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Dental Hygiene Curriculum

Students must successfully complete the seven prerequisite courses from a regionally accredited institution with a C average or higher.

  1. Complete the Dental Hygiene Application through the LMU admissions office.
  2. At a minimum, prerequisite science courses must demonstrate a GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00. Applicants must report both a science and a cumulative GPA over 3.00 (although >3.25 will be generally competitive) on a 4.00
  3. Two letters of recommendation are required. One must be from either a science professor; a dental or medical professional or someone who can attest to the applicant's integrity and ethical characteristics. Letters written by immediate family members will not be accepted. All letters of recommendation must be submitted directly to the school by those completing the letters. The Office of Admissions will not accept letters submitted directly by students.
  4. Complete sixteen (16) documented observation/shadowing hours before entering the DHP.
  5. Applicants should reflect a people and service orientation through community service
  6. Applicants must possess the oral and written communication skills necessary to interact with patients. Submission of a thousand-word essay expressing why the dental hygiene profession is their career of choice is required. Essay will be submitted to the dental hygiene program director.  
  7. Applicants must pass the LMU-CDM criminal background completed upon offer of admission, but before entering the program.
  8. Applicants must be drug-free, as evidenced through required drug testing (completed upon offer of admission, but before entering the program).

Admissions criteria are weighted with an emphasis on academic performance in prerequisite science courses GPAs, cumulative GPAs, number of hours completed Completion of application including recommendation letters, community service e, and interview. The ranking formula, the weighting, and the scoring will be analyzed and reviewed before each admission cycle by the Admissions Committee (Applicant Ranking Plan).


BIOL 261

Human Anatomy and Physiology I/Lab

MATH 105

College Entry-Level Transitional Math or Higher.

ENGL 101


SOCI 100

Introduction to Sociology

CHEM 100

Introduction to Chemistry

BIOL 230


PSYC 100

Introduction to Psychology


  •   Gen Eds and Prerequisites

    BIOL 261 – Human Anatomy and Physiology I – 4 Credit Hours

    This course is the first of a two-semester sequence of courses addressing the human body's structure and function and 99 mechanisms for maintaining homeostasis. Emphasis will be given to aspects relevant to medical science. The first semester (BIOL 261) will focus on the anatomy and physiology of human cells, tissues, and systems, including the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. In the laboratory, students will examine human anatomy through histological and skeletal preparations, as well as through dissection of mammals. Physiological lab experiments and/or computer simulation exercises will also be conducted. Corequisite: BIOL 261L lab, 1 credit hour. Fall.

    ISYS 100-Computer Literacy – 2 Credit Hours

    This course addresses the elementary study of microcomputers; topics include hardware and operating systems, introduction to word processing, spreadsheets and database, communications software, computer terminology, ethics, social implications, and career opportunities. This course should be completed during the freshman year. For students demonstrating computer skills equivalent to ISYS 100, the General Education Core Curriculum requirement in Computer Literacy may be waived; opportunities for such are provided during Student Orientation sessions preceding each semester. Fall, Spring, Summer

    ENG 101 Composition – 3 Credit Hours

    This course is an introduction to the conventions of college-level reading, writing, and research. Emphasis is on the writing process and the improvement of critical thinking, language, and grammar skills. Admission to the course is determined by student writing samples administered in ENGL 099; or successful completion of ENGL 099 with a grade of "C-" or higher; or an ACT English score between 18 and 25; or an SAT Verbal score between 470 and 660. Fall, Spring.

    ENGL 102 Composition II - 3 Credit Hours

    Extends concepts introduced in ENGL 101 with emphasis on effective writing in response to a variety of reading selections. An important feature of ENGL 201 is information literacy and research based writing using correct formatting and documentation. Writing intensive. Requires a college-level research paper of significant length, supported by authoritative sources. Prerequisites: “C-“ or high in ENGL 101; or “C-“ or higher in one (1) dual enrollment composition course; or 4 or higher on the AP English Language and Composition Exam; or 26 or higher on the ACT English exam; or 670 or higher on the SAT Verbal exam. Fall, Spring

    Math 105– 3 Credit Hours

    This course is designed to be a logical foundation for both the classical instance of algebra in MATH 115 College Algebra and the alternative general education course, MATH 100, Reasoning and Problem Solving. Emphasis S on the logical and computational elements: operators, operands, expressions, distinct but equivalent expressions, words of a type versus objects of a type, and use thereof in both contexts. Exercises address interpretation and use of math language and notation, algebra of sets, algebra of numbers, and processes utilized in solving linear and quadratic equations and inequalities. Prerequisites: Math ACT of 19 or higher, or Math SAT 510 or higher, or successful completion of MATH 99. Fall/ Spring.

