Dental Hygiene Schools and Education Programs in Montana

With an average annual salary at $67,910, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that dental hygienists in Montana earn some of the highest incomes in the field when compared to their counterparts nationwide.

The Montana Board of Dentistry is the state agency responsible for establishing and maintaining all rules, regulations, and licensure standards related to the field of dentistry in the state.


To become a licensed dental hygienist in Montana, follow these steps:

Earn a Dental Hygiene Degree Form a CODA-accredited School
Take Examinations
Submit Application to the Montana Board
Complete Continuing Education



Step 1. Earn a Dental Hygiene Degree Form a CODA-accredited School

The American Dental Association (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) is the only agency authorized to accredit schools offering programs related to the field of dentistry.

The CODA-accredited dental hygiene school in Montana offers an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene, which will prepare you to take and pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination.

Accredited programs are designed to prepare you to perform the following duties:

  • Assess patients’ oral healthcare needs
  • Investigate and analyze health history
  • Organize dental charting, oral cancer screening, evaluation of gum disease
  • Expose, process, and interpret radiographs
  • Administer local anesthetic and/or nitrous oxide
  • Educate patients and community concerning oral health
  • Remove plaque and calculus
  • Apply cavity-preventive agents to teeth
  • Counsel patients on the importance of good nutrition



Step 2. Take Examinations

When applying for licensure, you will need to submit scores from the national and clinical exams. After your licensure application has been processed, you will take the Montana State Law Jurisprudence exam.

National Examination

You may not apply for licensure until you have taken and passed the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE), which is given by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations.

Apply for the NBDHE exam by completing the following steps:

  • Read the NBDHE Guide
  • Register for DENTPIN number
  • Apply for the exam
  • Schedule a Time, Date, and Location

After your application has been processed, you will receive through mail or email instructions to schedule the exam. Pearson VUE is a testing center for the exam, and exam sites in or near Montana may be found here:

  • Helena, Montana
  • Billings, Montana
  • Spokane Valley, Washington
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Casper, Wyoming
  • Boise, Idaho
  • Ogden, Utah
  • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Bountiful, Utah
  • Draper, Utah

Clinical Examinations

For clinical examination, which tests your ability to perform clinical procedures in a clinical setting, the state of Montana will accept any of the following testing service exams, as long as you have passed it within the previous five (5) years before submitting an application for licensure.

If you wish to take the ADEX exam through any of these providers, you must pass ALL sections of the exam for it to count toward your application for licensure.

Jurisprudence Examination

The Montana Jurisprudence Exam is an exam covering state dental laws. Instructions for taking the exam will be sent to you after your full application has been submitted, and you must pass the exam with a 75% score or higher before you are eligible to receive your licensure.

This exam is open-book, and you may use the online copy of Montana laws for study. There is an $85 fee to take this exam.



Step 3. Submit Application to Montana Board

If you have never received licensure before, you will apply for licensure based on taking the national and clinical exams. If you have been licensed before, you need a minimum of 1000 hours of practice over the previous two (2) years before applying to apply for licensure based on your credentials.

To apply for licensure based on examinations, complete these steps:

  • Complete Application
  • Submit $100 Application Fee
  • Submit $85 Jurisprudence Exam Fee
  • Submit Proof of Graduation from CODA-accredited dental hygiene school (diploma and transcripts)
  • Submit National Board Scores
  • Submit Clinical Exam Scores
  • Provide Current CPR Certification
  • Submit National practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) self-query
  • Two reference letters for moral character
  • Pass the Montana Jurisprudence Exam

You may submit all materials, if not online, to the Montana Board of Dentistry at:

Montana Board of Dentistry
PO Box 200513
(301 South Park, 4th Floor)
Helena, Montana 59620

Additional Permits

Along with your licensure application, you will have the opportunity to apply for the Limited Access and/or Local Anesthesia permit. To apply for the Limited Access permit, you must do the following:

  • Certify active practice for 2,400 clinical hours over the last three (3) years, or a total of 3,000 hours with at least 350 hours in the past two (2) years
  • Provide Current Liability Insurance
  • Complete twelve (12) additional continuing education credits for each renewal cycle
  • Submit $50 permit fee

Instead of, or along with, the Limited Access permit, you may apply for the Local Anesthesia permit as long as you have completed the following steps:

  • Passed WREB Local Anesthetic Exam
  • Verify that you have practiced local anesthetic administration within the last five (5) years
  • Submit $20 permit fee



Step 4. Complete Continuing Education

The renewal cycle for dental hygienists in Montana is a three (3)-year cycle. Within those three (3) years, dental hygienists must complete thirty-six (36) continuing education (CE) credit hours in order to apply for licensure renewal. One CE credit hour is determined as on hour of coursework or lecture.

CE courses must be directly related to professional competence, and they may include, but are not limited to, the following subject areas:

  • Oral Surgery
  • Oral Pathology
  • Preventative Dentistry
  • Orthodontics
  • Clinical Patient Management
  • Pedodontics
  • Oral Biology
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics
  • Dental Materials
  • Implantology
  • Radiology
  • Infection Control
  • Endodontics
  • Management of Dental and Medical Emergencies
  • Practice Management

Prohibited continuing education courses include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Self-help courses
  • Psychology
  • Personal Development
  • Transactional Analysis
  • Legislative/Political courses
  • Basic Science courses
  • Basic Life Support/CPR

You must keep a record of your completed continuing education courses, which should be available to the Board upon request.

Association Opportunity for Dental Hygienists in Montana

The Montana Dental Hygienists’ Association is an association which is part of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA). The local components of the association may be found in the following Montana cities:

  • Billings
  • Butte
  • Helena
  • Bozeman
  • Kalispell
  • Missoula
  • Great Falls

The association offers dental hygienists access to networking opportunities, employment opportunities, events, and continuing education.

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