Honors Program

Midway Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Deborah Dotson

Thesis Professor Department

<--College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences-->

Thesis Reader(s)

Tabitha Fair



Background: Dental hygienists can be utilized to provide care to adolescents and young adults in a school-based setting. These dental health care professionals work to improve upon public oral health through educational practices, preventative methods, and referrals. The purpose of this study was to explore the knowledge and perceptions of elementary and middle school staff with regard to the utilization of a dental hygienist in a school setting. Methods: The international review board at approved the following study. A total of eight faculty and staff members from Unicoi County Elementary School and Unicoi County Middle School completed a 14-question survey. Participants included each school’s principal, nurse, physical education/wellness teacher and science teacher or K-6. All surveys were distributed by hand to each school. Results: All eight participants saw a need for their students and would be in support of having a hygienist assigned to their school. Questions in the survey revealed that the facility believed a hygienist would be beneficial, but a full-time nurse was the major care provider in their institution. The schools that had interactions with a dental hygienist could not give the correct answer for how frequently they were coming, what services they were providing, and who was sending the dental hygienists. Discussion: The Northeast Regional Health Office supply dental hygienist for student dental health centered care and application of preventative services. However, there are only three hygienists working with the Northeast Regional Health Office to provide care for seven counties in this region.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

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