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Undergraduate study
Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy

Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy
BSc (Hons)


  • Note: this course is closed for applications for September 2021 intake. September 2022 full-time applications through UCAS will be open from mid-May 2021.

Course overview

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.

From September 2020 all new and continuing students on this course will receive a £5,000 maintenance grant each year if they’re eligible. They will not need to pay it back.
Full details here

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 or the course, as part of the placement experience, you may be required to participate in a shift pattern rota or work weekends.Student VoiceThe School is committed to the development of quality courses and to the enhancement of the student experience. To that end the Student Voice is central to the design and delivery of the learning experience. We invite you to provide feedback at key points in your student journey and ensure that we respond to your feedback through our 'you said, we did' approach.

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 course.


Supporting information for applicants

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Course details

Four of the five 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.

Foundations of General Anatomy and Human Disease Applicable to Dental Care

Explore the foundations of general anatomy, physiology and human disease to consider its relevance to dental care.

Explore tissues and organ systems along with diseases and will consider the context of dental treatment and patient management. Consider how medical conditions or their treatment may cause oral manifestations as a secondary factor. You are introduced to pharmacological properties used in the treatment of medical conditions which have side effects impacting on the body systems and oral tissues.

Introduction to Dental Anatomy and Oral Disease

You explore dental, oral craniofacial anatomy in relation to patient management and their relevance to oral health. Explore oral disease along with its prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. You acquire an understanding of how these oral manifestations appear within the oral cavity, their aetiology along with preventative strategies and treatment.

The dental anatomy aspect of this module will include 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. You are introduced to dental radiology and are enabled to identify the radiological features of oral conditions on various dental radiographs.

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.


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 provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

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


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

You are expected to have:

  • a minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above including English language, maths and science. Key Skills/Functional Skills Level 2 in Communication and Application of Number can be accepted in place of English and Maths GCSE. Please note these are not required if you are doing an Access course – however, you must have English and maths as listed below.*

Plus any of the following qualifications:

GCE and VCE Advanced Level
104 points from three A Levels including 32 points from biology (applied sciences accepted). If you study the Advanced Double Award (ADA), you need 104 points including a minimum of 64 points from the ADA which must include an element of biology. AS levels are not acceptable.

Access course
A pass in a QAA-recognised Access course with 27 Level 3 credits at merit including merits in a biology unit with a minimum of 104 points. *We can accept Level 2 Access units in communication and maths in place of English and maths GCSEs.

BTEC QCF Extended Diploma
104-112 points (DMM) in a science, health or dental subject.

CACHE Level 3 Extended Diploma in Health & Social Care
120 points (B) in health and social care.

Foundation degree
A pass in a science, health or dental subject.

Irish Leaving Certificate
104 points from four or five Highers/Honours subjects including 18 points (C1) from Higher/Honours biology.

Nationally recognised dental qualification
You can apply with a nationally recognised dental nursing qualification and one additional post-registration nursing qualification.

Level 3 in dental nursing plus any of the following - dental radiology (Level 4), sedation (Level 4), oral health promotion (Level 4), special care dental nursing (Level 3), K101 (understanding health and social care), SK277 (biology). NVQ 4 in Leadership and Management is acceptable on its own.

The National Examination Board for Dental Nurses (NEBDN) supports Level 4 post-registration dental nurse qualification. The British Dental Association (BDA) supports Level 4 post-registration dental nurse qualifications.

Scottish Highers
104-112 points from four of five Highers including 27 points from biology.

Advanced Scottish Highers
104-112 points from three Advanced Highers including 40 points for biology.

For further detailed entry requirements for this course please visit

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
  • personal statement supportive of chosen course 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 course and chosen profession
  • enthusiasm for the course/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 appropriate HEOPS recommendations. Find out more about all of the HEOPS standards
  3. an enhanced criminal history (DBS) check may be required for certain modules or placements which involve working with children and/or adults at risk. Where an enhanced DBS check is required, applicants will cover the cost of these checks which can only be processed through the University.
  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 or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 100/120 (in conjunction with a Teesside University English language test)* 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 video call) in one of our international offices in either India, Malaysia or China, or through a secure web link (which will be arranged by the University).
  • If you can not attend an interview as stated, you will be unable to proceed with your application.

*Students holding TOEFL qualifications at the required grade will be able to combine the qualification with a Teesside University English language test to meet the English language requirement. The English language test will assess listening and speaking competency.

For international enquiries please email

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

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



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.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

Talk to us

Talk to an international student enrolment adviser



Entry to 2021/22 academic year

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£13,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years
  • UCAS code: B750 BSc/DHDT
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 104-112 tariff points and interview

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



  • Not available part-time

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