    LNCN 100 Lincoln's Life and Legacy – 1 Credit Hour

    An introduction to the life, career, and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. The course will focus on Lincoln's biography (including the lives of his family members), his letters and speeches, and his place in American culture. Attention will be devoted to his impact on shaping the course of American history in the mid- nineteenth century, and to assessing the way Americans have remembered him. The course will include discussion of the origins and history of LMU. Fall, Spring.

    UACT 100 Strategies for College Success – 1 Credit Hour

    This course explores and integrates topics of relevance for a more successful transition to university academic and social life. Along with gaining a better understanding of LMU's values, topics such as time management, learning strategies, self-understanding, and career and life choices will be addressed.

    Health issues such as managing stress, substance use and abuse, and general wellness are also examined. This course is required of all new freshmen with less than 15 credits of college credit. Given the goals of this course, AP, CLEP, dual enrollment, and online courses may not be included in the calculation of the 15 credits necessary to be exempt from this course. University Honors Scholars may substitute HNRS 100. Fall/Spring. The following courses are given a grade of Pass/Fail. These courses are offered as needed Fall and/or Spring.


    Gen Eds and Prerequisites, Spring

    SOCI 100 - Introduction to Sociology – 3 Credit Hours

    Overview of principles employed in analyzing the nature of societal, cultural, and group behavior. Applications to major social institutions and individual lives. Fall, Spring.

    BIOL 230- Microbiology – 4 Credit Hours

    The microbial world: emphasis on techniques of studying microbes, isolation and identification of bacteria, and modern methods of molecular techniques used in the study of microbes. Corequisite: BIOL 230L lab, 1 credit hour. Fall and Spring.

    COMM 200 Speech Communications – 3 Credit Hours

    Introductory course designed to increase skills and ease interpersonal oral communications through development of analytical thinking, clear organization and support of ideas, effective expression/delivery techniques, confidence before groups, and effective listening. Includes a variety of formal and informal speaking situations and experiences. Recommended prerequisite: ENGL 101. Fall, Spring.

    PSYC 100 Introduction to Psychology - 3 Credit Hours

    An introduction to the basic concepts, methods, theories, and applications of psychology. Survey of the major areas of psychology such as the scientific method, biological basis of behavior, sensation, perception, and consciousness, conditioning and learning, memory and cognition, motivation.

    CHEM 100 Introduction to Chemistry – 4 Credit Hours

    This course provides students with an introduction to the basic principles of modern chemistry. The course uses real-world applications such as ozone depletion, air and water quality, nuclear power, and the pharmaceutical industry to introduce the essential concepts of modern chemistry. Corequisite: CHEM 100 Lab, 1 cr hr. Fall, Spring.

  •   DH - Year One

    DH 1 Fall

    DH 200 Clinic Theory I – Lecture and Lab – 5.2 Credit Hours

    This course introduces the dental hygiene student to clinical dental hygiene practice. It provides a historical overview of dentistry and dental careers, ethical principles, the science behind disease transmission, instrument sterilization, and infection control procedures. Ergonomics, communication skills, and preliminary patient assessment tools, including vital signs, are covered. The dental hygiene process of care, basic instrumentation, extrinsic stain removal, and fluoride application will be covered in the simulation laboratory.

    DH 201 Embryology, Histology, and Dental Anatomy – 3.0 Credit Hours

    This course will introduce the dental hygiene student to the form, function, and comparative anatomy of primary and permanent teeth, tooth numbering, and dentition periods. Embryologic development of the face, neck, orofacial structures, and teeth. And the histologic study of the gingiva, oral mucosa, and attachment apparatus.

    DH 202 Head and Neck Anatomy – 2.0 Credit Hours

    This course is designed to provide dental hygiene students with the anatomical foundation of dental hygiene and study regional and systemic anatomy. Presented through didactic, case-based learning, and experiential learning pedagogy, this course focuses on conceptual anatomy, demonstrating the dental significance of anatomical structures including the skull, face, oral cavity, and cranial cavity are critical to the practice of dental hygiene.

    DH 203 Dental Radiology – 3 Credit Hours

    This course introduces dental hygiene students to the science of radiography and safety techniques for the operator and patient, intraoral and extraoral radiographic techniques, interpretation, and identification of pathological processes. Students will be acquiring radiographs on the simulation manikin and transition to live patient experiences during the lab portion of the course.


    DH 1 Spring

    DH 250 Clinic Theory II – Lecture and Practice – 5.8 Credit Hours

    This course is a continuation of Clinic Theory I. In the lab, simulation exercises will provide practice exercises for assessment and instrumentation techniques. Students will begin the application of dental hygiene theory to responsible patient-centered dental hygiene care.

