• Dental

    Train to become a valuable member of a dental team with M State’s programs in Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting.


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M State's Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting programs both have selective admission and are offered on our Moorhead campus.

M State's Community Dental Clinic, located on the Moorhead campus, provides dental care for nearly 800 patients a year while offering invaluable clinic experiences for students in M State's dental programs.

The Minnesota Board of Dentistry requires state and federal criminal background checks prior to licensure for both dental assistants and hygienists.

Dental Assisting
AAS degree, 63 credits
Diploma, 48 credits

Both of M State's Dental Assisting programs educate students to assist with general clinical assisting and support functions, intra-oral clinical procedures, business office procedures and laboratory tasks.

The curriculum includes general studies courses; biomedical and dental science courses; clinical practice; and intra-oral clinical functions. Some courses are common to both the Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene majors.

Graduates are eligible to write the Dental Assisting National Board Certification exam and the Minnesota State Board of Dentistry Registration Exam. Our program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.

How to File a Complaint to the Commission on Dental Accreditation


Dental Hygiene
AAS degree, 88 credits

M State's Dental Hygiene program provides students with the education required to perform dental services that detect, prevent and treat diseases of the mouth. As a graduate, you'll have the skills to provide current and comprehensive dental hygiene services.

The Dental Hygiene curriculum includes biomedical and dental science courses that are common to both Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene majors.

Our program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.

How to File a Complaint to the Commission on Dental Accreditation



Here’s what you’ll learn

In addition to specialized education in each program area, you will learn:

  • Effective communication with patients and dental health team providers
  • Professional dental conduct and ethical behavior
  • Current technology relevant to the dental profession
  • Standards for infection control and occupational safety


Why M State

  • M State is an exceptional educational value
  • Small class sizes mean students receive a personalized education
  • Both programs are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association
  • Graduates have exceptional pass rates on national certification exams
  • Community Dental Clinic offers invaluable professional training in an on-campus location
  • High placement rates for graduates of the Dental programs

Program Video


Dental Hygiene students excel on national boards

April 17, 2017

All 20 second-year Dental Hygiene students passed the written National Board Dental Hygiene Exam on their first attempt during spring 2017, according to Dental Program Director Kris Pladson.

Dental hygiene students must pass the exam in order to obtain dental hygiene licensure in any of the 50 states.

Pladson said the national pass rate is approximately 94 percent on the first attempt, but M State's first-time pass rate has been 100 percent during the past 10 years.

The Dental Hygiene program is offered on M State's Moorhead campus.


M State Dental Hygiene students participating in innovative dual admissions program

Dec. 30, 2016

Students in M State's Dental Hygiene AAS degree program are among the first in the state to pioneer a new opportunity in continuing dental education for allied dental health careers.

Seven first-year Dental Hygiene students are dually admitted and enrolled in M State's AAS program and Metropolitan State University's (St. Paul) Bachelor of Science in Dental Health program. The students have the opportunity to simultaneously receive an associate and bachelor's degree on M State's campus.

The opportunity was inspired by Colleen Brickle, a long-time Minnesota dental hygiene educator and promoter of dental care for the underserved in Minnesota. She developed and marketed the dual admission and enrollment concept, providing a career ladder for dental hygiene students.

M State Dental Hygiene educators are eager to encourage entry-level dental hygiene students to continue their dental education, creating new employment opportunities as oral health care professionals. Many of these jobs may be in nontraditional work settings such as education, sales, school-based programs, health care-related project management, marketing, research or local, state or federal health programs. This BS degree also provides the prerequisite for the Advanced Dental Therapist program.

The current dually admitted and enrolled students are managing the extra one or two courses per semester with ease and earning high grades in both programs. This career pathway allows for a shorter graduation time for earning a higher degree, classes enhance one another and all BS courses are online, so there is no extra travel required. The gift of collaboration among the faculty and students of both programs is an added benefit.


Programs & Majors » Dental Back to program list »

Degrees Offered Click on a degree below to view details

Dental Hygiene Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
Locations: Moorhead

Dental Assisting Diploma
Locations: Moorhead

Dental Assisting Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
Locations: Moorhead

Click a degree on the left to get started


Meet the faculty

Sarah Desjarlais

Dental Hygiene Faculty
Contact Sarah

Deb Frider

Instructor - Dental Hygiene
Contact Deb

LeRoy Hagen

Dental Instructor
Contact LeRoy

Nancy Hanson

Dental Instructor
Contact Nancy

Robin Peltier

Dental Instructor
Contact Robin

Kris Pladson

Dental Program Director
Contact Kris

Michelle Samuelson

Dental Faculty
Contact Michelle

Crystal Shumake

Instructor - Dental Assisting
Contact Crystal

Sydney Stoa

Dental Faculty
Contact Sydney


Background check required

State law requires that students having direct contact with individuals in licensed institutions complete an annual background study with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Students who do not pass the background check will not be allowed to participate in clinical activities and thus are not eligible for graduation. Students in some programs also are required to complete a national and/or federal criminal background study.

Students may also be required to complete a national background and/or federal background check as directed by clinical facilities. Students will be provided with instructions prior to clinical. The cost of the national background check is $65 is incurred by the student at the time the background study is submitted.


M State's Dental Assisting program awarded national accreditation

M State Dental Assisting imageThe Dental Assisting program at Minnesota State Community and Technical College has been awarded renewed accreditation by the national Commission on Dental Accreditation.

M State’s program, offered on the college’s Moorhead campus, received full accreditation with no reporting requirements until 2022, a classification indicating that an educational program achieves or exceeds the requirements for accreditation.

CODA is the sole agency that reviews dental and dental-related programs for accreditation, which is an assurance of a quality program.

M State offers both an Associate of Science degree and diploma in Dental Assisting. In addition to academic coursework, students in the program receive invaluable clinic experience through the on-campus Community Dental Clinic, which provides dental care to nearly 800 patients a year.

Last modified: June 27th, 2017 at 01:58pm