prepare patient-centered care plans, apply best practices in dentistry, to operate medical technology to diverse populations to complete a variety of routine procedures, and direct patients in need of other health professional assistance. You will learn about the practices of ethics in relation to patient confidentiality and state and national laws. You will also learn important foundational knowledge, such as orofacial anatomy, periodontology, infection control techniques, obtaining patient histories, insurance coding, medical emergency response, and dental health and pharmacology overviews. Upon completion of the program, you will:

  • effectively assess each patient’s oral health status and risk factors and present an appropriate dental hygiene diagnosis and comprehensive patient centered care plan within the scope of dental hygiene practice and based on current scientific evidence
  • demonstrate the clinical skills necessary to provide preventive oral health care and determine periodontal classifications to ethnically diverse populations, medically compromised patients, and those with special needs in an efficient and effective manner, employing appropriate infection control measures
  • demonstrate ethical decision-making skills and adhere to state and federal laws and standards within the profession
  • asses the oral health needs of individual patients and community groups, develop disease prevention and health maintenance strategies utilizing the basic principles of learning, promote the value of oral and general health and directs patients to appropriate resources in the community
  • demonstrate basic skills in insurance coding and operation of practice management software, critically evaluate information and research pertaining to new products and techniques, take part in professional activities, and identify career options within the dental profession

Graduates of the dental hygiene program are eligible for state, national, and regional examinations for licensure to work in private dental offices, public health agencies, state and federal institutions, educational facilities, marketing and sales, and research facilities. The North Carolina Dental Board requires dental hygiene licensure candidates to include a social security number as a part of the licensure application.

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Why Choose Central Piedmont

You will get valuable, hands-on experience at our Central Campus dental clinic. There, you will offer dentistry services to the community under the supervision of our faculty. It’s a win-win — you dramatically develop your skill sets with clinical experience as you apply your knowledge to give back to the greater Charlotte population. The Central Piedmont dental hygiene program is accredited by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and our graduates have had a 98% pass rate on the dental hygiene National Board Dental Hygiene Examination for the past six years. You will also have the opportunity to participate in the student Dental Hygiene Club

Real World Education

At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.

Dental Hygienist Careers and Average Salary

Licensure to practice dental hygiene is required to work in any state or jurisdiction in the United States. The dental hygiene program at Central Piedmont prepares graduates to take state, national, and regional examinations for licensure to work in private dental offices, public health agencies, state and federal institutions, educational facilities, marketing and sales, and research facilities. Visit Central Piedmont’s Career Coach or the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for detailed dental hygiene career requirements and opportunities, salary information, and job openings.

Career Coach

Dental Hygiene Degree Course Sequence

The dental hygiene associate degree requires the completion of 76 credit hours completed full-time in six semesters. The curriculum includes general studies courses as well as program-specific courses. General studies courses can be taken at any time.

Suggested course sequence (PDF)

The Details

Review the Virtual Information Session

Information session

How to Apply

Apply now

Get Affordable Dental Care

If you are a community member interested in using our dental clinic services, please visit our dental clinic page.

Visit the Central Piedmont dental clinic