Preparing the future dental hygiene workforce: Knowledge, skills, and reform

Jacquelyn L. Fried, Hannah L. Maxey, Kathryn Battani, Joann R. Gurenlian, Tammi O. Byrd, Ann Brunick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


With the health care delivery system in transition, the way in which oral health care services are delivered in 2040 will inevitably change. To achieve the aims of reduced cost, improved access, and higher quality and to advance population wellness, oral health care will likely become a more integrated part of medical care. An integrated primary care system would better meet the needs of an increasingly diverse and aging U.S. population with uneven access to health care services. By 2040, trends suggest that a smaller proportion of dental hygienists will work in traditional solo dental offices; many more will practice with multidisciplinary health care teams in large-group dental and medical practices and in a variety of non-Traditional community settings. This integration will require changes in how dental hygienists are educated. To shape the skill sets, clinical judgment, and knowledge of future practitioners, current dental hygiene curricula must be reexamined, redirected, and enhanced. This article examines some of the factors that are likely to shape the future of dental hygiene practice, considers the strengths and weaknesses of current curricula, and proposes educational changes to prepare dental hygienists for practice in 2040. This article was written as part of the project "Advancing Dental Education in the 21st Century.".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)eS45-eS52
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Dental hygiene
  • Dental hygiene education
  • Dental hygienists
  • Health care delivery
  • Interprofessional practice
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Preparing the future dental hygiene workforce: Knowledge, skills, and reform'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Fried, J. L., Maxey, H. L., Battani, K., Gurenlian, J. R., Byrd, T. O., & Brunick, A. (2017). Preparing the future dental hygiene workforce: Knowledge, skills, and reform. Journal of dental education, 81(9), eS45-eS52.