Established in 1959, the Department of Dental Hygiene, the Bachelor of Science degree undergraduate curriculum of the School of Dentistry, is largely focused on preventive oral health services and continuing care. Dental science courses, preclinical lectures and seminars, laboratory exercises, and clinical assignments have been developed to provide training in the variety of procedures delegated to the dental hygienist within the dental practice setting. These experiences are sequenced in an organized manner that provides for continual growth and competency in performance of all traditional and expanded function procedures.

The purpose of the program is to develop professionals prepared for the current practice of dental hygiene, as well as graduates who are additionally prepared to deal with future changes in dentistry. Courses that encourage critical thinking and problem-solving techniques and that enhance the ability to evaluate the latest in research are important adjuncts to clinical training. Upon completion of this curriculum, graduates will be prepared to enter a variety of career options available to a dental hygienist.

The entry-level and the online completion program curricula are approved by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).  The entry-level program is also approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.


A profession in the health arts and sciences calls increasingly for persons of intelligence, integrity, responsibility, and depth of human understanding. Therefore, the program of instruction is planned on a strong liberal arts foundation. The student is encouraged to take electives that contribute to breadth of knowledge and quality of values. The choice of electives in early college work is important for many reasons.

The School of Dentistry is interested in applicants with the potential to become hygienists who are well-read and caring persons prepared to communicate effectively in professional and community relationships. They should be able to draw on knowledge of the structure and function of the human body in health and disease, applying resources based on Christian ideals and values to aid in the solution of personal problems. They should also be able to develop the attitudes and skills that will most effectively serve society.


The goal of the Dental Hygiene Program is to educate competent, concerned, and active members of the dental hygiene profession who possess the ability to effectively perform the expanding scope of practice of the dental hygienist.

Loma Linda University emphasizes Christian values and beliefs and the concept of whole-person care. Opportunities for spiritual growth and fellowship among faculty and students are interwoven into daily academic pursuits, clinical practice, and social interactions.

The advancement of dental hygiene depends on an ever-growing body of knowledge. Therefore, this program also places great importance on providing an atmosphere in which students can develop the skills necessary to objectively assess new theories and trends in dentistry in light of scientific knowledge and principles. By combining Christian values with an appreciation for research and the scientific method, graduates will continually apply evidence-based principles to patient care and exhibit God’s love in the quality of service they render.

The Dental Hygiene Program is an undergraduate curriculum in the School of Dentistry. A student must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and must meet college entrance requirements. After successful completion of the required prerequisite courses in a regionally accredited college or university, admission to the Dental Hygiene Program (entry-level) is in the junior year and in the senior year for the  completion program.

The application is available at <http://www.adea.org/>. An LLU supplemental application is also required.  Application deadlines may be found at adea.org; however, priority consideration will be given to those who apply by April 1st.

Application procedure

  1. DHCAS application.  The DHCAS application is completed online by the applicant at adea.org.  The DHCAS application takes approximately 4-6 weeks to be processed and sent to the school where the applicant has applied.
  2. Supplemental applicationAs soon as the DHCAS application is received by LLU the applicant is sent an email invitation from LLU to complete an electronic supplemental application.
  3. Supplemental application deadline.  The applicant must return the completed supplemental application and materials within thirty (30) days.  This includes an essay specific to Loma Linda University, a photograph, and the nonrefundable application fee of $100.
  4. Transcripts.  Official college transcripts must be sent to DHCAS and high school transcripts (entry-level only) sent directly to LLU.  When an applicant becomes an accepted student, official college/university transcripts are required to be sent to LLU in order for the student to be registered for the first quarter of classes.  International students must submit official transcripts at time of supplemental application.
  5. References.  The applicant is asked to send DHCAS three personal references.  These must include an academic reference from a science instructor; a reference from an employer; a character or religious reference; such as, from a minister.  Members of the applicant's family are excluded from writing the required letters of reference.
  6. Interview.  The applicant's records will be screened when the supplemental application, recommendation, and transcripts are on file.  The applicant may then be invited to the school for a personal interview.  An interview is required for admission.  The interview provides an opportunity for evaluation of noncognitive factors, including communication skills, personal values, motivation, and commitment to goals of the profession; as well as genuine concern for others in the service of dental hygiene.  At the time of the interview, a tour of the school will be given by a current student.
  7. Observation.  It is important that students seek experience observing and assisting in a dental office in order to become familiar with the work of a dental hygienist.  Prior to interviewing, applicants are expected to complete a minimum of twenty (20) hours of observation/work experience in a dental facility.
  8. Acceptance.  Accepted students receive an acceptance letter.  Upon payment of the deposit, accepted students receive an email that serves as a receipt, as well as information about how to access registration information.

