Ostrow’s bachelor of science (BS) in dental hygiene provides students with a uniquely comprehensive dental hygiene education that is internationally renowned for excellence.

Clearing stone impressions of debris | NATE JENSEN
Clearing stone impressions of debris


  • Among the more than 300 dental hygiene programs in the United States, only 55 — including USC — confer a bachelor’s degree.
  • The BS in dental hygiene requires successful completion of the dental hygiene curriculum, which includes coursework in the basic sciences and clinical and general education.
  • USC dental hygiene students learn about the ethics, values, skills and knowledge essential to the profession. They learn to assess the patient’s medical, dental and social histories, and are prepared to provide educational, clinical and consultative services to individuals and populations of all ages, including the medically compromised, mentally or physically challenged and socially or culturally disadvantaged.
  • The program emphasizes health promotion and disease prevention as well as the dental hygienist’s role in the community. Nutritional counseling and tobacco cessation strategies are included in the curriculum.
  • Hands-on learning helps students solve problems, interact with dentists, treat a wide variety of patients, perform preventive procedures and evaluate patient outcomes.





  • Our program provides dental hygiene students with opportunities to learn from our prestigious dentistry and dental hygiene faculty and work alongside our talented dental students.
  • Our faculty includes renowned experts in patient education, advanced non-periodontal therapy, clinical research and community outreach.
  • Our faculty members are editors and authors of some of the most influential journals and textbooks in the dental hygiene profession. Most importantly, every faculty member is dedicated to assisting students.





  • Our graduates go on to become expert clinicians, educators, researchers, health advocates and public health professionals.
  • About 70 percent of all dental hygienists work in private dental offices, 20 percent work in local public health and school programs, and the remainder work in state and federal health programs, industry settings, research positions and teaching.
<em>Left:</em> Dental hygiene students craft bleaching trays use vacuum forming machine.  <em>Right:</em> Dental hygiene students learn to use a number of scaling instruments for different oral health conditions.  | NATE JENSEN
<em>Left:</em> Dental hygiene students craft bleaching trays use vacuum forming machine.  <em>Right:</em> Dental hygiene students learn to use a number of scaling instruments for different oral health conditions.  | NATE JENSEN
Left: Dental hygiene students craft bleaching trays use vacuum forming machine. Right: Dental hygiene students learn to use a number of scaling instruments for different oral health conditions.
Goal 1

To prepare dental hygienists to possess the skills and knowledge to competently assess, plan, implement and evaluate patient care services for all populations.


Competency 1

The student will demonstrate the ability to integrate foundational knowledge and clinical skills to deliver the highest standard of dental hygiene care to all populations and periodontal types using the dental hygiene process of care.


Goal 2

To prepare dental hygienists who will apply ethical reasoning and professional responsibility in performing patient care services and in interactions with faculty, peers and staff.


Competency 2

The student will provide skilled care using the highest professional knowledge, judgment and ethical reasoning, and decision-making following the ADHA Code of Ethics and with respect for all state and federal laws.


Goal 3 

To prepare dental hygienists to possess the skills and knowledge to develop, implement and evaluate public oral health programs.


Competency 3 

The student will assess, plan, implement and evaluate community-based oral health programs in a variety of settings to promote health and disease prevention among diverse population groups.


Goal 4 

To prepare dental hygienists who will use scientific research in problem-solving and critical decision-making for all professional activities.


Competency 4

The student will utilize principles of research methodology in order to evaluate scientific literature and synthesize information in a critical and effective manner to apply evidence-based approaches to patient care.


Goal 5

To develop dental hygienists who apply self-assessment skills to facilitate the ability to be lifelong learners.


Competency 5

The student will demonstrate the ability to evaluate and reflect on their professional growth as a strategy for lifelong learning.


Our dental hygiene curriculum prepares graduates to assume the many roles the profession offers: clinician, educator, public health program planner, advocate and researcher. Graduates also are well prepared to pursue a variety of master’s degrees, including in public health, gerontology and craniofacial biology.


The sample dental hygiene curriculum below provides an overview of a typical progression through the five-trimester program, which requires 88 units: 76 in dental hygiene and 12 in general education. Ostrow’s Curriculum Committee continuously reviews and enhances the curriculum to ensure students graduate with the competencies essential to their role as health care providers.


