Sierra EngesserDental hygiene is a great program that allows us to show people how much of an effect their oral health has on their overall health. It's great to know that we are helping people help themselves.

One of the most exciting moments for me is the day I opened my award letter and read the word ACCEPTED! The program is challenging. However, it is so far the most rewarding decision of my life.

Dental hygiene is like a big family. There are 31 other students who you see on a daily basis and everyone does a great job of helping each other out from helping someone else catch up on notes to forming study groups for finals.

Throughout the semesters the schedule can get to be stressful but the instructors are always there to help in any way they can whether it's trying to help with something like instrument placement or just being there for you if you need a couple minutes to prioritize life.

Sierra Engesser, Class of 2010

Tucker GrossThe most gratifying part of my career is being a positive male role model to kids.

Since graduating from the University of South Dakota Dental Hygiene program in 2008, I am employed with Delta Dental working on the Dakota Smiles mobile truck. We operate two mobile dental offices that travel around the state of South Dakota providing dental care to underserved individuals. The majority of our patients are kids; however, we do see adults at specific sites. We travel the state around 42 weeks a year.

I am often asked what made me want to be a dental hygienist and how you go about becoming one. I chose a career in dental hygiene for the one on one interaction with patients and the independence of having my own schedule. Being the primary provider of oral health education to my patients is very exciting. When you see a patient again with great oral hygiene improvements, a better understanding of oral health, and increased self esteem, it is very rewarding.

It is very gratifying discovering oral manifestations, informing the patient of their condition and referring them for further treatment. For kids interested in the profession, I tell them to take science and chemistry in high school. Strong social skills are a plus. For any males interested in the health care field, dental hygiene can be a lucrative career. As a male hygienist I am able to stand out in the profession. With all the new advances in the practice of dental hygiene, more avenues will be opening up making it an exciting time to enter dental hygiene as a career.

The University of South Dakota Dental Hygiene program prepared me for state and national boards, as well as my entire journey into the dental field. Their intense outline has earned them an impeccable reputation that is widely recognized. Being a recent graduate in "2008" I felt extremely comfortable and well prepared working with patients on my own.

Tucker Gross, Class of 2008
Delta Dental