Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Dental Hygiene








Purpose: The purpose of this study was to survey entry-level dental hygiene program directors in the United States (US) to assess their perceptions of dental hygienists with visible tattoos as well as to determine current policies related to dress codes in US dental hygiene programs.

Methods: Data was collected with an online survey emailed to 340 dental hygiene program directors from March to April 2016, yielding a 43% (n = 141) response rate. Participants indicated their opinions of visible tattoos on the basis of professionalism and school policy requirements.

Results: Eighty percent of respondents reported their program had dress code policies on visible tattoos, with the majority (97%) requiring visible tattoos to be covered. Results revealed that both students (M = 5.57, p

Conclusion: Results showed that visible tattoos were not perceived favorably in general, and that the dental hygiene program director's personal perceptions may have influenced existing school dress code polices. These findings provide evidenced based information for hygienists, students, faculty, administrators and hiring managers as they formulate institution policies relating to body art.

Original Publication Citation

Search, K. R., Tolle, S. L., McCombs, G., & Arndt, A. (2017). A study of visible tattoos in entry-level dental hygiene education programs. Journal of Dental Hygiene, 91(5), 69-69.