Health facilities at Teesside University
Check out Teesside University’s facilities for the School of Health and Life Sciences.
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.
As a dental hygienist you will be proactive in the prevention and maintenance of periodontal disease and improving ‘smiles’. The course blends equal theoretical and practical learning within the on campus phantom head skills lab and the Student Dental Facility.
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 therefore to work in this sector it is essential that you are able to demonstrate the core values embedded within the NHS Constitution.
Top reasons to study this course
> Dental hygiene is an internationally recognised profession offering global career opportunities.
> Shared modules with other healthcare students to promote multi-disciplinary working.
> Experienced, dedicated and enthusiastic teaching team have a strong focus on evidence-base practice.
> State-of-the-art simulation facilities and the Student Dental Facility support the development of your practical and professional skills.
Supporting information for applicants
Year 1 core modules
You examine the role of evidence-based practice and sources of evidence: primary and secondary research, guidelines, audits and evaluations to support clinical decision making. You develop skills in formulating focused questions, developing effective search strategies and literature retrieval.
You examine the underpinning theory and the practice of clinical skills, required in the scope of practice of the dental hygienist. You gain the required knowledge and skills for the safe treatment of patients including instrumentation, dental indices to monitor periodontal disease and to assist in the treatment of a patient. Oral hygiene instruction will be applied when you demonstrate the various methods of plaque control, including both chemical and mechanical means and incorporating appropriate modifications for patient needs. Initially you are introduced to the theoretical aspects of clinical skills, patient management and oral health promotion before undertaking practical clinical experience and assessment in the phantom head skills lab, which includes the treatment of periodontal disease.
Alongside the clinical experience oral health promotion will be a key component. You will be introduced to education, designing, and planning oral health promotion sessions to develop learning resources, including presentations, videos and supporting information for a variety of target audiences.
You explore dental, oral craniofacial anatomy in relation to patient management and their relevance to oral health and 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.
For dental anatomy you examine 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.
This multidisciplinary module introduces basic processes principles and concepts of human physiology required by a range of health professionals, including healing and repair processes.
You develop an understanding of your role in the delivery of contemporary health and social care within the context of interprofessional practice and behaviour, preparing you for the demands of practice and ensuring you are sufficiently informed and equipped to practice safely. The module will also introduce you to the concepts of continuous professional development and lifelong learning and the tools to demonstrate this through the use of the e-portfolio. This will prepare you to produce evidence of professional development to maintain your professional registration with the Health and Care Professionals Council or General Dental Council.
Year 2 core modules
You further develop your knowledge of research methods and critical appraisal. The module will build upon the knowledge of the different research methodologies gained at level 4 and allow you to apply that knowledge to design a project using primary or secondary research methods.
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.
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 decisions on patient treatment needs, as well as analysing, applying and interpreting knowledge of drugs administered and prescribed, 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.
You reflect on current and contemporary issues and explore the implications for personal and professional practice. Ethical and dento-legal responsibilities will also be explored to equip you for your future practice as a dental hygienist. You examine the role of the dental hygienist within the NHS, and the roles and responsibilities of the multidisciplinary team.
You consolidate and build on the knowledge, understanding and skills that you have gained in Year 1, and further develop dental hygiene skills including decision-making skills, providing appropriate advice, assessment, treatment, management, and care for service users. You focus on the wider scope of dental hygienist practice involving the application of fissure sealants, fluoride varnish and the delivery of local anaesthetic.
Year 3 core modules
You advance your theoretical knowledge to apply comprehensive and detailed consideration 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 examined and 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 develop a knowledge and understanding of healthcare policy, statutory and professional policy and explore the impact of these policies with respect to patient care, professional practice and service delivery. There is a strong emphasis on personal and professional development with an exploration of the theories and concepts underpinning continuous professional development, leadership, human dimension of change and quality improvement. You are required to provide evidence of your personal and professional development using an e-portfolio, to demonstrate critical reflection and action planning to ensure you are prepared for the demands and expectations of your role as a future-ready healthcare professional in both traditional and non- traditional settings.
You consolidate and further develop the knowledge and skills gained during previous modules to progress the project you designed at level 5.
