Dental Hygiene

Diploma (NFQ Level 7)
2 Years Full-Time
8 Places
CAO Points 566 (2023)
CAO Code TR802


What is a Dental Hygienist?

The dental hygienist works closely with other dental team members and healthcare professionals. Patients must first be examined by a dentist who will then indicate the treatment to be carried out by the dental hygienist. The dental hygienist focuses on preventative oral care for both children and adults, including those with special needs. Dental hygienists treat patients in the clinical setting to prevent or control periodontal (gum) disease and dental decay. They also engage in oral health promotional activities with individuals, targeted groups and other healthcare teams, providing advice and counselling in relation to diet and lifestyle habits such as smoking.

Dental Hygiene: The course for you?

If you have an interest in working in oral health, and particularly preventative oral health, then this course is right for you. You will need to be able to develop good patient care skills, so an empathetic personality and good communication skills are important. You need to be a good team player and show initiative to achieve the best for people in your care.

Graduate skills and career opportunities

The Diploma in Dental Hygiene conferred by Trinity entitles graduates to register immediately after graduation as a dental hygienist on the Register of the Irish Dental Council. This registration is mandatory for working as a dental hygienist in Ireland.

Most dental hygienists will work in general dental practices or within the public health service. The opportunity exists to teach or become involved in research. The opportunity to work abroad also exists but may require you to sit some local examinations in the country of choice. Further courses of study are available to dental hygienists, including the Diploma in Orthodontic Therapy.

After qualifying as a dental hygienist, you will be able to:

  • Describe the role of the dental hygienist and function within a dental team in oral health promotion and the provision of primary health care.
  • Plan, implement and evaluate oral educational activities for groups and individuals.
  • Carry out procedures to measure and assess the levels of oral health and oral hygiene.
  • De-bride and polish the teeth.
  • Place fissure sealants.
  • Apply fluoride-containing preparations and desensitising agents to the teeth.
  • Recognise abnormalities in the mouth and inform the dentist.
  • Take dental radiographs.
  • Administer local anaesthetic for dental hygiene procedures.
  • Place temporary dressings and re-cement crowns temporarily.

Your diploma and what you’ll study

This two-year course is based in the Dublin Dental University Hospital at Trinity. It has academic, project-based and clinical components which are carried out in the Dublin Dental University Hospital, Health Services Executive and general hospital settings. Emphasis is on small-group interactive learning, health promotion projects, evidence-based learning, and clinical practice. You will be integrated with undergraduate dental science students and dental nursing students for some elements of the programme.

First year modules covered include:

  • Introduction to Applied Clinical Science.
  • Introduction to Clinical Practice.
  • Clinical Practice and Health Promotion.

Second year modules covered include:

  • Health Promotion.
  • Evidence Based Practice.
  • Clinical Practice.

Click here for further information on modules/subjects.

Assessment is by a combination of written assessments and examinations, objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), a community-based health education project, competence tests in various clinical procedures, completion of various logbooks, clinical credits demonstrating a reasonable level of patient care, and a final written and clinical examination.

Study in the School of Dental Science at Trinity

Overview of the undergraduate programmes in the School of Dental Science at Trinity College Dublin, delivered by Derek Sullivan.

Course Details


Diploma (NFQ Level 7)

CAO Information

CAO Points 566 (2023) CAO Code TR802

Number of Places

8 Places
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Admission Requirements

Leaving Certificate:

Applicants are required to present six subjects including: English, Mathematics, and one of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Agricultural Science or Physics/Chemistry.

Of the six subjects presented, two must be of a standard of at least Grade 4 on Higher Leaving Certificate papers. The remaining four subjects must be presented to a standard of at least Grade 6 on Ordinary Leaving Certificate papers.

EU Mature Students:

Applications may also be considered from mature applicants who do not satisfy the academic entry requirements but can demonstrate appropriate experience relevant to the course.

All offers of admission to this course are made subject to infectious disease testing. To learn more, see Trinity's health screening requirements at:

Students will be required to undergo Garda Vetting, for more details see:

Course Fees

Click here for a full list of undergraduate fees.


To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

EU Applicants

Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO.

    Non-EU Applicants

    Advanced Entry Applications

    Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the link below to apply.

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