The role of the dental hygienist is a challenging and demanding one requiring developed critical thinking skills. While the primary focus of the dental hygienist is maintenance of oral health, the hygienist may also participate in supportive and expanded functions as delegated by the State Dental Practice Act. Preventive and maintenance services include scaling and polishing, sealants, X-rays, fluoride treatment, patient education and specialized therapies of root planing and curettage.
The Associate of Science degree program in Dental Hygiene offers two opportunities to complete the program. The Dental Hygiene Traditional program is a two-year program with class and clinic commitments of 35-40 hours per week with some evening clinics and classes. The Dental Hygiene Bridge program is a 15-month program with class and clinic commitments of 35-40 hours per week with some clinics and classes in the evening. The Bridge program is designed for graduates of American Dental Association accredited dental assisting programs who have a minimum of one year full-time, chair side dental assisting work experience after graduation from the program and who are currently certified by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Each Bridge student must demonstrate competency in all dental assisting skills.
The Dental Hygiene program is designed to educate the dental hygiene student to work in private practice, research, institutional, or public health settings. Course work includes knowledge of the dental health care system, anatomic, biological and applied sciences and dental public health. The program offers clinical experiences in settings such as the, the University of Florida College of Dentistry and the ACORN Clinic in addition to the Santa Fe Dental Clinic. Graduates of the Traditional and Bridge Dental Hygiene program earn an A.S. degree Traditional Program graduates also earn a Florida Expanded Functions Certificate, and are eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board Examination. Upon completion of the Traditional or Bridge Dental Hygiene program students are eligible to sit for Dental Hygiene National Boards and state licensure examinations.
Applicants should contact the Health Sciences Counseling office in Building W, room 2, or call 352-395-5650. Approximate enrollment and expense information are included in the materials available from the counseling office.