Dental Hygiene

UNM prepares its students to handle the important responsibilities of a career in dental hygiene. There are three different degree paths for dental hygienists including the path to become a dental hygienists: Bachelor of Science, Online Bachelor of Science Degree Completion Program for Dental Hygienist, and Master of Science of degree programs. UNM is renown for its state of the art program which focuses on dental public health and the advancement of dental hygiene science. Students get hands-on experience at our full-service public dental clinic while also receiving continuous dental education.

Mission

  • Educate dental hygienists through the transmission of dental science knowledge acquired from research and patient care.
  • Improve the health of the people of New Mexico through academic and clinical training of highly qualified dental hygiene professionals.
  • Provide the highest quality oral health care services to the community.
  • Advance the art and science of dental hygiene via research and other scholarly/creative activities.
  • Provide, sponsor and/or participate in activities and services that validate the educational programs of the university as integral and vital parts of the entire health care spectrum.

Why Study Dental Hygiene?

Dental hygienists who are trained by The University of New Mexico School of Medicine's Division of Dental Hygiene in Albuquerque work in a variety of settings. Dental Hygienists are licensed professional members of the health care industry who work to promote and maintain oral health in the population. Career options include education, sales, health, management, research and public health.

Generally, dental hygienists work in a dental clinics and perform many critical services that detect, prevent and treat diseases of the mouth. However, a career in dental hygiene at the baccalaureate and master’s degrees offers multiple opportunities in a variety of settings.

Dental hygienists must master complex skills to provide comprehensive dental hygiene care in multiple settings – with new ones emerging all the time.

Department of Dental Medicine arm patch.

Our Programs

Learn more about our Dental Hygiene and Residency Programs.

Community Outreach

Since its inception, the school has educated the majority of dental hygienists practicing in New Mexico. The Department of Dental Medicine continues to develop interprofessional collaborations with the College of Nursing, Family Medicine and Pediatrics departments, the Center for Development and Disabilities and maternal and infant programs in the belief that dentists own dentistry, but not oral health.

To request an on-site dental hygienist for your dental health class, group, health fair, career day, or other related outreach, please contact Christine Nathe.

Registered Dental Hygienists

The Department of Dental Hygiene at The University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque is the perfect place for Registered Dental Hygienists (RDHs) who are looking to advance their careers and/or procure additional dental hygiene-related certifications.

We offer a Dental Hygiene Bachelor of Science degree program, a Master of Science track, and a Continuing Dental Education program for practicing dental hygienists, dentists, dental technicians and dental assistants.

For information about degree-seeking programs, both Bachelor of Science degree completion and Master of Science, please contact Christine Nathe at CNathe@salud.unm.edu.

National Conference

Find out more information about the Nineteenth National Conference for Dental Public Educators including Clinical Instruction and Pain Control.

Registered Dental Hygienists

The Department of Dental Hygiene is the perfect place for Registered Dental Hygienists (RDHs) who are looking to advance their careers and/or procure additional dental hygiene-related certifications.

Continuing Dental Education

Care for the Community

Dental hygienists are licensed professional members of the health care industry who work to promote and maintain oral health in the population. Dental hygienists must master complex skills to provide comprehensive dental hygiene care in multiple settings.

Clinician

  • Perform oral health assessments
  • Provide nutritional counseling and self-care programs to prevent disease
  • Examine head, neck and oral regions for disease
  • Take and interpret x-rays and perform other diagnostic tests
  • Provide services that help patients prevent gum diseases and cavities
  • Perform oral cancer and blood pressure screenings
  • Provide oral health instructions
  • Place and remove temporary fillings and periodontal dressings
  • Remove sutures
  • Administer local anesthesia
  • Conduct oral cancer screening biopsies

Researcher

  • Develop and conduct research studies
  • Apply for research grants
  • Write scientific papers for professional publications
  • Present research

Entrepreneur

Creating new enterprises:
  • Practice management services
  • Products
  • Educational initiatives
  • Clinical practices
  • Companies that promote health
  • Consulting business
  • Founder of a nonprofit

Educator

  • Teach in dental hygiene and dental school programs
  • Present continuing education seminars
  • Write/edit educational materials
  • Act as educational consultants to dental companies

Public Health

Public health is a growing field. Dental hygienists can pursue graduate public health education at both the College of Population Health and dental schools.

  • Health policy and program management and administration
  • Research methods in dental public health
  • Oral health promotion and disease prevention
  • Oral health services delivery systems

Corporate

  • Sales representatives
  • Product researchers
  • Corporate educators or administrators

Administrator

Hold administrative positions in these fields:

  • Education
  • Clinical practice
  • Public health
  • Hospitals
  • Sales
  • Professional organizations
Resident cleaning woman's teeth.

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