Program Overview

Do you want to serve your community by practicing in the rewarding field of oral disease prevention? At our on-campus clinic, you will learn from expert faculty while gaining hands-on experience with patients from the local area. With our emphasis on teamwork across health care professions, you will emerge from UNE’s Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene degree program with in-depth knowledge of your field and ready to practice comprehensive care that will put smiles on your patients’ faces.

If you already hold an associate degree in dental hygiene, you may join our completion program to earn a four-year bachelor's degree and enjoy the expanded professional opportunities it brings.

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As I began to narrow down my options it became very clear to me that the program at UNE is exceptional and stands apart from the rest.

Dental Hygiene (4-Year B.S.)

Why UNE for Dental Hygiene

  • Interprofessional learning with other health professions students
  • Low faculty-to-student ratio
  • Initial two years of humanities and health professions studies on the Biddeford Campus
  • Final two years of clinical study on the Portland Campus
  • On-campus dental hygiene clinic that serves the community
  • Collaborative practice models with student dentists
  • Dental Simulation Lab in Innovation Hall

Take a Tour of Our Facilities


Equipped with the critical thinking skills developed as part of your liberal arts foundation, your theoretical knowledge of dental hygiene, and the practical and interpersonal expertise you acquire through clinical work with patients and other health care professionals, you will be well on your way to a rewarding career as a dental hygienist. You may work in clinical or administrative roles in corporate, nonprofit, educational, or public health settings, such as:

  • Private Dental Practices
  • Health Service Corps
  • Clinics and Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Private Businesses (Sales and Development)
  • Schools
  • Public Health Agencies

Scope of Practice

Dental hygienists work in a host of different settings and under varying levels of supervision. Each state enacts its own laws determining the services dental hygienists can provide, the settings in which they can practice, and the supervision under which they practice.

Permitted functions and supervision requirements vary widely by state. To verify any of these requirements contact your state’s dental board. The Oral Health Workforce Research Center also offer an interesting overview of the variation in dental hygiene scope of practice by state. View the ADHA’s permitted functions and supervision levels by state (PDF)

Career Advising

Whether you have a specific career goal in mind or a vague idea of the field that interests you, Career Advising is here to help you plan your next step.

Dental Hygiene Careers By The Numbers


expected rate of dental hygienist job growth from 2016 to 2026


New hygienist jobs expected to open in U.S. between 2016 and 2026


Example of Available Courses

  • Oral Pathology
  • Radiology
  • Community Health
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Pharmacology
  • Pain Management

Hands-on Learning

  • Gain knowledge, skills, and confidence
  • Practice technique in the Dental Simulation Lab
  • Serve a diverse population at the on-campus Coleman Clinic
  • Provide a wide range of patient services


WCHP Core Requirements Credits
BIO 104/104L – General Biology 4
BIO 208/208L – Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology I with Lab 4
BIO 209/209L – Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology II with Lab 4
BIO 309 – Pathophysiology 3
BIO 242/242L – Applied Microbiology with Lab 4
CHE 130/130L – Principles of Chemistry with Lab 4
DEN 201 – Histology and Embryology 2
ENG 110 – English Composition 3
IHS 130 – Interprofessional Health Care First Year Experience 3
IHS 210 – Methods of Scholarly Inquiry 3
NUTR 220 – Nutrition 3
IHS 310 – Ethics for Interprofessional Practice 3
MAT 120 – Statistics 3
PSY 105 – Introduction to Psychology 3
PSY 250 – Lifespan Development 3
SOC 150 – Introduction to Sociology 3
SPC 100 – Effective Public Speaking 3
One (1) Creative Arts Course (with prefix ARH, ART, or MUS) 3
One 276 or 278 Human Traditions Course with the following prefix: ARH, ENG, HIS, LIL, PHI, PSC, or REL 3
Total 61
Dental Hygiene Required Courses Credits
DEN 100 – Introduction to Dental Hygiene 1
DEN 303 – Dental Hygiene Theory I 2
DEN 304 – Dental Hygiene Theory II 2
DEN 309 – Dental Hygiene Clinic I 4
DEN 312 – Dental Hygiene Clinic II 2
DEN 322 – Radiology 2
DEN 322L – Radiology Lab 1
DEN 325 – Preservation of Tooth Structure 2
DEN 325L – Preservation of Tooth Structure Lab 1
DEN 332 – Community Health I 2
DEN 334 – Community Health II 2
DEN 338 – Medical Emergencies 1
DEN 341 – Oral Anatomy 2
DEN 342 – Head and Neck Anatomy 2
DEN 403 – Dental Hygiene Theory III 1
DEN 404 – Dental Hygiene Theory IV 1
DEN 410 – Dental Hygiene Clinic III 4
DEN 411 – Dental Hygiene Clinic IV 4
DEN 422 – Leadership 2
DEN 425 – Periodontology I 3
DEN 435 – Periodontology II 3
DEN 442 – Pharmacology 2
DEN 445 – Special Care I 2
DEN 446 – Special Care II 2
DEN 452 – Oral Pathology 3
DEN 456 – Pain Management 3
Total 56
Open Electives (needed to reach 120 credits) 4
Total Required for Graduation 121

A student in the dental hygiene major may elect to pursue a bachelor’s degree in health sciences. This degree is only open to matriculated students at the University of New England. Special permission from the student’s advisor and the dean of the Westbrook College of Health Professions is required for enrollment in the B.S. in Health Sciences.

To learn more about the program view the Academic Catalog.

Medical Emergency Training

Dental Hygiene students work with Dental Medicine students in the Interprofessional Simulation and Innovation Center training for medical emergencies. 

Interprofessional Education

As a student in UNE's Dental Hygiene program, you have the unique opportunity to collaborate with students in a wide range of different health professions programs to provide quality, patient-centered care. You will continue to use these interprofessional team-based learning skills in your clinical workplace after you graduate. Reap the personal and professional benefits of graduating from one of only a handful of private universities with a comprehensive health care mission.

No matter your major there's always a chance to learn something new and use it in your professional career. We all want to help others, and learning from one another is the best way to do so.” — Baylee Flemming, RDH ’21

Hear what other UNE alumni have to say about the IPE experience


Global Education

See The World

In our Dental Hygiene degree program, you may study abroad for a semester during your sophomore year in Tangier, Morocco, or Seville, Spain. Both programs offer lab science and humanities courses that fulfill your core requirements. Other short term immersion experiences are available during your sophomore, junior, or senior years, including faculty-led trips to Costa Rica, Ireland, Italy, and Kenya; medical mission trips organized by the (IMM)UNE Club; and the unique Health Care Immersion Experience in Ghana.

Interested in studying abroad? Make a plan with your advisor.