Undergraduate study
Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy

BSc (Hons) Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy

UCAS code: B750 BSc/DHDT

This course is now full for September 2018 entry.

This dual qualification is regarded as the emerging future of dental care, now incorporating Direct Access (see GDC website) with a holistic approach to treating and preventing the two most common dental diseases – periodontal disease and dental caries.

Course information


  • Length: 3 years

More full-time details


  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information


The dental hygienist and dental therapist provides all types of preventive and non-surgical periodontal treatment and a variety of restorative and caries preventive treatments to adults and children, working with precision instruments and using technique-specific materials. As a competent, accountable, problem-solving and evidence-based practitioner, you need excellent manual dexterity and communication skills to meet the high expectations and demands of the modern dental practice. You need to be able to effectively communicate with the public and other healthcare providers at all levels. As with all healthcare professionals the public place a high level of expectation and trust in their dental hygienist and therapist and therefore to work in this sector it is essential that you are able to demonstrate the core values embedded within the NHS Constitution:

  • working together for patients
  • respect and dignity
  • commitment to quality of care
  • compassion
  • improving lives
  • everyone counts.
  • This course provides unique modules which facilitate research skills throughout the three-year duration. It also includes the teaching of leadership and management to prepare you for your future career. The course is designed to ensure you meet the standards and skills necessary to enable you to register with the General Dental Council and hold the title of dental hygienist and dental therapist. Find out more:www.gdc-uk.org www.badt.org.uk or www.BSDHT.org.ukThroughout the course, as part of the placement experience, you will be required to participate in a shift pattern rota or work weekends.

    Professional accreditation

    On successful completion of the course, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the General Dental Council and to use the titles dental hygienist and dental therapist.

    Please note 100% attendance is expected during this programme.

Supporting information for applicants

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Three of the four modules studied in Year 1 are combined with the Cert HE Dental Nurse Practice course, promoting teamwork and consolidation of knowledge between the two disciplines. Focusing on clinical governance and general/regional anatomy and physiology, you are also introduced to the principles of evidence-based practice and research. A course-specific module introduces the principles and practice of periodontology and introduces restorative skills, focusing on developing essential knowledge and manual dexterity. This module begins in the state-of-the-art phantom head skills laboratory. It is here you prepare to become a safe and effective practitioner, progressing to treat patients with periodontal disease in the dental treatment clinic.

In Year 2, you study in your peer group, increasing your knowledge and skills in periodontology, enabling you to take on more complex treatment approaches to patients, utilising problem-solving and decision-making skills. Restorative skills continue in the phantom head laboratory, progressing on to treating patients with dental caries and preventing oral disease within the dental treatment clinic. The principles and techniques of dental radiography are also explored. You consolidate the links between theory and practice, which assists you in developing an understanding of qualitative and quantitative research, enabling you to develop a research question for your dissertation.

Year 3 places emphasis on developing clinical skills with a holistic approach to patient care and the law and ethics significant to this role and the General Dental Council. You undertake a dissertation relating to oral health improvement. A unique module prepares you for professional life and developing a plan for continuing professional development. You are also introduced to the principles of leadership and management enabling you to understand the issues surrounding the development of your career.

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Clinical Concepts of Dental Hygiene and Therapy

You explore the aspects of clinical dentistry including periodontology and preventative treatments. Oral health promotion is a key component of this module, requiring you to develop and design an oral health promotional topic and present during Smile Month.

You practice manual dexterity skills and apply these newly acquired clinical skills in the Phantom Heads Skills Laboratory prior to treating patients in the Dental Treatment Clinic and further developing your skills.

The development of learning skills continues throughout the course, as you are required to find and analyse information.

Foundations of Dental care

We introduce you to the importance of health, safety and security within the workplace, particularly the dental environment.

You develop knowledge about the implications of relevant legislation for your own role and the implementation of policies and systems within your working environment. The importance of record keeping, monitoring and the review of health and safety policies and procedures is also included.

You explore legal, ethical and professional aspects of dental care professional practice. High standards of cross- infection control within the workplace are emphasised.

Principles of Evidence-based Practice

You are provided with the foundation for lifelong learning, by focusing on how to learn, and beginning the development of critical thinking, reasoning and reflection. Key study skills are also incorporated into this module.

You explore the role of evidence-based practice in the policy context of health and social care. You develop knowledge and skills in formulating questions and literature searching in the evidence-based practice process.

