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Dental Hygienist


Under the supervision of a dentist, dental hygienists provide treatment to prevent cavities and gum diseases.

Dentists and dental hygienists must be licensed by the Board of Regents to practice in New York State. As part of a dental delivery team, only dental hygienists and dentists may perform the following services:

  • apply topical medications and cavity-preventing agents, like sealants, fluorides and topical anesthetic agents to your teeth
  • place and remove periodontal dressings, temporary restorations
  • counsel you on the importance of good nutrition for oral health
  • perform such monitoring procedures as reviewing your health history, taking your blood pressure, and maintaining your dental chart
  • remove tartar (calculus) and plaque from your teeth below and above the gum line
  • polish teeth, including existing restorations
  • teach proper hygiene techniques for your teeth and gums and develop individual at-home oral hygiene programs
  • all services that may be performed by dental assistants

Licensing Requirements

Any use of the title "Dental Hygienist" within New York State requires licensure.

To be licensed as a dental hygienist in New York State you must:

  • be of good moral character;
  • be at least 17 years of age for dental hygiene licensure by examination; be at least 21 years of age for licensure by endorsement of another state's license;
  • meet education and examination requirements; and
  • have satisfactorily practiced for at least two years for licensure by endorsement.

The specific requirements for licensure are contained in Title 8, Article 133, Section 6600 of New York's Education Law and Part 61 of the Commissioner's Regulations.

Education Requirements

To meet the education requirements for licensure, you must have:

  • earned a high school diploma, or the equivalent, and
  • completed a New York State registered licensure qualifying or American Dental Association accredited dental hygiene program.

In addition to the professional education requirement, every applicant for licensure as a dental hygienist or a limited permit must complete coursework or training in the identification and reporting of child abuse in accordance with Section 6507(3)(a) of the Education Law.

Every dental hygienist must also complete approved coursework or training appropriate to the professional's practice in infection control and barrier precautions, including engineering and work practice controls, to prevent the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the hepatitis b virus (HBV) in the course of professional practice.

Examination Requirements

For licensure, you must obtain a passing score on both the written and clinical examinations. You may be admitted to the examinations during your last year of study.

Written Examinations

The Department must receive verification of a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination directly from that organization.

For application to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination or to transmit scores to the New York State Education Department, contact:

Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Phone: 312-440-2678

Clinical (Practical) Examination

The Department must receive verification of passing scores from The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA) clinical dental hygiene examination directly from that organization. The Department will verify the American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX) scores from 1994 to present.

If you failed any component of the Clinical Examination prior to March 9, 2016, when the regulations changed (§61.7(e)) more than once, you will be required to complete additional education requirements at a dental hygiene school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation before re-admission to the Clinical Exam. Specifically:

  • After two failures in the dental hygiene comprehensive component of the clinical exam, you must complete 20 clock hours of instruction in each subject failed.
  • After two failures in the clinical component of the clinical exam, you must complete 40 clock hours of instruction.

For application to take the ADEX clinical dental hygiene examination or to transmit scores to the New York State Education Department, contact:

The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments
1304 Concourse Drive, Suite 100
Linthicum, MD 21090
Phone: 301-563-3300
FAX: 301-563-3307

Scores are NOT available by telephone from the Office of the Professions or the testing agencies.

Fees (as of November 2, 2016)

The licensure and first registration fee is $128.

Licenses Issued and Active

In 2014,there were 624 licenses issued for this occupation.
In 2015,there were 616 licenses issued for this occupation.

As of July 1, 2016, there were 11,459 active licenses for this profession.

Licensing Authority

New York State Education Department
Office of the Professions
Division of Professional Licensing Services
Dentistry Unit
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12234-1000
Phone: (518) 474-3817 Ext. 270
Fax: (518) 402-5354

Standard Occupational Classification

29-2021 - Dental Hygienists
To learn more about this occupation search the Occupational Information Network (O*Net).

Additional Information

American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Phone: (312) 440-2500

The American Dental Hygienists' Association
444 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 3400
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Phone: (312) 440-8900


Fees stated and other information contained in this report are subject to change. Please contact the licensing authority listed above for the most current information.

This page was last updated on 11/15/16.

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