Dental Hygiene


Our dental hygiene students receive hands-on training in our industry-standard, working clinic.

Entry-Level Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene

For students who seek entry-level education in the dental hygiene field.

For dental hygienists choosing to enter private dental practice, a BSDH offers a broader educational base and a more secure foundation for everyday interaction with the public.

Entry-level BSDH Overview

Graduates in the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene will be able to:

  • Demonstrate clinical competence through successful completion of all clinical requirements.
  • Create an electronic portfolio that validates successful attainment of the Eastern Washington University Dental Hygiene Core Competencies for Entry into the Profession of Dental Hygiene.
  • Develop programs that promote the health and well-being of a diverse society.
  • Integrate principles of leadership and advocacy in the professional roles of the dental hygienist.
  • Synthesize theoretical, experiential, and empirical knowledge from dental hygiene, scientific, and humanistic disciplines into the professional roles of the dental hygienist.
  • Assess the role of the dental hygienist on an interprofessional healthcare team.

While in the program, dental hygiene students are required to be clinicians and patients, to deliver and receive injections of local anesthetic, and to administer and receive nitrous oxide sedation for dental hygiene learning experiences. These activities are essential components of the dental hygiene curriculum.

Course Catalog | Curriculum Map (PDF)

To be considered for admission, applicants must have the majority of the EWU breadth area core requirements (BACR) and graduation requirements completed and /or be able to complete all requirements prior to the fall semester entry into the program.

DENTAL HYGIENE PRIORITY SCIENCE PREREQUISITES

The following prerequisite PRIORITY science courses (or equivalent courses) must be completed or in progress prior to the February 1st application deadline and successfully completed by the end of winter quarter.

All science prerequisites and additional science requisite courses have a 5-year shelf life and are required to have been completed within 5 years of the date of application.

It is recommended the Biology and Chemistry series be completed at one institution to assure continuity of coursework. 

CHEM 161Inorganic Chemistry with Labwithin last 5 years
CHEM 162Organic Chemistry with Labwithin last 5 years
BIOL 232Anatomy & Physiology I with Labwithin last 5 years
BIOL 233Anatomy & Physiology II with Labwithin last 5 years
FNDT 356Nutritionwithin last 5 years

Two science or nutrition prerequisite course may be repeated one (1) time for improved GPA on the application. (Minimum acceptable grade is a C+ or 2.3).

DENTAL HYGIENE REMAINING REQUISITES

In addition to the priority sciences, each of the following courses or equivalent courses must be successfully completed with a grade of a C+ or 2.3 or higher prior to the fall entry into the program.  Failure to do so results in program acceptance rescinded.

CHEM 163Biochemistry with Labwithin last 5 years
BIOL 234Anatomy & Physiology III with Labwithin last 5 years
BIOL 235 Medical Microbiology with Lab within last 5 years
ENGLISHENGL 201
PSYCHOLOGYPSYC 100, 201, 301, 302, 305, 306, 307, 315, or 317
SOCIOLOGYSOCI 101 or 263
INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATIONSCMST 200, 210, 250, 312, 331, 340, or 440

EWU BACR and GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

All EWU Breadth Area Core Requirements (BACR) and graduation requirements; Math, English, Humanities, Social Sciences, Diversity, and Global Studies courses must be successfully completed.  Failure to do so results in program acceptance rescinded.

At the time of application, the EWU Credential Evaluators confirms these requirements are listed in the catalog.

EWU General Education Information

Our cohort of 40 students begins the program as Juniors each Fall semester. The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program is taught over five consecutive 16-week semesters, including an eight-week summer semester.

Application Process

The selection process involves a competitive ranking of major and minor factors.

