students in dentist office
Shawnee State University senior Dental Hygiene student Shyanne Tucker practices with dental imaging equipment as her classmates watch during a visit to Dr. Amy Heim’s dental office in Portsmouth, Ohio.

February 28, 2022

Shawnee State University senior Shyanne Tucker from Adams County will graduate with a degree in Dental Hygiene at the end of this semester. Tucker and her fellow classmates recently visited Dr. Amy Heim’s dental office in Portsmouth, Ohio to gain hands-on experience outside of the classroom.

“The best part about the visit to Dr. Amy Heim’s office was getting to use the cameras and practice dental photography with student partners,” said Tucker. “They were the same ones her staff would use for a regular dental appointment.”

An alumna of SSU, Dr. Heim inspired the students during their visit by introducing them to the benefits of using this technology in the field.

“I realized how dental photography can change dental appointments for the better,” said Tucker. “Pictures help patients and dental personnel better understand how the appointment is going to go.”

Tucker knew she wanted to study Dental Hygiene after taking advantage of a job shadowing opportunity. She quickly found herself wanting to pursue a career in the dentistry field.

“I decided to study dental hygiene because after I shadowed many offices, I fell in love with the idea of how I can change someone’s life simply by cleaning their teeth,” she said. “I could potentially change someone's outlook on dentistry and help them get over their fears of the dentist.”

SSU’s Dental Hygiene program is designed to educate and prepare dental health care professionals who are able to be employed in private dental practices or clinics. The coursework prepares students to provide a variety of oral care services and treatments as well as dental health education, home care instruction, and diet and nutritional counseling. The program is completed in five academic semesters that combine classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience, including appointments held in the on-campus clinic.

“If you have a passion for dentistry, go for it,” Tucker said to other students who may be interested in pursuing a Dental Hygiene degree. “Don’t let anyone talk you out of pursuing it. It is so worth the effort in the end.”

To learn more about Shawnee State University’s accredited Dental Hygiene program, visit