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Graduates must also be competent in providing the dental hygiene process of care, which includes:

a) Comprehensive collection of patient data to identify the physical and oral health status.

b) Analysis of assessment findings and use of critical thinking in order to address the patient’s dental hygiene treatment needs.

c) Establishment of a dental hygiene care plan that reflects the realistic goals and treatment strategies to facilitate optimal oral health.

d) Provision of patient-centered treatment and evidence-based care in a manner minimizing risk and optimizes oral health.

e) Measurement of the extent to which goals identified in the dental hygiene care plan are achieved.

f) Complete and accurate recording of all documentation relevant to patient care.


Educational Preparation   

The registered dental hygienist (RDH) or licensed dental hygienist (LDH) is educationally prepared for practice upon graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program (associate, post-degree certificate, or baccalaureate) within an institution of higher education and qualified by successful completion of a national written board examination and state or regional clinical examination for licensure. 

Definition Of Dental Hygiene Practice

Dental hygiene is the science and practice of recognition, prevention, and treatment of oral diseases and conditions as an integral component of total health. The dental hygienist is a primary care oral health professional who has graduated from an accredited dental hygiene program in an institution of higher education, licensed in dental hygiene to provide education, assessment, research, administrative, diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic services that support overall health through the promotion of optimal oral health. 


In practice, dental hygienists integrate multiple roles to prevent oral diseases and promote health. Dental hygienists work in partnership with all members of the dental team. Dentists and dental hygienists practice together as colleagues, each offering professional expertise with the goal of providing optimum oral health care to the public.


The distinct roles of the dental hygienist and dentist complement and augment the effectiveness of each professional and contribute to a collaborative environment. Dental hygienists are:

  • Viewed as experts in their field

  • Consulted about appropriate dental hygiene interventions

  • Expected to make clinical dental hygiene decisions

  • Expected to plan, implement, and evaluate the dental hygiene component of the overall care plan. All states define their specific dental hygiene practice scope and licensure requirements.


All dental hygienists in GA are required to:

Attend and graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) program. CODA Standards for Dental Hygiene Education Programs require that dental hygiene graduates must be competent in providing dental hygiene care for all types of classifications of periodontal diseases including patients who exhibit moderate to severe periodontal disease.

Dental Hygiene Programs:

Whether you are just starting out or ready to take your professional career to the next level, ADHA can can help you find a program to match your goals.

Entry-Level Programs

Ready to enter the dental hygiene profession? The following list provides the latest entry-level programs for dental hygiene degrees or certificates. For more on accreditation status of a specific program, please contact the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).


Degree-Completion Programs

Discover degree-completion programs to turn your dental hygiene certificate or associate degree into a baccalaureate degree in dental hygiene or in a related area.


Re-Entry Programs

Find education programs/courses designed for dental hygienists who have been away from the field of dental hygiene and now wish to return.


Master of Science in Dental Hygiene (MSDH) and Related Disciplines

Pursue your dream of getting a master's degree in dental hygiene or related area with the following education programs.


On-Line/Distance Learning Programs

Move your dental hygiene education forward from anywhere with computer or remote learning. All programs listed are offered online.


Dental Hygiene Education Programs and Accreditation

Do you have questions about accreditation, proliferation of programs or want to inquire about what ADHA does when it comes to for-profit programs?

Learn more about accreditation of programs and the ADHA’s efforts.

Are you interested in exploring The Path to a New Career?  Check out our FAQ.


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Dental Hygiene Programs

Learn more about the several accredited Dental Hygiene Programs offered across the state.


Licensing process can seem very daunting. Learn more about Dental Hygiene Licensure and ease your mind.

DH Scope of Practice

Specific tasks that Dental Hygienists are deemed competitive to perform and permitted to undertake.

Standards of Practice

As regulated professionals, Dental Hygienists also have their own Standards of Practice.

Careers in Dental Hygiene

Interested in Dental Hygiene but not sure what the career options are? Learn more here

Trends in Dental Hygiene

The current trends in Dental Hygiene across the US. See how you match with your choice of career.

New Professional Resources

Resources to have you hit the ground running as a Registered Dental Hygienist.

Professional Responsibilities

Dental Hygienists are required to perform within the guidelines of certain professional responsibilities.



Clinical Assessment

Clinical Assessments are a crucial part of patient care. It is important to be thorough as you do them.

Risk Assessment

Dental Hygienists' are preventative health care professionals. It is important to understand risk factors.

Oral Systemic Associations

Understanding how one's oral health impacts their overall health and vice versa, can be a game changer for your practice.

Diet & Nutritional Counseling

What your patients' eat can impact their oral health. How can you ensure you give the patient the necessary tools?

Dental Hygiene Planning

Planning is an important part of any process. Learn about Dental Hygiene planning and how it can help in the Dental Hygiene care process.


Assessing the quality of care and its effectiveness on an on-going basis, is an integral part of the process of care.

Health History Assessment

There's a lot more that Health History' can reveal than meets the eye. Learn how to be an expert at this assessment.

Screening for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

There's a greater awareness of Sleep Apnea amongst patients. It's time to take charge as oral health specialists.

Dental Hygiene Diagnosis

Dental Hygiene Diagnosis is an essential element to understanding the oral health care needs of a patient.


Learn the essentials of documentation and understand what it takes to be thorough.


Implementation is putting in effect your plan. A critical step in delivering the treatment plan devised through a thorough diagnosis.

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