A.S. Curriculum in Dental Hygiene


student on campus

Tennessee State University strives to create a learning environment in which each dental hygiene graduate is instilled with the knowledge, skills and values to provide dental hygiene care to patients, along with a sense of responsibility to self, the community and the profession.

The curriculum for dental hygiene students provides a hierarchical progression of knowledge and skills as demonstrated by competencies that reflect the interdependence of biological, behavioral and clinical sciences.

The competencies are the abilities required by the new dental hygiene graduate to begin dental hygiene practice. These competencies must be supported by a working knowledge of basic biomedical and clinical sciences, by cognitive and psychomotor skills and by professional and ethical values. Competencies are globally encompassing, serving as guides for the undergraduate dental hygiene education.  You may download a copy of the Dental Hygiene Core Competencies you will be evaluated on in the Dental Hygiene Curriculum.

Effective for Class entering Fall 2015

(1)  First Semester (Fall)

UNIV 1000                                                                      1
CHEM 1100/1101                                                             3/1
DHYG 1010/1014 Lecture / Lab                                         3/2
DHYG 1030 Radiology                                                       2
DHYG 1130 Tooth Morphology                                            2
SPCH 2200                                                                       3
BIOL 2210 / 2221**                                                         4/0
ENGL 1010**                                                                    3

                                                      Total Credits             24

(2)  Second Semester (Spring)

DHYG 1020 / 1024 Dental Hygiene Lecture / Clinic                2/2
DHYG 1040 Dental Materials                                                 2
DHYG 1100 Histology & Embryology                                       2
DHYG 1140 Head & Neck Anatomy                                        2
PSYCH 2010                                                                        3
NUFS 2110                                                                          3
BIOL 2220 / 2221**                                                           4/0

                                                        Total Credits             20

(3)  Third Semester (Summer I)

DHYG 1200 Anxiety & Pain Control                                          3
DHYG 1134 Clinical Dental Hygiene II                                      1
BIOL 2400 / 2401**                                                             4/0

                                                         Total Credits             8

(4)  Fourth Semester (Summer II)

 DHYG 2300 (Elective)                                                           3

                                                          Total Credits             3

(5)  Fifth Semester (Fall)

CHEM 2500 Pharmacology                                                        3
DHYG 2010 / 2014 Dental Hygiene Lecture / Clinic                    2/3
DHYG 2050 Periodontology                                                       2
DHYG 2100 General and Oral Pathology                                     3
DHYG 2110 Community Dentistry & Dental Public Health Ed.        2

                                                            Total Credits             15

(6)  Sixth Semester (Spring)

DHYG 2020 / 2024 Dental Hygiene Lecture / Clinic                       2/3                 
DHYG 2150 Dental Health Education II                                         2
SOCI 2010                                                                                 3
Humanities / Fine Arts**                                                             3

                                                              Total Credits             13


Students must successfully complete 79 credit hours of curriculum to meet graduation requirements for the Dental Hygiene program.

** These courses must be taken prior to acceptance into the Dental Hygiene Program.


The dental hygiene program is a learning process that takes a student from knowledge to competence. The graduating dental hygiene student must demonstrate competencies in basic and advanced skills, educational methods, and the professional values of an individual ready for a career in dental hygiene in a variety of settings. Graduates are prepared not only for the traditional Dental Hygiene duties of clinician and health educator but also for roles as consumer advocate, change agent, researcher, and health care manager/administrator.

Dental Hygiene Course Descriptions (DHYG)

DHYG 1010 Dental Hygiene Theory I (3)
An introduction to the theoretical foundations of preventive and therapeutic oral health services used in the dental hygiene process of care.  Emphasis is on prevention of disease transmission, patient assessment, basic dental hygiene instrumentation, oral health instruction and ethical decision making.  (Formerly DH 101).

DHYG 1014 Pre-Clinical Dental Hygiene Laboratory (2)
Clinical simulation of dental hygiene using mannequin heads and student partners.
Taken concurrently with DHYG 1010. (Formerly DH 101C).

DHYG 1020 Dental Hygiene Theory II (2)
A continuation of basic concepts, principles and procedures of preventive and therapeutic oral health services used in the dental hygiene process of care.  Prerequisites: Satisfactory completion of DHYG 1010 and 1014.