MAJOR FACTORS:

  • Grade point average of prerequisite science courses through fall quarter/semester
  • Cumulative grade point average in all college coursework completed through fall quarter/semester
  • Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT) score
  • Score received during the interview

MINOR FACTORS:

  • Completion of a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, or Master of Science degree
  • Previous application to the dental hygiene program
  • Full time college coursework: 12 credits or more per quarter/semester

Evaluation of qualified applicants

After the February 1 application deadline, qualified applicants are initially ranked based upon:

  • 50% of the application value is the GPA in the five (5) priority prerequisite sciences through fall quarter/semester
  • 20% of the application value is the cumulative GPA in all college coursework through fall quarter/semester
  • 10% of the application value is the score on the HSRT (Health Sciences Reasoning Test)
  • Minor factors (as noted)

Based upon initial ranking, applicants are invited for a formal interview the first weekend in April.

After the April Interview Day, applicants who interviewed are ranked based upon:

  • 50% of the application value is the GPA in the five (5) priority prerequisite sciences through winter quarter/semester
  • 20% of the application value is the cumulative GPA in all college coursework through winter quarter/semester
  • 10% of the application value is the score on the HSRT (Health Sciences Reasoning Test)
  • 20% of the application value is the score received during the interview
  • Minor factors (as noted)

In mid-April, the 40 top-ranked applicants are accepted to the program and notified by email.  The following 10 ranked applicants are put on an alternate list and notified of their position by email.

NOTE: Because enrollment in the program is limited to 40 and the admissions process is competitive, no assurance is given that all applicants who complete the prerequisite coursework and are accepted by EWU are admitted to the program.

Reservation form for the Dental Hygiene department's Information Sessions.
  • WHO:

    Required for all applicants. Parents and high school students considering a career in dental hygiene are encouraged to attend to assist in academic planning.

    WHERE:

    Eastern Washington University Spokane Campus – Health Sciences Building- Room 278 (unless noted otherwise).

    WHAT:

    The session covers admissions requirements, essential functions of the dental hygienist, bloodborne pathogens. A question and answer session and tour of the dental hygiene facilities will follow.

    Note: Sessions are subject to cancellation due to low enrollment. Your RSVP ensures an accurate count as well as a means of notification in the event of a cancellation.

  • Contact Information

  • Date Format: DD slash MM slash YYYY
  • If you're having trouble using this form, please contact us at dentalhygiene@ewu.edu

COMPLETE ONE of the following prior to program application:
A. 20 documented hours of observation of dental hygienist(s) in practice (in one or more offices).
B. 20 documented hours of volunteer work (in one or more dental offices).
C. 20 documented hours of paid employment (in one or more dental offices).

Please download the EWU DNHY Observation Form to document hours.

We encourage applicants to observe for 1-3 hours at the EWU Dental Hygiene Clinic.  An appointment should be made with the front office staff during Fall or Spring semester: 509.828.1300. Professional dress, closed-toe shoes, and no facial piercings are required.  As a courtesy, we ask all visitors to refrain from wearing fragrances when visiting the clinic.

NOTE: Dental office experience opportunities (with the exception of “A” above) may be limited if the Hepatitis B vaccine series has not been initiated or completed.

Complete your EWU application, follow the steps, and pay the $60 EWU application fee.

Application Tips

  • Current EWU students do not have to reapply to EWU.
  • Transfer students please select the UG Transfer application type,  40+ credits. Do not apply as a freshman.
  • Select Fall semester for your entry term.
  • Applying before December, could result in Dental Hygiene applicant having to reapply to EWU.

Eastern Washington University Dental Hygiene will begin accepting Fall 2020 Applications on December 18th, 2019. Applications for Fall 2020 admission will be due no later than 3pm on February 3rd, 2020.

EWU Dental Hygiene Fall 2020 Application: 2020 EWU Dental Hygiene Application

All applicants in the 2020 application cycle will receive email notification of their status in the application process on or after March 16.

If you have any questions or concerns about the application process, please contact the Dental Hygiene Program Specialist at dentalhygiene@ewu.edu.

Qualified applicants who are selected for the interview receive an email on or after March 15. Formal admission interviews are conducted on the first Saturday each April (April 4, 2020) at the EWU Spokane campus. Attendance is mandatory for continued eligibility. Professional dress is advised.

Once notified of acceptance to the program, applicants must:

  • Notify the Dental Hygiene department of their of their acceptance of the offer. 
  • Pay the $100 non-refundable Dental Hygiene deposit upon acceptance. The deposit is applied to first year fall semester course fees.