    DH 251 General and Oral Pathology – 2 Credit Hours

    This course has been designed to integrate oral pathology and general pathology. Students will study principles of general pathology with emphasis on the relationships to oral diseases. Pathologic physiology includes tissue regeneration, the inflammatory process, immunology, and wound healing. Clinical appearance, etiology, location, and treatment options of general system diseases is presented, along with the oral manifestations. Special attention will be placed on the oral cavity's common pathological conditions and early recognition of these conditions.

    DH 252 Periodontology – 2 Credit Hours

    This course introduces students to the identification, treatment, and prevention of pathological conditions that affect the periodontium. Includes assessment, diagnosis, and initial treatment of periodontal disease. Emphasis will be placed on anatomy and histology of normal periodontal tissues, etiology of periodontal diseases, and resulting tissue changes. Classification of Periodontal Disease will be discussed in depth.

    DH 253 Pharmacology – 2 Credit Hours

    This course introduces the student to classes of drugs and their uses, actions, interactions, side effects, contraindications, systemic and oral manifestations, emphasizing dental application. Students will learn the dosages of commonly prescribed medications in dentistry and prescription writing.

    DH 254 Pain Management and Anxiety Control & Medical Emergencies – 4 Credit Hours

    This course provides student hygienists with the anatomy, medical considerations, pharmacology, needle safety, preparation, procedures, complications, documentation, and the legal considerations of delivering local anesthesia and nitrous oxide sedation. Students will administer local anesthesia, administer and monitor nitrous oxide sedation, and manage simulated medical emergencies in the laboratory. Completing this course satisfies the State of Tennessee Board of Dentistry requirements for licensure in administering local anesthesia and administering and monitoring of nitrous oxide.


    DH 1 Summer

    DH 300 Clinic Theory III – Lecture and Practice – 6 Credit Hours

    This course is a continuation of Clinical Theory II. Through patient care experiences, students will review and assess medical histories, take and recording vital signs, perform intraoral and extraoral exams, assess periodontal health, treatment planning, provision of routine prophylaxis and scaling and root planing, and remove calculus and stain, oral hygiene instruction, the use of preventative agents and adjuncts to homecare. Students will understand the biochemistry of nutrition, the effect of nutrition on oral cavity disease processes, and systemic health. Tobacco cessation will be discussed in depth.

    DH 301 Dental Materials – 3 Credit Hours

    This course presents the fundamentals of dental materials used in dental hygiene, including laboratory techniques, procedures, advantages, and disadvantages. The properties of dental materials are covered, including prophy paste, fluoride gel, fluoride varnish, cements, bleaching gels, bleaching trays, occlusal guards, and sealants. Labs will cover mixing techniques, applications, and uses of different dental materials.

    DH 302 Treatment of Patients with Special Needs – 3 Credit Hours

    This course focuses on the unique dental and medical needs of pediatric, adult, and geriatric patients with special needs and limitations. Student dental hygienists will develop the knowledge and skills required to provide oral health care to this population. They will understand the complexities and limitations, management techniques, and the dental hygienist's role in delivering oral healthcare while managing patients with mental or physical disabilities and those medically compromised.

  •   DH - Year Two

    DH 2 Fall

    DH 350 Clinic Theory IV – Lecture and Practice – 6.4 Credit Hours

    This course is a continuation of Clinic Theory III. Through patient-care experiences, students will continue developing communication and critical thinking skills, treatment planning, patient-centered care, time management, and treatment outcome evaluation skills to achieve competence.

    DH 351 Community Outreach and Service Learning – 3 Credit Hours

    This course focuses on the importance of community oral health and its impact on the population. It correlates oral health as an entity of one's overall health as illuminated in The Healthy People initiative adopted by the Federal Government. The dental hygiene student will be able to identify career options for a dental hygienist in community health and promote disease prevention. Students will develop and implement a community health outreach event at the College of Dental Medicine for the community.

    DH 452 Ethics, Jurisprudence, and Practice Management – 3 Credit Hours

    This course introduces the student dental hygienists to the ethical and legal issues related to dental hygiene practice. Case studies are presented to determine the principles of dental ethics and jurisprudence. Review and interpretation of the Tennessee Dental Practice Act and licensure requirements are reviewed. The student dental hygienist will be introduced to practice management, employment issues, dental office procedures, career opportunities, resume building, and effective communication as a member of the oral healthcare team.


    DH 2 Spring

    DH 360 Clinic Theory V – Lecture and Practice – 9 Credit Hours

    This course is a continuation of Clinic Theory IV. Through patient-care experiences, students will continue developing communication and critical thinking skills, treatment planning, patient-centered care, time management, and treatment outcome evaluation skills to achieve competence.

    DH 361 Dental Hygiene Board Review – 3 Credit Hours

    This course helps dental hygiene students prepare for the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and the ADEX Dental Hygiene Examination. Course content will include a comprehensive review of dental hygiene curriculum content, computer-simulated clinical examination (case studies), and patient treatment clinical examination (mock board exam).