Pre-entrance requirements:

  1. Pre-entrance health requirements/immunizations.  It is expected that necessary routine dental and medical care will have been attended to before the student registers.  New students are required to have certain immunizations and tests before registration.  Forms to document the required immunizations are provided for the physician in the registration information made available electronically to the student by LLU.  In order to avoid having a hold placed on registration, the student is encouraged to return the documentation forms to Student Health Service no later than six weeks prior to the beginning of classes.
    For a complete list of required immunizations and tests, see Section II of this CATALOG under the heading "Health Care." Documentation verifying compliance with this requirement must be provided before registration can be completed.         
    For further information, consult the Student Handbook, Section V—University Policies—Communicable disease transmission prevention policy; or contact the Student Health Service office at 909/558-8770.
    If a returning student is assigned to a clinical facility that requires a tuberculosis skin test, the student is required to have the test within the six months before the assignment begins.
  2. Deposits.  The student accepted into one of the dental hygiene programs must submit a nonrefundable deposit.  All deposits become part of the first quarter's tuition.  Failure to submit this deposit will result in loss of the applicant's position in the class.  The remaining balance of the first quarter's tuition and fees are due no later than the day of matriculation in late September.  If the applicant has submitted a completed application for financial aid by March 2, and if the Stafford application has been submitted by June 15, the final installment can be paid utilizing University-assisted sources. 
  3. Financial requirement.  Non-U.S. citizens and non-permanent residents are required by U.S. Immigration regulation to pay for their first year of tuition and fees before they can register for Autumn term.  In addition, they must provide documentary evidence of sufficient funds for their second year.  International students will receive the necessary visa applications and registration information after they have submitted their deposit and payment plan.
  4. Financial aid.  A financial aid advisor and financial aid programs are available.  Please contact the Office of Financial Aid by email at finaid@llu.edu; or by telephone, 909/558-4509.  Web site information is located at <llu.edu/central/ssweb/finaid>.

The student is also subject to School of Dentistry academic information, technical standards, financial policy, and University academic policies outlined in this CATALOG.


Dental hygiene students may accept part-time employment during the school year after receiving approval from the department chair and the associate dean, academic affairs. Permission to work is granted on the basis of grades, class load, and health. Work hours may not interfere with class, laboratory, or clinic assignments.


Dental hygiene students must obtain required textbooks, computers, supplies, instruments, and uniforms. The official instruments issued must be purchased from the School of Dentistry during registration. Unauthorized or incomplete equipment is not acceptable. Advance consent must be obtained for any exception. The student must purchase the professional apparel (uniforms, protective eyewear, and shoes) specified by the School of Dentistry.


To practice, the dental hygienist must pass clinical licensing examinations given by state and/or regional dental examining boards. The examinations are given several times each year. Credentials from the National Board of Dental Examiners are accepted in lieu of the written portion of a state examination in some states. Some states have additional computer-based written examinations. Further information can be obtained from each state licensing board or regional clinical examination Web site.