Trimester 1 (Fall)

Course Credits
Fundamentals of Clinical Dental Hygiene PracticeDHYG 311a3
Patient Education in Preventive Dental CareDHYG 3161
Oral BiochemistryDBIO 3102
Basic Tissues & Histology & EmbryologyDHIS 3102
Principles of Oral RadiologyDIAG 521DIAG 5212
Fundamentals of Dental MorphologyOCCL 3101
Dental Morphology LabDHYG 314LDHYG 314L1
Introduction to Periodontal DiseasesPERI 310ab1
Head and Neck AnatomyANAT 521ANAT 5212
Infection ControlOMOD 5061
General Education4


Trimester 2 (spring)

Course Credits
Pain & Anxiety ControlAMED 5242
Fundamentals of Clinical Dental Hygiene PracticeDHYG 311b3
Preventive Dental TherapyDHYG 3202
Radiographic Techniques DIAG 4151
Microbiology & ImmunologyMBIO 3102
Intro to Periodontal Disease 2PERI 310b1
Medicine and Pathology a,bPTHL 312ab1/3
Writing Course4


Trimester 3 (summer)

Course Credits
Emergency MedicineAMED 5022
Dental SpecialtiesDHYG 3182
Introduction to Advanced Dental HygieneDHYG 4012
Clinic: Dental HygieneDHYG 410a3
Research MethodsDHYG 4242
Dental MaterialsDMAT 316L2
Interactional Skills in Dental HygieneHBHV 3101
Basic Periodontal TherapyPERI 415 1
Medicine and PathologyPTHL 312c2


Trimester 4 (fall)

Course Credit
Clinic: Dental HygieneDHYG 410b6
Advanced Dental HygieneDHYG 414a2
Preventive Dental Care ProgramsDHYG 4121
Community Dental HealthDHYG 516a2
Dentistry for ChildrenPEDO 3101
Advanced PeriodontologyPERI 5041
Principles of PharmacologyDPHR 4102
General Education4


Trimester 5 (spring)

Course Credits
Advanced Dental HygieneDHYG 414b2
Clinic: Dental HygieneDHYG 410c6
Community Dental HealthDHYG 516b2
Essentials of D.H. PracticeDHYG 4221
Geriatric and Special PatientsGSPD 5042

Ostrow students, with faculty supervision, provide free dental care to more than 17,500 low-income individuals each year through our Mobile Dental Clinic program and numerous local clinics and community events.

Ostrow’s dental hygiene students gain invaluable experience working directly with patients early in the curriculum and throughout their tenure at the school. In addition to collectively providing oral health services to some 12,000 patients each year in the school’s faculty-supervised, student-run clinics, dental hygiene students also offer free services to more than 17,500 low-income individuals each year through the Mobile Dental Clinic program, health fairs and other community service programs.


The Dental Hygiene program complies with all local, state and federal infection control policies, including the application of Standard Precautions as stipulated by current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Written policies and instruction on infection-control protocol to minimize the risk of disease transmission is provided in courses throughout the curriculum, at yearly required blood-borne pathogen training sessions and through documents such as the Dental Hygiene and Dental Clinic Manual. Compliance of safety practices is evaluated throughout students’ clinical experience to ensure a safe educational and work environment.



Ostrow follows CDC work restrictions for health care personnel infected with or exposed to major infectious diseases in the dental hygiene clinic. A copy of work restriction recommendations is found within the Exposure Control Plan.



Any student or personnel who engage in unsafe or careless clinical practices that create risks to the health of patients, employees or students shall be subject to disciplinary action. When such actions are brought to the attention of the program director, the student or personnel may be suspended immediately from all patient care activities pending a full investigation of the matter.



Personnel or students who are exposed to a blood-borne pathogen in the course of their clinical care are expected to follow the procedures set forth in the Exposure Control Plan. If a student should be exposed to a patient’s body fluids in a manner that may transmit a blood-borne or infectious disease, the patient will be asked to be tested for disease.



Environmental hazards of dental hygiene practice include: disorders associated with repetitive activities, exposure to high-decibel sounds, exposure to hazardous chemicals or substances, accidental injury, exposure to radiation and allergic reactions to latex or other chemical agents.



Patients of the Dental Hygiene Clinic are informed of blood-borne pathogen policies at their initial appointments in the clinic. The school’s Blood-Borne Pathogens Policy and Exposure Control Plan are available upon request in the dental hygiene clinic.