The Dental Hygiene Program is a two-to-three-year full-time degree program (two years if general education prerequisite courses have already been completed, three years if not). The curriculum includes content in the following four areas: general education, biomedical sciences, dental sciences and dental hygiene science. The basic clinical education aspect of the curriculum includes a formal course sequence in scientific principles of dental hygiene practice, which extends throughout the curriculum and is coordinated and integrated with clinical experience in providing dental hygiene services. The Dental Hygiene Program is designed for the student to learn to synthesize didactic concepts and incorporate them into the clinical setting.
Students with an Associate in Arts degree in Dental Hygiene, once licensed, can work under a licensed dentist in a private or public setting. Many hygienists choose to work in specialty areas such as pedodontics (dentistry for children) and periodontics (treatment of gum diseases). Other career options include public health agencies, hospitals, institutions for physically/mentally challenged, nursing homes, neighborhood health clinics, public schools, insurance companies, industrial or union dental facilities, federal programs such as Veterans’ Administration and Indian Health Programs, military institutions, prisons, and other health programs both here and abroad.
Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:
- Apply all the dental science courses to their clinical experience;
- Discern and manage the ethical issues of dental hygiene practice in a health care environment;
- Acquire and synthesize information in a critical, scientific and effective manner;
- Contribute to the knowledge, skills and values of the profession;
- Provide planned educational services using appropriate interpersonal communication skills and educational strategies to promote optimal health;
- Initiate and assume responsibility for the health promotion and disease prevention activities within diverse populations;
- Collect, analyze and accurately record baseline data on the general, oral and psychosocial health status of individuals using methods consistent with medicolegal principles;
- Determine the need for dental hygiene services for an individual or broader population;
- Discuss the condition of the oral cavity, identifying actual and potential problems, identify etiological and contributing factors, and develop an evidence-based dental hygiene treatment plan;
- Implement the dental hygiene treatment plan within the standard of care;
- Provide treatment that includes preventive and therapeutic procedures and that maintains and assists the patient in achieving his/her oral health goals;
- Provide pain management during treatment using accepted clinical and behavioral techniques;
- Evaluate the effectiveness of completed clinical work and educational services and modify as necessary.
The practice of dental hygiene can be physically demanding. Students should be in good physical condition and be able to perform the following essential functional requirements:
- Perform CPR.
- Lift and carry up to ten pounds.
- Retrieve dental supplies from storage areas at different heights.
- Reach overhead equipment to a height of five feet.
- Rotate and reach laterally, standing or sitting.
- Perform for a prolonged period without breaks, e.g., typical shift of eight hours.
- Manipulate mechanical and patient care equipment, i.e., dials, switches, push buttons, keyboards, syringes, and blood pressure equipment.
- Maneuver in tight quarters, common to dental offices.
- Use dental instruments with precision and control in confined areas.
- Pick up items of very small and varying diameters.
- Wear protective equipment such as surgical gloves, lab coats, face masks, face shields, and protective eyewear.
- Function in an environment where latex is present.
- Exhibit sufficient motor function to examine a patient diagnostically.
- Carry out OSHA infection control procedures using cleaners and chemicals.
- Differentiate among subtle shades of gray used in radiographic image formation.
- Discern changes in color, texture, and shape of oral tissue.
- Respond to requests and direction.
- Perceive and interpret tactile vibrations appropriately.
- Elicit information from a patient by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic modalities.
- Observe demonstrations at a distance and close at hand.
- Have appropriate depth perception from a distance of 18 inches with or without corrective lenses and be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships.
- Integrate, analyze, evaluate and synthesize data.
- Possess the intellectual abilities required to carry out reasoning, analysis, problem-solving, critical thinking, and self-evaluation.
- Effectively communicate (verbally and in writing) with patients, faculty, and team members in English.
- Be aware of possible exposure to hazards such as dental materials, radiation, blood and body fluids.
Students should possess the emotional health and mental stability necessary to:
- Demonstrate respect and caring for patients, peers, staff, and faculty in a professional and ethical manner
- Demonstrate respect for the diversity of cultures among patients, college personnel and peers
- Demonstrate a team approach in carrying out responsibilities in all settings
- Endure physically-taxing workloads
- Function effectively under stress and adapt to changing environments
- Be able to accept criticism and respond by appropriate modification of behavior
- Demonstrate collegiality among faculty, staff and peers
- Exercise good judgment
- Respect the confidentiality of patient privacy
These standards are approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Policies, Conditions, and/or Fees
The Dental Hygiene Program at Mount Ida College is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association and has been granted the accreditation status of approval without reporting requirements.
Transfer credit may be awarded for general education courses in the Dental Hygiene Program and in any baccalaureate program to which the student may advance. Transfer credit for Dental Hygiene courses will be reviewed on an individual basis. Applicants are bound by the transfer policy published in the College Catalog and the Dental Hygiene Information Packet.
Enrollment Status in the Dental Hygiene Program
It is mandatory that students enrolled in the Dental Hygiene Program be full-time students. They must complete the four semesters of instruction in sequence, without interruption, in order to articulate classroom instruction with their clinical training. Many courses in the curriculum are built upon and dependent on a foundation that is established in prior courses. For this reason, no student shall assume the liberty of withdrawing or postponing any course in the curriculum without consultation and prior approval from the Director of the Dental Hygiene Program. Students must take English and Math placement tests during orientation at the beginning of the entering year.
Students can be dismissed from the Dental Hygiene Program for failure to progress academically, violation of the student and professional code of ethics and conduct, and academic dishonesty.