Preparatory work will have been undertaken at level 5 and will include: the completion of the ethics application and all supplementary documentation. Data collection forms will have been designed and the topic approved. Supervisor allocation will be made available prior to the start of the module and those students undertaking primary research or evaluation projects should have already submitted their ethics application prior to the start of the module. Supervisors will provide up to eight hours of one-to-one support through email, Teams and other forms of communication agreed between you and your supervisor.
You consolidate the clinical skills of the dental hygienist introduced in Years 1 and 2 enabling the application of a comprehensive scope of clinical procedures of increasing complexity. Through the management of differing patient groups, you develop your periodontal and preventive clinical skills, and your autonomy to effectively plan and manage the care of their patients.
Modules offered may vary.
How you learn
The course comprises 50% theoretical study and 50% practical work.
You will learn by attending key lectures, seminar groups, small study groups, practical sessions and e-learning. You are also expected to carry out significant and additional self-directed study to enhance and complement your learning. Occasionally this will be directed study where the module leader will set an individual or group task or problem to solve. All your learning is delivered by expert lectures, practitioners and researchers. Multidisciplinary working is core and you will share modules and study with other healthcare students such as physiotherapists, radiographers and occupational therapists. The phantom head skills lab is the foundation of your clinical development to allow you to progress to treat patients in the Student Dental Facility where you will be closely supervised by GDC-registered clinical supervisors who will help you to develop your knowledge, skills and understanding for your practice as a dental hygienist.
How you are assessed
Assessment is varied and includes practical examinations, written examinations, essays, poster presentations, group presentations and clinical competencies. You will be assessed after each patient you see in the Student Dental Facility to demonstrate your ability to work safely and effectively within your scope of practice as a dental hygienist and the grades contribute to your end of year competencies.
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
- Level 3 in a relevant subject and applicants must demonstrate an understanding of the dental hygienist role.
- a minimum of two GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above including English language and maths. Key Skills/Functional Skills Level 2 in Communication and Application of Number can be accepted in place of English and maths GCSE.
Plus any of the following qualifications:
GCE and VCE Advanced Level
112 points from two or three A levels, or equivalent T levels.
These are only acceptable when combined with other qualifications. One AS level can be accepted when combined with two or three A levels to meet the 112 points required.
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.
A pass in a QAA-recognised Access course in a science or health subject equivalent to 112 UCAS points.
*We can accept Level 2 Access units in communication and maths in place of English and maths GCSEs.
BTEC QCF Extended Diploma
112 points (DMM), preferably in a science or health subject.
CACHE Level 3 Extended Diploma in Health & Social Care
120 points (B) in health and social care.
A pass in a relevant subject.
Irish Leaving Certificate
112 points from four or five Highers/Honours subjects including a science or social science.
Level 3 plus 40 credits at Level 4 - a health and social care subject is preferred.
117 points from five Highers including a science or social science subject.
Advanced Scottish Highers
112 points from three Advanced Highers including a science or social science subject.
EU applicants must meet International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at Level 7 with no element below 6.5. You must also:
- be aware you need to declare any convictions, cautions or allegations to the relevant professional body before you apply to register
- provide an enhanced DBS check
If you have no dental working experience, you're strongly encouraged to shadow a dental hygienist before you apply.
The selection process includes shortlisting of your application, following which, if successful you will be invited for an interview.
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.
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:
- evidence of achievement of the required academic qualifications.
- a successful work-based risk assessment which will reflect the appropriate HEOPS recommendations. Find out more about all of the HEOPS standards
- an enhanced criminal history (DBS) check may be required for certain modules or placements which involve working with children and/or adults at risk. The DBS check is funded by the School of Health & Life Sciences so you do not need to pay for this process.
- satisfactory references.
Please note until 1 to 4 have been successfully completed the offer of a place on the course remains conditional.
- 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 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
After developing periodontal instrumentation skills within the phantom head skills lab you progress to your professional placement in the Student Dental Facility to treat your own patients under close supervision. This is the core of your practice experience. You also undertake oral health promotion placements where you will develop and deliver sessions to improve oral health in a variety of community settings. In Year 2 you have a one-week radiography placement at Newcastle Dental Hospital.
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.
You may also consider postgraduate study in specialist subjects. Graduates have returned to Teesside University as lecturers, and as clinical supervisors to support students during their clinical development in the Student Dental Facility.
Information for international applicants
International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.
Select your country:
Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.