Kristi J. Wilkins

Primary faculty

Darlene A. Armstrong

Larysa Baydala

D. Darlene Cheek

Danielle Ellington

Debra K. Friesen

Shelley L. Hayton

Marilynn G. Heyde

Shirley A. Lee

Patricia M. Lennan

Patricia Tucker

Colleen A. Whitt

Shelly Withers

Debra A. Zawistowski

Emerita faculty

Joni A. Stephens


DNHY 216. Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry. 2 Units.

Introduces preventive dentistry concepts, including the history of dentistry and dental hygiene in oral health promotion and disease prevention. Emphasizes the prevention of oral diseases through effective patient education and motivation, including current theories and principles of psychology as they relate to learning and teaching, personality development and change, and interpersonal processes and dynamics in oral health-care education. Includes instruction in oral health-care techniques for clinical application during concurrent preclinical laboratory sessions.

DNHY 217. Community Oral Health Theory. 2 Units.

Philosophy, principles, language, and objectives of dental public health. Critical review of literature, including epidemiology of oral disease. Principles and practices involved in teaching community oral health. Lesson plan development. Methods and practice of professional presentation.

DNHY 218. Community Oral Health Practicum. 2 Units.

Fieldwork in local schools and the community.

DNHY 290. Research Design and Biostatistics. 3 Units.

Introduces research methodology. Fundamentals of statistical analysis and critique of research data in scientific literature. Student reviews literature and designs proposal in preparation for community oral health practicum.

DNHY 303. Dental Materials and Techniques. 2 Units.

Materials and equipment used in dentistry. Practice in the manipulation and use of common materials. Includes a laboratory component.

DNHY 305. Oral Anatomy Lecture. 2 Units.

Anatomy of the teeth and surrounding tissues.

DNHY 305L. Oral Anatomy Laboratory. 1 Unit.

Laboratory for DNHY 305, Oral Anatomy Lecture.

DNHY 309. Radiology I. 3 Units.

Principles governing radiation production and safety relative to radiographic anatomy/dental materials. Fundamentals of intraoral and extraoral techniques, darkroom procedures, and mounting of radiographs. Practical application of techniques. Basic fundamentals of quality assurance.

DNHY 310. Radiology II. 3 Units.

Continues laboratory techniques. Intraoral and extraoral radiographic interpretation—including anatomy, pathology, and interpretation of the disease process of the oral hard tissues. Basic fundamentals of radiographic selection criteria. Includes laboratory component.

DNHY 321. Preclinical Dental Hygiene I Lecture. 2 Units.

Preclinical phases of dental hygiene, including instrumentation techniques, patient management, intra- and extraoral soft-tissue assessment, charting procedures, disease processes, patient-health assessment, basic operatory preparation, clinical asepsis, and oral health-care techniques.

DNHY 321L. Preclinical Dental Hygiene I Laboratory. 2 Units.

Laboratory course for DNHY 321, Preclinical Dental Hygiene I.

DNHY 322. Preclinical Dental Hygiene II Lecture. 2 Units.

Continues DNHY 321.
Prerequisite: DNHY 321.

DNHY 322L. Preclinical Dental Hygiene II Laboratory. 2 Units.

Laboratory course for DNHY 322, Preclinical Dental Hygiene II Laboratory.
Prerequisite: DNHY 321, DNHY 321L.

DNHY 323. Preclinical Dental Hygiene III. 2 Units.

Continues DNHY 322. site or concurrent*: DNHY 321, DNHY 322*, DNHY 321L, DNHY 322L*.

DNHY 323L. Preclinical Laboratory. 1 Unit.

Laboratory course for DNHY 323, Preclinical Laboratory.
Prerequisite or concurrent*: DNHY 321L, DNHY 322L*, DNHY 321, DNHY 322*.

DNHY 328. Dental Hygiene Portfolio Practicum. 1 Unit.

Student develops a capstone project to show evidence of personal growth and success in the dental hygiene core competencies.

