Program at a glance

Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene at a glance

The School of Dentistry offers an accelerated dental hygiene program that allows students to earn their Bachelor of Science degree in three years, rather than completing the traditional four-year program. The year-round program allows maximum opportunities for those who are eager to start their dental hygiene careers or further their education in graduate school.

The University of Minnesota dental hygiene program is recognized as one of the outstanding programs in the country. Students enrolled in the program have the opportunity to work with dental and dental hygiene faculty who are experts/specialists in their disciplines. Dental hygiene students also take courses, interact in a team approach with dental students in our clinics, and are required to spend four weeks treating patients, providing dental education and promoting dental careers at an Outreach clinic.

Dental Hygienist defined

Dental hygienists are licensed healthcare professionals who are skilled in preventing diseases such as dental caries (cavities), periodontal (gum) disease and oral cancer through education and treatment. A dental hygienist with a Baccalaureate Degree is prepared to assume roles as a clinician, an educator, a researcher, a change agent, a consumer advocate, and a manager. They are licensed preventive oral health professionals who provide educational, clinical and therapeutic services that support total health through the promotion of optimal oral health.

Dental hygienists practice in settings such as private dental offices and clinics; federal, state, and local health departments or associated institutions; hospitals and long-term care facilities; school districts or departments of education; educational programs for dental, dental hygiene, and dental assisting students; private business or industry; correctional facilities; private and public centers for pediatric, geriatric, and other groups or individuals with special needs; and health maintenance organizations.

Program at a glance
  • Founded

    1919. The fourth dental hygiene program established in the United States

  • Facilities

    State-of-the-art dental hygiene facilities such as the Interprofessional Education and Resource Center

  • Standing

    Minnesota's only dental hygiene program that grants a baccalaureate degree and is affiliated with a school of dentistry, and the only such program in the northern tier of states between Michigan and the Pacific Northwest. It is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The program is a regional resource and a source of continuing education for dental hygienists in Minnesota and the five-state area.

  • Students

    The program educates approximately 20 percent of the dental hygienists in Minnesota

  • Service

    Minnesota's #1 provider of dental and dental hygiene services to the uninsured and working poor. Dental hygiene students work with U of M dental students to provide comprehensive patient care in the school's clinics and off-site at community-based clinics.

  • Dental Hygiene Information Sessions

    Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to attend a Dental Hygiene Information Session held every month at the School of Dentistry. Sessions include information about the program and individual advising. For more details and to reserve your spot, please go to, click on Workshops and Info Sessions and then on Dental Hygiene. Please call 612-625-7190 or email with questions about these group sessions.

  • Testimonies

    I want you all to know that the passion and dedication you have toward teaching served as one of the greatest motivators for me to persevere and do well in school. I can honestly say that I made a great decision attending the University of Minnesota. As I made the transition (and continue to do so) from school to private practice, I realized how well trained and taught I was by all of you. Every situation I've encountered thus far, I've been able to use the knowledge you've taught me to provide comprehensive quality care to patients. This makes me happy because it's so self-rewarding!
    --Zuag Yang

    I hope that those who enter the DH program in the future understand how lucky they are to be working with some of the best faculty in the country.
    --Katrina Saunders

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  • Last modified on November 29, 2012