Students on the alternate list are ranked, and should stay in close contact with the dental hygiene office if they are interested in remaining active applicants. Alternates should complete all prerequisite courses as planned.  If a candidate on the accepted list withdraws, alternate candidates are contacted.

All applicants for the Dental Hygiene program must have the following completed in order for enrollment in the program Fall semester. 

  • SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER: All students accepted into the dental hygiene program are required to have a social security number or obtain a social security number prior to the fall entry into the program.
  • ABILITY TO PASS STATE AND FEDERAL BACKGROUND CHECKS per Washington State law prior to treating children and elderly patients. Prior criminal convictions may prohibit a graduate from obtaining a license to practice dental hygiene.
  • CURRENT IMMUNIZATIONS RECORDS for mumps, measles, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, varicella, and Hepatitis B.  Annual flu shots are required prior to each influenza season. There are no exemptions allowed.
  • COMPLETE ALL REMAINING DENTAL HYGIENE PREREQUISITES, EWU BACRS, AND GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS by the end of Summer quarter. Dental Hygiene students may NOT take any quarter-based courses while in the semester-based dental hygiene program.

Failure to provide documentation of above may result in admission rescind. 

Eastern Washington University Dental Hygiene will begin accepting Fall 2020 Applications on December 18th, 2019. Applications for Fall 2020 admission will be due no later than 3pm on February 3rd, 2020.

We welcome applicants with the following requirements who are eligible for application:

  • Attendance at a dental hygiene information session
  • Completion of either the observation, or volunteer work, or employment requirement
  • Apply to EWU
  • Complete the Dental Hygiene application
  • All priority prerequisite science classes completed by the end of winter quarter of the year applying
  • Minimum grade of a C+ or 2.3 in all dental hygiene prerequisites
  • If invited, attend a formal interview at the EWU Spokane campus
  • Ability to complete all of the dental hygiene prerequisites and EWU Breadth Area Core Requirements (BACR) and graduation requirements prior to the fall entry into the program

Things to Consider

The Dental Hygiene program at Eastern Washington University is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. A Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene degree signifies the holder is prepared for entry into the profession of Dental Hygiene. The Department of Dental Hygiene has adopted the following essential functions for admission, promotion and graduation for its entry level professional program. Dental Hygiene is an intellectually, physically, and psychologically demanding profession. It is during the rigorous two year curriculum that the student begins to develop the qualities needed to practice dental hygiene. Students acquire the foundation of knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors needed throughout the dental hygienists’ professional career. Those abilities that dental hygienists must possess to practice safely and in a professionally competent manner are reflected in the essential functions that follow.

Students must be able to meet the following minimum standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, for successful completion of degree requirements.

A. Visual Acuity

  • Must be able to read small printed labels on medications and other pertinent supplies.
  • Must be able to read small numbers on instruments.
  • Must be able to determine detail in small areas of the mouth varying from <5mm to several cm.
  • Must possess adequate depth perception to evaluate size, shape and texture in small areas with minimal contrast
  • Must be able to determine very slight variations in color.

B. Speaking Ability

  • Verbal expression must be clear and distinct enough to enunciate dental terminology while wearing a face mask.
  • Must be able to express thoughts clearly in English.

C. Motor Skills

Must have sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and treatment to patients including:

  • The ability to directly operate foot controls using fine movements.
  • The ability to operate hand and mechanical dental hygiene instruments around the teeth and structures in the oral cavity.
  • The ability to perform palpation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers and procedures.
  • The ability to transfer and position disabled patients and to physically restrain patients who lack motor control.
  • The ability to position and reposition self around patient and chair in a sitting and standing position.

Must have coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and integrated use of the senses of touch and vision to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and treatment to patients as detailed above.

D.  Adaptive Ability

  • Must be able to successfully complete required tasks/functions under stressful conditions.
  • Must be able to perform with minimal supervision.
  • Must be able to interact appropriately with all members of the dental team, patients, patient representatives (e.g. parents, guardians, family members, interpreters, etc.).
  • Must be able to function in a structured environment with time constraints.