DNHY 375. Dental Hygiene Clinic. 1 Unit.

Clinical application of skills and techniques of dental hygiene. Prophylaxes on pediatric and adult patients.

DNHY 376. Dental Hygiene Clinic. 4 Units.

Continues DNHY 375.
Prerequisite or concurrent: DNHY 375.

DNHY 380. Medically Compromised Patients. 2 Units.

Lectures dealing with the medically compromised patient relative to the use of local anesthetics, drug interactions, need for antibiotic premedication, and necessary modification in treatment planning. Repeated registrations required to fulfill total units.

DNHY 381. Pharmacology for the Dental Hygienist I. 2 Units.

Introduces the basic principles of pharmacology. Emphasizes the use, actions, and clinical implications/contraindications to medications used by dental patients.

DNHY 382. Pharmacology for the Dental Hygienist II. 2 Units.

Continues DNHY 381. Emphasizes application through the use of case studies.

DNHY 390. Introductory Statistics. 2 Units.

Fundamentals of statistical analysis and critique of research data in scientific literature and in student research projects. Inferential and descriptive statistics, frequency distribution, histograms, bar graphs, and statistical tests. Computer applications in preparing and analyzing research data. Domain II.

DNHY 391. Introduction to Grant Writing. 2 Units.

An overview of the basic principles and practice of effective public health and education grant writing. Introduces students to the processes, structures, factors, and essential skills required to develop competitive proposals. Familiarizes students with key elements in proposal preparation; differentiates foundation (private) and government (public) grants and grant making; identifies prospective funding sources; and engages students in the grant review process.

DNHY 392. Grant Writing II. 2 Units.

Continues DNHY 391, Introduction to Grant Writing I. Guides students through the development of a private (foundation) grant proposal, including project need and evaluation, design, and budget preparation. Familiarizes students with the key elements of preparing public (federal) grant applications.
Prerequisite: DNHY 391.

DNHY 400. Oral Disease Management. 2 Units.

An overview of the role of the oral health professional in the management of individuals with oral disease. Explores the process of care, with a focus on the evidence-based pathophysiology of common oral disease conditions—such as, dental caries, periodontal diseases, and oral pathology.

DNHY 405. Introduction to Periodontics. 2 Units.

Reviews gross and microscopic anatomy of the periodontium in health and disease. Primary etiology of periodontal disease. Examines patient's clinical periodontal status. Introduces the diagnostic and treatment-planning process.

DNHY 406. Orthodontics Concepts for Dental Hygiene. 1 Unit.

Basic skeletal and dental growth and development as applied to orthodontics. Treatment modalities. Retention principles and methods. Impressions for orthodontic models. Intraoral measurements for orthodontic procedures. Placing and removing orthodontic separators. Placing, ligating, and removing prepared arch wires. Removing excess cement from orthodontic bands. Checking for loose bands. Seating adjusted retainers and headgear. Instructing the patient. Using ultrasonic scaler to remove excess cement.

DNHY 408. Professional Ethics. 2 Units.

Develops understanding of hygienist's obligations to the public and to his/her professional association. Defines the ethical and mature conduct expected of professional health-care providers. Compares and contrasts professional ethics and personal morality as they relate to dental hygiene practice.

DNHY 409. Jurisprudence and Practice Management. 2 Units.

Laws and regulations that govern the practice of dental hygiene, with special emphasis on California regulations. Standards of government regulations. Obligations of the hygienist to the public and to his/her profession.

DNHY 410. Cultural Competency in Health Care. 2 Units.

Explores cultural competency as it relates to the health, illness, and healing beliefs in caring for people from diverse backgrounds. Addresses Christian perspectives on wholeness.

DNHY 411. Dental Hygiene Topics I. 2 Units.

Student develops advanced hygiene-care planning skills, with emphasis on knowledge synthesis. Topics cover aspects of patient care, including whole-patient care and patients with special needs.

