Skip to content Skip to navigation

Dental Hygiene


"Diverse community... advanced curriculum...unique environment...good opportunities for research...great clinics, great faculty, great fellow students...."

These are just a few of the representative comments from current U-M Dental Hygiene students. It is not surprising that U-M's Dental Hygiene Program receives such high praise: our program is the second-oldest in the nation, and played a significant role in shaping the profession as we know it today.

What our bachelor’s graduates are saying

My Michigan degree…

“... opened many doors. When I graduated in 2012 with my BS in Dental Hygiene, I knew I wanted to something outside of the clinical setting. I had my eye set on Dental Sales and CE lecturing. After a few years working in Clinical research and private practices I made the transition to a dental sales representative position. I now travel around SE Michigan and parts of Ohio discussing with teams whitening, endodontics, restorative, and hygiene products. I feel that it is a very rewarding career with many growth opportunities.
Interpersonal skills, networking, and working around rejections is a big part of my job. I feel that many teams and doctors respond much more positively to me due to my background in hygiene. Being able to use the correct dental terminology, and knowing the basics to procedures have helped me become very successful in my new role. Having a degree from U of M in Dental hygiene on my resume definitely helped when entering this new career field. I still occasionally temp and help in a private office. However, I put in about 50+ hours a week being a sales rep- but I don’t mind because I really love my job!
Being a hygienist gives me the ability to test a lot of our products myself when I occasionally work in private practices. I can see how our products stand out from competitors and it helps me sell. I think this gives me a leg up when I can say I’ve used this and it works great! I think being passionate about dental hygiene and giving patients the best care has been my driving factor. I am just doing it in a different setting - by providing other RDH and DDS the education on the products and procedures.”

Katie Larmee (Selby), BSDH (2012)

“An experience during my childhood initiated my ambition of pursuing dentistry as a career. I had a severe case of tooth decay and luckily my uncle, who is a dentist, was able to do the extractions and restorative work for me. I realized that many children’s teeth are neglected and a lack of knowledge about preventive care can result in tooth decay, periodontal disease and many other dental related problems. Through this experience, I have found that dental hygiene was the right calling for me.
Although there are a couple schools that offer dental hygiene programs close to my home in San Jose, California, I decided to attend the University of Michigan School of Dentistry (UMSOD) because it offered the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene and had such a long history of outstanding reputation. By getting a degree from the UMSOD, I was able to provide local anesthesia and nitrous oxide while many other dental hygienists with associate degree could not. During the hygiene program at the UMSOD, I had the opportunity to rotate in specialty clinics, outreach, volunteering events, community service. I also took on two science research projects and got to participate in inter-professional education with dental, medical, pharmacy, nursing, and social work students. All these experiences were rewarding and helped me become a competent dental hygienist. When I look back to my decision of leaving home to pursue an education in dental hygiene, I believe I made the right decision. With my passion in dentistry, I have continued to pursue the degree in Doctor of Dental Surgery at the UMSOD immediately after the dental hygiene program. I will soon work as a part-time dental hygienist while in my third year of dental school.”

Peter Liang, BSDH (2016)

“I had already completed degrees in the past, but I needed a change and my husband wanted to move back to Michigan where he grew up. I decided to pursue dental hygiene because I have always been interested in dentistry and helping others improve their health, and there's no better place to do so than at the best dental school in the world! My UM dental hygiene degree introduced me to a wide and diverse network of colleagues and experiences, with all of the different departments and possible career tracks. Even though it was challenging, I never imagined that it would help me gain a position as a clinical research coordinator at the university before I even graduated. I am proud to remain a part of our amazing team and can only hope I can offer the same level of mentorship to others in the future.”

Alice Ou, BSDH (2018)

What our Degree Completion graduates are saying

“Having the opportunity to get an undergraduate degree through Michigan's Dental Hygiene Degree Completion Program was the springboard that started a personal and professional growth process. I gained self-confidence and leadership skills, met challenging deadlines, and achieved goals. As a result, I pursued an online Master’s Degree in Health Informatics, and I now have a new career in this field. ”

-Jodie Condon, RDH, BSDH (2010), MS

What our Master’s graduates are saying

“The master’s program in dental hygiene was the gateway to a lifelong career in dental and dental hygiene academics for me. The program prepared me for the many aspects of education including how to function in an academic setting. Most importantly, my Michigan professors made it clear that excellence, honor, and integrity were expected. I carried this with me as I began my career first in California and now in Oregon. It wasn’t overt content, but it was very much present and it was role-modeled for me on a daily basis. Today we call it professionalism.”

-Phyllis Beemsterboer, MSDH (1973)