E.  Language Ability

  • Must be able to read, write, speak, record and report in English.
  • Must be able to comprehend written and oral directions given in English and carry them out.
  • Must be able to have conversations in English on the telephone and one-on-one.

F.  Observation

  • Must be able to observe demonstrations in lecture, clinical and laboratory settings. Observation requires the functional use of vision, hearing and somatic sensations.

G.  Communication

  • Must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, and patient representatives (e.g. parents, guardians, family members, interpreters, etc.), as well as perceive nonverbal communications.
  • Must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with other members of the dental team and health care community to convey information essential for safe and effective care. Communication includes: speech, language, reading, writing and computer literacy.

H.  Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

Must possess the ability to effectively solve problems.

  • Must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize information in a timely fashion. For example, the student must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate the relevant aspects of a patient’s history and examination findings to develop an effective treatment plan.
  • Must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand spatial relationships of anatomical structures.

I.  Behavioral and Social Attributes

Must possess the psychological ability required for the full utilization of their intellectual abilities to include the exercise of good judgment:

  • The prompt completion of all responsibilities inherent to diagnosis and care of clients.
  • The ability to demonstrate attributes of empathy, integrity, concern for others.
  • Interest, motivation, and development of mature, sensitive, empathetic, and effective relationships with patients.
  • The ability to give, receive, and positively respond to constructive feedback.
  • The ability to work within the context of a group or a team of peers.
  • The ability to demonstrate intrapersonal coping skills.
  • Must maintain a professional appearance and hygiene.
  • Must have the ability to be timely and dependable.
  • Must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively under stress.
  • Must be able to adapt to a changing environment, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients.
  • Must demonstrate professionally ethical behavior, including the ability to comply with rules, regulations, professional Code of Ethics and policies of the College and Clinical Affiliates.

J.  Curriculum Requirements

  • Must be able to successfully complete, with or without reasonable accommodation, all required essential components of the curriculum.

K.  Tests and Evaluations

  • Must be able to successfully complete both written and practical periodic examinations which are employed by the Dental Hygiene Program as an essential component of the curriculum to evaluate competence.
  • Must demonstrate successful completion of these examinations as a condition for continued progress through the curriculum.

L.  Clinical Assessments

  • Must be able to successfully demonstrate, with or without reasonable accommodations, competence of clinical skills in both laboratory and clinical settings.

Dental hygienists are responsible, by law, to the people of the State of Washington, for specific standards of dental hygiene conduct:

By law WAC 246-815-160—”The standards of dental hygiene conduct or practice identify minimum responsibilities of the registered dental hygienist licensed in Washington in health care settings as provided in the Dental Hygiene Practice Act, chapter 18.29 RCW, and the Uniform Disciplinary Act, chapter 18.130 RCW. The standards provide consumers with information about quality care and provide the secretary of health (of the department of health), guidelines to evaluate safe and effective care. The dental hygienist assumes the responsibility, public trust and obligation to adhere to the standards of dental hygiene practice”. 18.130.010 “Intent. It is the intent of the legislature to strengthen and consolidate disciplinary and licensure procedures for the licensed health and health-related professions by providing a uniform disciplinary act with standardized procedures for the licensure of health care professionals and the enforcement of laws the purpose of which is to assure the public of the adequacy of professional competence and conduct in the healing arts.”

The Dental Hygiene Program at Eastern Washington University addresses all issues and concerns related to bloodborne pathogens, such as Human Immunodeficiency (HIV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in order to protect patients, students, faculty and staff, as well as protect the rights of our patients who may have a bloodborne infectious disease. Students treat all patients assigned and as a result, the potential exists for transmission of bloodborne and other infectious diseases during patient care services.
Additionally,  students may experience exposure to hazardous chemicals or substances, accidental injury, neuromuscular problems, radiation and allergic reactions to latex, anesthetic agents, or other chemical agents. Students enrolled in the dental hygiene program are provided with in-depth instructions on OSHA and WISHA safety and infection control policies employed in the dental hygiene program.