Theoretical Concepts of Dentistry

We introduce you to all aspects of dentistry, from dental procedures to the instruments and bio-materials essential for patient care. Emphasis is placed on oral physiology and craniofacial, oral and dental anatomy, pathology and microbiology, also general anatomy, physiology and biochemistry relevant to dentistry.

We take into consideration the relationships between oral health and human diseases and disorders to enable the promotion of oral health in the context of the patient’s general health, as well as the main medical disorders which may impinge on dental treatment and patient management. You are introduced to pharmacological properties as used in the treatment of human diseases which have side effects that may affect the oral tissues.

The dental anatomy aspect of this module includes the structure and morphology of both the deciduous and permanent dentition, allowing you to recognise, identify and describe individual teeth, discuss their functions and list their eruption dates. It also provides you with the knowledge of local anaesthesia, general anaesthesia and sedation.


Year 2 core modules

Aetiology and Management of Oral Diseases

You examine the theory underpinning the clinical treatment and management of periodontal disease and further investigate those manifestations of common oral disease and disorders that may impinge on dental treatment.

You acquire detailed knowledge of the classifications, aetiology, pathogenesis and process of common oral diseases/oral surgery, allowing you to employ balanced and logical descions on patient treatment needs, as well as analysing, applying and interpreting knowledge of drugs administered and presecribed, identifying how their unwanted effects can affect the management of patients and the oral manifestations which may occur from them.

You explore, analyse and interpret communication skills and behavioural techniques, which help you to become a proficient practitioner.

Dental Radiology and Radiography

You gain the depth and breadth of theoretical and practical knowledge in the setting up, taking and processing of dental radiographs as well as exploring the physics, radiation protection, equipment, quality assurance and patient care and safety involved in the procedure.

You learn about the importance of health and safety, ethics and clinical audit which surrounds the subject.

The practical aspect takes place on the Dental Treatment Clinic and in the Dental Suites.

Development of Restorative Skills

You continue to develop the necessary skills to treat patients with dental caries. Beginning in the Phantom Head Skills Laboratory, you will progress to the Dental Treatment Clinic to treat suitable patients.

The Phantom Head Skills Laboratory is pivotal to the development of restorative skills and you will return to develop these skills throughout your clinical journey.

You are aware of the classifications, aetiology and clinical presentation of dental caries, which will enable you to understand the management of the disease and the choice of intervention and prevention as well as the epidemiology, histopathology, microbiology and pathogenesis of dental caries which underpins the clinical teaching.

Utilising Evidence for Practice

You gain the skills necessary to become an evidence based practitioner, expanding your knowledge, understanding and practical experience in a number of areas.

You develop skills in constructing focused questions relevant to practice and the practical skills necessary to plan and undertake a structured search to find appropriate research evidence as well as a sound theoretical knowledge of the research methods underpinning quantitative and qualitative research studies.

This enables you to critically analyse research evidence relevant to your practice and consider its application to practice.


Year 3 core modules

Clinical Theory for the Dental Hygienist and Therapist

We help you advance your theoretical knowledge by enabling you to apply a comprehensive and detailed knowledge to a broad scope of clinical problems of increasing complexity.

Comprehensive oral care is covered, including geriodontic and paediatric patients and those who have physical or learning disabilities, mental health problems or those who are medically compromised. You also explore the domiciliary care provision and variety of clinical settings.

The principles of restorative techniques are explored as well as knowledge of the disorders associated with dental exfoliation and eruption and oral diseases in childhood.

You are required to do your CPR training in this module, to comply with national protocols and guidelines.

You enter into this module alongside the module Dental Therapists Clinical Development, which will underpin your clinical work.

Dental Hygienist and Therapist Clinical Development

We help further develop your clinical skills, enabling you to apply a comprehensive and broad scope of clinical procedures of increasing complexity.

Development of restorative and preventive clinical skills takes place on the Dental Treatment Clinic and there is a focus on the management of the child patient as well as the adult.

You show a holistic approach to patient care at this stage in the course, whilst completing a range of procedures to demonstrate your development and competence.

A clinical tutor monitors your progression through this module and questioning whilst on the clinic will provide the evidence that you have linked the theory of the previous module to underpin the treatment provided in this module.

Developing Leadership and Management Skills for the Dental Hygienist and Therapist

This unique module prepares you for employment, exploring the legal and ethical issues relating to dentistry and implementing them into practice.

Your communication skills are practised whilst exploring the concepts of consent, duty of care, confidentiality, patient’s rights and complaint handling.

The module is informed by the General Dental Council (GDC) guidelines. The GDC requirements of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are examined and you become aware of the essential components required to maintain your future registration with them.