DHYG 1024 Clinical Dental Hygiene I (2)
Supervised application of the practice of dental hygiene on patients within the clinical setting. Taken concurrently with DHYG 1020. (Formerly DH 102C) Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of prescribed first semester curriculum. (SL)

DHYG 1030 Radiology (2)
Lecture, group, and individually supervised practice covering x-ray production, radiation hygiene, exposing, developing, mounting, reading and interpretation of intra-oral radiographs. (Formerly DH 103)
Taken concurrently with DHYG 1024. Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of prescribed first semester curriculum.

DHYG 1040 Dental Materials (2)
Study of characteristics and techniques of the manipulation of materials used in dentistry. Emphasis is placed on basic knowledge for selecting materials. Laboratory experiences supplement lectures. (Formerly DH 104) Taken as designated in the first year curriculum. Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of first semester curriculum.

DHYG 1110 Orofacial Anatomy (3)
This course will encompass the tooth morphology of individual teeth & gross anatomy of supporting tissue structures, coupled with the histology and embryology of oral tissues the surrounding the teeth.  Emphasis will be placed on clinical considerations of orofacial development and anatomy relevant to dental hygiene assessment and provision of care. The laboratory portion of the course includes manikin/anatomically correct models and student-partner experiences. Prerequisite: Admission to the program

DHYG 1134 Clinical Dental Hygiene II (1)
This course is designed to be a continuation of freshman clinical experiences and provides a bridge to the sophomore year. (Formerly DH 113C). Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of prescribed first two semesters of study.

DHYG 1140 Head and Neck Anatomy (2)
The structure and functional aspects of the Department Chair and neck and their significance to the practice of dental hygiene. Taken as designated in the first year curriculum. (Formerly DH 114) Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of prescribed first semester curriculum.

DHYG 1200 Anxiety Pain Control (3)
This course is an introduction to the principles of local anesthesia including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, armamentarium, injections, complications, nitrous oxide analgesia administration, neurophysiologic considerations and laboratory applications of techniques. Lecture will be online using eLearn. Laboratory experience will be on campus in a supervised clinic.  Prerequisites:  DHYG 1010, DHYG 1014, DHYG 1020, DHYG 1024.

DHYG 2010 Dental Hygiene Theory III (2)
This course studies the psychosocial, physical and oral characteristics of patients with special needs.  Emphasis is on the care and clinical management of the special needs patient. Satisfactory completion of the prescribed first year of study.

DHYG 2014 Clinical Dental Hygiene III (3)
Supervised competency-based application of the practice of clinical dental hygiene. (Formerly DH 201C) Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of the prescribed first two semesters of studies. DHYG 2010 and 2100 must be taken concurrently. (SL)

DHYG 2020 Dental Hygiene Theory IV (2)
A continuation of the study of the theoretical foundation of preventive and therapeutic oral health services used in the dental hygiene process of care.  Emphasis is placed on written communication skills, practice management, working in multicultural settings, career options and interviewing techniques and ethical dilemmas.  (Formerly DHYG 202)  Prerequisites:  Satisfactory completion of first semester sophomore courses.  Must be taken concurrently with DHYG 2024.

DHYG 2024 Clinical Dental Hygiene IV (3)
A progressive continuation of competency based supervised applications of clinical dental hygiene and expanded periodontics (Formerly DH 202C and 205C) Prerequisite: DHYG 1050, 2050, and satisfactory completion of first semester sophomore courses. DHYG 2020 must be taken concurrently.

DHYG 2050 Periodontology (4)
Periodontology will examine the periodontium in health, the classification of tissue destruction in periodontal diseases, the etiology of periodontal diseases and its assessments for clinical decision making for the dental hygienist.  This course will incorporate peer reviewed internet resources when examining cases related to periodontal disease. 
(Formerly DHYG 1050 + DHYG 2050)

DHYG 2100 General and Oral Pathology (3)
A study of disease and disease processes, the oral manifestations of systemic disease, oral pathology with particular attention to oral cancer and cancer detection methods. (Formerly DH 210) Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of prescribed first year of study.

DHYG 2110 Community Public Health (3)
A survey of private, community, and governmental agencies. Dental epidemiology, socio-economic factors relating to dental care, special programs, and third party payment plans are covered. (Formerly DH 211) Prerequisite: Completion of the prescribed first year curriculum.(SL)

DHYG 3010
Curriculum Concepts in Dental Hygiene and Allied Health Education (3). A course designed to explore theories of learning, teaching strategies, and evaluation techniques as applied to dental hygiene and allied health education. (Formerly DH 301) Prerequisite: EDCI 3870.