Dental Studies

Dental Hygiene or Dental Assisting?

If you're looking to start a career in the dental health field, TJC offers two tracks you can follow: Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting. Hygienists are dental health specialists whose primary concern is nonsurgical periodontal therapy, maintenance of oral health and prevention of oral disease.  We offer both an Associate of Applied Science, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene

Dental assistants perform a variety of patient care, office, and laboratory duties while working chairside as the dentist provides dental services. They make patients as comfortable as possible in the dental chair, prepare them for treatment, and maintain their dental records.

Dental Hygiene

Education: 2-year AAS, followed by a 1 or 2-year BS degree completion program

Job Duties: Each state has its own specific regulations and the range of services performed by dental hygienists vary from one state to another. As part of the dental hygiene services in Texas, dental hygienists may:

  • Perform oral health care assessments that include reviewing the patient’s health history, dental charting, oral cancer screening, and taking and recording vital signs
  • Expose, process, and interpret dental X-rays
  • Remove plaque and calculus (tartar), soft and hard deposits from above and below the gum line
  • Apply therapeutic agents such as fluorides and sealants to the teeth
  • Patient education in proper brushing and interdental cleaning
  • Counsel patients about plaque control and developing individualized at-home oral hygiene programs
  • Counsel patients on the importance of good nutrition for maintaining optimal oral health

Median Annual Salary: $72,330

Dental Assisting

Education: One-year certificate

Job Duties: Dental Assistants provide patient care, take X-rays, prepare and sterilize equipment, handle administrative duties, and perform laboratory functions.

Median Annual Salary: $35,980

Dental Clinic

The Robert M. Rogers Nursing & Health Sciences Center is home to the dental clinic, a brand-new facility where Dental Studies majors learn and practice. The clinic is open to members of the community to come in for dental cleanings, oral examinations, X-rays, and pit and fissure sealants. These services are provided by dental hygiene students under the supervision of a general dentist and registered dental hygienists.