You are, upon qualification, able to own your own dental practice and employ staff. You explore the law and ethics of practice management and leadership, focusing on Clinical Governance, employment law and local Primary Care Trust (PCT) input.

Dissertation: Using Evidence to Improve Oral Health

You explore, in depth, an area specific to your practice in this module. It is designed to further develop your ability to critically appraise, integrate and apply evidence to the practice of dental therapy and oral health improvement.

You build on the knowledge gained from previous research modules and you can then consolidate and synthesise learning from previous clinical practice modules too.

Being a self-managed assignment, you are provided with a dissertation supervisor to collaborate and develop an appropriate literature search and critique strategy up on a focused aspect of your professional practice.


Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

The course comprises 50% theoretical study and 50% practical work.

The use of the phantom head skills laboratory is pivotal in the practical teaching. Your theoretical learning takes place in a variety of settings and contexts, using different methods to achieve the learning outcomes, including lectures, seminars, facilitated debates, research-informed teaching, peer and group work as well as problem-solving sessions. All subjects are supported by e-learning, including pre and post reading as well as quizzes.

You are provided with a personal tutor who monitors your clinical and theoretical development throughout the three year course.

The teaching of clinical treatments initially begins in the state-of-the-art phantom head skills laboratory - a simulated clinical environment. Once you become skilled at basic practical treatments, you will be allowed to progress on to the dental treatment clinic to begin practising your skills on patients. You develop your clinical skills in an incremental manner, returning to the phantom head skills laboratory when required.

How you are assessed

Practical assessments include task-specific examinations, essential competencies and case studies. Clinical lecturers observe your practical skills, supporting your emerging clinical development, meeting the required clinical standards you should achieve prior to assessments.

Theoretical assessments are varied, including essays, assignments, written examinations, presentations, vivas and a final-year dissertation.

Our Disability Services team helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs

Career opportunities

Employment prospects are excellent; once registered, you will be eligible to work in general dental practice, private practice, hospital departments, community dental services, specialist practices, defence medical services, dental access centres and research.

Entry requirements

A typical offer is 104-112 tariff points from three A levels (or equivalent) including 32 points from biology. You should also have GCSE passes at grade 4 (grade C) or above including English, maths and a science subject or Key Skills Level 2 in Communication and Application of Number (or equivalent). You can also apply with a nationally recognised dental nursing qualification and one additional post registration nursing qualification. For further detailed entry requirements for this course please visit www.ucas.com.

If you have no dental working experience, you're strongly encouraged to shadow a dental hygienist and therapist before you apply.

The selection process includes shortlisting of your application, following which, if successful you will be invited for an interview.

Shortlisting criteria
Your application will be measured against the following criteria:

  • your ability to complete all sections of the application form fully and correctly
  • the level of all qualifications and grades are specified
  • appropriate academic entry requirements achieved or predicted
  • evidence of successful, relevant academic study over the last three years
  • personal statement supportive of chosen programme and demonstrates an understanding of the uniqueness of the profession and the role of the professional
  • satisfactory references.

If you are invited to interview and the date is not suitable we may not be able to offer you an alternative date due to the high volume of applications received for this course - but it is important that you contact the admissions office immediately.

Interview criteria

At the interview you will be measured against the following criteria which is mapped against the NHS Constitution:

  • knowledge of chosen profession/career
  • an appreciation of the demands of the programme and chosen profession
  • enthusiasm for the programme/profession
  • ability to communicate effectively verbally and non verbally
  • potential to become a professional.

If you are successful in both shortlisting and interview you will receive an offer which is subject to the following:

  1. evidence of achievement of the required academic qualifications.
  2. a successful work based risk assessment which will reflect the HEOPS recommendations - please read these here. For more information on all of the HEOPS standards click here
  3. a satisfactory DBS disclosure - please note that any warnings, cautions, allegations or convictions received in the last five years may have implications for your continued offer on the course
  4. satisfactory references.

Please note until 1 to 4 have been successfully completed the offer of a place on the course remains conditional.

International applicants

  • International applicants must have IELTS 7.0 with a minimal score of 6.5 in all sections before an unconditional offer is made
  • If you are successful at shortlisting you will be invited to attend an interview (which may be in person OR Skype) in one of our international offices in either India, Malaysia or China, or you can choose to attend an interview at Teesside University (at your own cost).
  • If you can not attend an interview as stated, you will be unable to proceed with your application.

For international enquiries please email internationalenquiries@tees.ac.uk

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL

What is Unistats?

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Course information


  • Length: 3 years

More full-time details


  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information