Degree Name

MSAH (Master of Science in Allied Health)


Allied Health

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Deborah Dotson

Committee Members

Randy Byington, Landon Shields


Oral health is strongly correlated to systemic health in the United States. Dental professionals play a significant role in addressing the oral health and prevention of disease for populations in the United States. Because many areas in the United States lack access to dental care, the federal government considers dental hygienists part of the solution. It is now paying attention to restrictive dental hygiene scope of practice rules in each state. State dental boards, comprised mainly of dentists, make these rules based on their perception of dental hygienists' lack of education. This study explored fourth-year dental students' perceptions of the dental hygienist's education and scope of practice. This research found that while dental students felt that the dental hygienist would be a positive addition to their future practices, they did not wholly understand the rigors of dental hygiene education. In addition, dental schools may need to educate on the differences between direct and general supervision.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.