Our Bloodborne Pathogen Policy/Exposure Control Plan minimizes the risk of transmission of bloodborne pathogens, as well as, minimizes the risk to other environmental hazards. Policies are reviewed annually and changes implemented accordingly.

Latex is an integral part of dentistry; although latex free gloves are used in clinic, rubber dams, suction tubes, etc. may contain latex. Individuals with a history of some prior allergic condition, such as hay fever, environmental allergies, and drug allergies, may be at risk for latex hypersensitivity. Individuals with a documented latex allergy must submit clearance from a physician prior to participation in pre-clinical or clinical activities.

In accord with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended; The Washington State Law Against Discrimination, RCW 49.60; and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, as amended, which prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of disability, Eastern Washington University strives to make appropriate accommodations for students with documented special needs. Students with disabilities must register with the EWU Disability Support Services office which is located in Tawanka 124 if they require special accommodations. Additional information about reasonable accommodations is contained in EWU Policy 402-03, Accommodating Persons with Disabilities.

Determining what is a reasonable accommodation for students in the Eastern Washington University Dental Hygiene Program is an interactive process which the student will need to initiate with the Chair of the Dental Hygiene Department and the Disability Support Services Office. For more information, students can contact Disability Support Services by telephone at 509.359.6871.

It is important to note that the essential functions for the academic portion of a professional program are different than the essential functions for clinical practicum or professional testing. The ability to perform certain skills within a specified time frame is part of the skills that are an essential function of a profession. As a result, the request for accommodations for an extended time in clinical practicum or professional skills testing will be assessed on different essential functions than in the academic setting. In other words, in these settings, you may not receive the same time extension that may be deemed reasonable in a different academic setting.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. Not all of the required prerequisite coursework needs to be completed by the application deadline.  Priority science prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of winter quarter.

All remaining coursework may be in progress as long as it is completed prior to beginning the dental hygiene program.

There are five priority prerequisite science courses:

  • Inorganic chemistry
  • Organic chemistry
  • Anatomy & Physiology I
  • Anatomy & Physiology II
  • Nutrition

Yes. Prerequisite coursework can be completed at a regionally accredited college or university. Coursework should be verified by the online transfer guides or by contacting the dental hygiene department.

Yes, all prerequisites must be completed with a C + or 2.3 gpa or higher. Admission to the program is highly competitive; we encourage students to consistently strive for academic achievement.

The priority prerequisite science courses are 50%  of the value of the dental hygiene application. Cumulative gpa in all college-level coursework is worth 20% of the application value.

All of the science coursework must be completed within 5 years of the date of application (including nutrition).  Remaining program and EWU graduation requirements do not have an expiration date.  All coursework is evaluated for transfer prior to admission.  Applicants should contact the dental hygiene department early in their coursework to ensure transfer of courses.

We do have an alternate list for the same year of entry. If an applicant from the alternate list is not admitted, the alternate list does not carry over. Applicants must complete the admissions process the following year to be reconsidered for admission. Reapplication is a minor factor contributing to admission.

If the applicant has completed all the prerequisites for the EWU Dental Hygiene program and is not accepted for admission, they may apply to the fully online EWU Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences program.

The EWU BSDH degree is a two plus two program. Students complete two years of program and university prerequisites and two years (5 semesters) of dental hygiene coursework. Students who are prepared for college courses can easily achieve this.  Prerequisite coursework equivalencies are accepted from other regionally accredited institutions.

Accreditation

The Eastern Washington University Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene entry-level program is accredited by:

The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

211 East Chicago Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60611-2678
Phone: 312.440.4653  Web: ada.org/en/coda

Accreditation status of “Approval without Reporting Requirements”, the cycle is from 2018 to 2025.

CODA is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education and formally evaluates accredited programs at regular intervals. Complete standards can be found on the CODA website.

The Commission strongly encourages attempts at informal or formal resolution through the program’s or sponsoring institution’s internal processes prior to initiating a formal complaint with the Commission.