DNHY 412. Dental Hygiene Topics II. 2 Units.

Continues instruction in advanced clinical skills. Areas covered include pulp vitality, dentinal hypersensitivity, esthetic whitening procedures, chemotherapeutic agents, and use of technology for the dental hygiene process of care.

DNHY 413. Dental Hygiene Topics III. 2 Units.

Topics related to employment for dental hygienists. Additional topics include various opportunities in the dental hygiene profession and educational advancement strategies.

DNHY 414. Personal Finance. 2 Units.

Personal finance topics, including credit, taxes, insurance, real estate, budgeting, housing, and inflation.

DNHY 415. Applied Nutrition. 2 Units.

Basic concepts of nutrition. Balance, adequacy, nutrient density, dietary choice, weight management, nutrition, and oral health. Addresses nutritional needs of children and the aged, and medically and dentally compromised patients. Dietary assessment and counseling.

DNHY 416. Dental Health Education I. 2 Units.

Current theories and principles of psychology as they relate to learning and teaching, personality development and change, and interpersonal processes and dynamics.

DNHY 417. Dental Health Education II. 2 Units.

Principles and practices involved in teaching dental public health. Fieldwork in local schools and community. Methods and practice of professional presentation.

DNHY 419. Essentials of Public Health for Dental Hygienists. 3 Units.

Public health background, issues and concepts—including history from ancient times to HMOs; definitions, organization and infrastructure; function, practices, programs, and services. Contributions of important public health practitioners. Political, social, and economic considerations of public health programs.

DNHY 421. Research I. 2 Units.

Introduces research methodology. Evaluates literature, emphasizing statistics adequate for interpretation of the literature. Student reviews literature and designs a research proposal in preparation for professional presentation of a table clinic or informational project. Inprogress (IP) given until completion of all units for this course.

DNHY 422. Research II. 2 Units.

Review and emphasis of research methodology. Develops literature review, emphasizing statistics adequate for interpretation of the literature. Student continues to develop a research proposal in preparation for professional presentation of a table clinic or informational project. Student conducts research experiment or project culminating in presentation of the results at a professional meeting. In progress (IP) given until completion of all units for this course.

DNHY 425. Educational Psychology for Health Professionals. 3 Units.

Fundamentals of psychological principles related to learning in professional and higher education. Major theories of learning and behavior change; as well as research in the areas of cognitive, social, emotional, and moral development. Emphasizes the nature of learning at all age levels, motivation, communication skills; and the influence of cultural, racial, gender, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity; and stimulates high-level thinking and problem solving.

DNHY 428. Health-Care Management. 3 Units.

Management theory, planning, organizing, directing, and controlling (including budgetary controls). Department productivity and theories of work simplification. Preparation of resumes, interviewing skills, professional attitudes, group theory, and group dynamics. Students spend the last two-to-three weeks doing special projects designed and supervised by their department.

DNHY 431. Public Health Dentistry. 3 Units.

Philosophy, principles, language, and objectives of public health and public health dentistry. Critical review of the literature.

DNHY 435. Special Topics in Periodontal Therapy. 2 Units.

Studies advanced periodontal topics and special problems related to periodontal therapy.

DNHY 436. Ethical and Legal Principles in Education. 2 Units.

Discusses theoretical and practical applications of the ethical and legal principles and issues encountered in an educational setting.

DNHY 437. Ethical and Legal Principles in Public Health for the Dental Hygienist. 2 Units.

Discusses theoretical and practical applications of the ethical and legal principles and issues encountered in public health settings.

DNHY 441. Principles of Education I. 3 Units.

Introduces methods of effective instruction and curriculum design for adult learners. Topics include learning and teaching styles, development of course goals, learning outcomes and objectives; teaching methods and strategies for face-to-face and online instructional presentations, public education, in-service, and continuing education; and cultivation of respect for diversity in learning.

DNHY 442. Principles of Education II. 3 Units.

Integrates knowledge and skills related to educational methodology with emphasis on experiential teaching; outcomes assessments, including test construction and implementation; curriculum vitae and resume writing; accreditation; leadership in higher education; and promotion and tenure. Students prepare and present lectures and develop an examination for a didactic course.
Prerequisite: DNHY 441.

DNHY 444. Teaching Practicum. 3 Units.

Develops the student teacher's skills in the preparation and presentation of didactic material relevant to the education of dental hygiene students. Provides practical experience in teaching methods through active participation in all aspects of the assigned didactic or laboratory.

DNHY 446. Principles of Clinical Instruction. 3 Units.

Provides students experience in developing criteria and methods for teaching strategies and evaluation mechanisms to be used in preclinical and clinical instruction. Emphasizes clinical evaluation procedures and the skills and strategies utilized to promote interpersonal and psychomotor skill development in students.

DNHY 449. Treating the Special-Needs Patient. 3 Units.

Develops the student-teacher¹s ability not only to identify patients with special care needs, but also to recognize and understand the appropriate care alternatives. Addresses the role of commonly prescribed medications used for treatment to determine if treatment modifications are appropriate.

DNHY 450. Junior Clinical Seminar. 1 Unit.

A two-quarter course that introduces topics and issues directly and indirectly related to the comprehensive practice of dental hygiene.

DNHY 451. Clinical Seminar I. 1 Unit.

Topics and issues related to clinical competency and development of critical-thinking skills through the use of patient-care examples and class discussion.

DNHY 452. Clinical Seminar II. 1 Unit.

Topics and issues related to clinical competency and preparation for the clinical board examination. Student development of advanced patient-care plans.

DNHY 453. Clinical Seminar III. 1 Unit.

Topics and issues related to clinical competency. Presentation of advanced patient-care plans.
Prerequisite or concurrent: DNHY 452.

DNHY 464. Evidence-based Decision Making. 2 Units.

Introduces students to use of the Web for instructional purposes. Students evaluate the usefulness of various on-line journals and databases, as well as conduct productive database literature searches. Critical analysis of scientific publications provides practice applying formal rules of evaluating and ranking scientific evidence.

DNHY 475. Dental Hygiene Clinic I. 4 Units.

Integrates all components of oral health care into the clinical treatment of patients.

DNHY 476. Dental Hygiene Clinic II. 4 Units.

Integrates all components of oral health care into the clinical treatment of patients.
Prerequisite or concurrent: DNHY 475.

DNHY 477. Dental Hygiene Clinic III. 4 Units.

Integrates all components of oral health care into the clinical treatment of patients. Prerequisite for concurrent*: DNHY 475, DNHY 476*.

DNHY 478. Advanced Clinical Concepts. 2 Units.

Reviews advanced skills in dental hygiene instrumentation needed as a clinical educator. Topics include alternative fulcrums and hand positions, uses of specialty instruments, and alternative techniques for instrumentation and clinician ergonomics.

DNHY 495. Dental Hygiene National Board Preparation. 1,2 Unit.

Lecture and case-based reviews of the entire dental hygiene curriculum, including, but not limited to: prerequisite basic sciences; preclinical, laboratory, and clinical sciences; and behavioral sciences. Reviews in preparation for the dental hygiene national board examination directly related to concurrent test-taking skill workshops based on standardized testing evidence for success.

DNHY 497. Advanced Shadowing Experience. 12 Units.

An elective course open to students seeking shadowing experience in dental hygiene. Credits do not count toward an academic degree.

DNHY 498. Dental Hygiene Directed Study. 1-10 Units.

Independent research on problems/topics related to dentistry, dental hygiene, and dental education; collaboration with researcher/faculty member. Written report required.
Prerequisite: DNHY 421, DNHY 422, DNHY 390.

DNHY 499. Research Writing. 2 Units.

Elective course for students wishing to write their research study for submission to professional journals for possible publication.