Those applicants accepted into the program must make a minimum grade of “C” (73%) in all dental hygiene courses and maintain an overall minimum GPA of 2.00 to continue in the program. All students must submit a petition in writing (see “Requests for re-admission”, below) to the Dental Hygiene Program Director to re-take any dental hygiene course. Students may only retake a course one time.
In addition, a student who does not exhibit the knowledge, behavior, attitude, ethics or skills deemed necessary for the health, safety and welfare of patients will be dismissed. Any academic dishonesty will cause the student to be subject to automatic dismissal. The Office of Academic Affairs, the School Director, and the Dental Hygiene Program Director will review the standing of any Dental Hygiene student whose record and/or performance may indicate non-continuance in or termination from the Dental Hygiene Program. The Review Board may drop a student from the program whenever the academic and/or clinical performance or egregious behavior of the student warrants such action. A student who has been academically dismissed from the College must follow College-wide reinstatement policies and petition procedures.
Requests for readmission: Requests for readmission to the Dental Hygiene Program will be considered only after the lapse of at least one semester and only when the student provides evidence that indicates probable success, should readmission be granted. Requests for readmission to the Dental Hygiene Program must be made in writing to the Dental Hygiene Program Director at least six (6) weeks before the opening of the semester and must include evidence supporting the student’s belief that she/he will succeed if readmitted. The curricular requirements for readmission to the Dental Hygiene Program will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Students who elect to leave the Dental Hygiene Program must, in accordance with the Withdrawal, Leave of Absence and Reactivation Policy published in the College Catalog, reapply to the College and to the Dental Hygiene Program and must adhere to the Dental Hygiene policies and requirements in effect at the time of readmission.
Students are expected to attend each assigned clinic session and externship rotation. If a student is ill or will be absent for any reason, it is the responsibility of the student to notify a business office and course director. It is also the student’s responsibility to cancel his/her patients. The ADA Council of Accreditation mandates a specific number of pre-clinical and clinical hours. Therefore, missed clinical sessions must be made up. Students are responsible for finding their own patients during make-up clinics. All clinical requirements must be completed by the end of the semester.
Before performing any activities each student must submit to, and satisfactorily clear, a criminal background check. Some externship sites also require all students to have one or more of the following clearances: CORI, SORI, and/or finger printing. They may also require a US passport or driver’s license and certified birth certificate or driver’s license and social security card. If the student does not have the above and/or does not pass the CORI/SORI, the student may not be able to continue in the Dental Hygiene Program. Each student will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
Students must follow the Clinical Attendance Policy in the Dental Hygiene Clinic Manual. Students are required to provide their own meals and transportation to and from their off-campus clinical rotations. All clinical rotations are accessible via the MBTA, commuter rail, subway, or bus lines.
All Dental Hygiene students are expected to demonstrate professionalism in behavior, manner and judgment in dental hygiene clinic, radiology and clinical rotation sites. All Dental Hygiene students must adhere to policies of the Dental Hygiene Program regarding conduct, attire and asepsis. These policies are found in the Dental Hygiene Policy and Procedures, Clinic, Exposure Control and Externship Manuals.
Students in the Dental Hygiene Program will incur additional expenses for:
- Annual program fee
- Supplies and uniforms including but not limited to: gloves, masks, safety glasses, stethoscope, lab coats, scrubs, name pin, napkin, chains, and magnification loops
- Professional dues
- Liability insurance
- Health insurance
- Transportation to rotations
- Board examinations
As a health professional, dental auxiliaries are exposed to contagious diseases and are therefore at risk of becoming infected. The National Health Institute, The Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Health and Human Services all strongly recommend that health professionals at high risk utilize vaccinations. Dentists and dental auxiliaries are near the top of the list of those persons most likely to contract certain diseases. The American College Health Association and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts require that no students shall attend college without a certificate of immunization.
Students must provide appropriate documentation, including a copy of a school immunization record, indicating receipt of the required immunizations; OR in the case of measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B and varicella, present laboratory evidence of immunity.
- One dose of mumps, measles and rubella given at or after 12 months of age or one does for age group >50 years of age
- Results of tuberculosis test within 6 months or the first day of school and yearly thereafter
- Varicella 2 doses (0, 4-8 weeks) ages 19-49 or 2 doses
- Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Td/Tdap) 1 dose Td booster every 10 years
According to Massachusetts Department of Public Health College Immunization Requirements for the 2012-2013 School Year:
All newly enrolled full-time residential students must:
- Receive information about meningococcal disease and vaccine; and
- Provide documentation of receipt of 1 dose of MPSV4 vaccine within the last 5 years (or a dose of MCV4 vaccine at any time in the past) or sign the waiver available through Health Services.
Recommended vaccinations include:
The College cannot be held responsible for health problems resulting from occupational hazards. Students are responsible for the cost of any follow-up care resulting from exposure to occupational hazards.
The guidelines for immunization are established in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).
The Mount Ida College Dental Hygiene Program tries to minimize the risk of exposure by following an Exposure Control Plan, and the Dental Hygiene Exposure Control Plan complies with OSHA Standards. These standards include universal precautions that are taught prior to beginning patient care.
CDC/ACIP Adult Immunization Recommendations
CDC/ACIP Recommendations for Immunization of Healthcare Personnel
All students are required to take the National Boards as part of licensure. This is an all day written examination. This test is computerized and is taken at a designated testing site.
In order to take the National Board Examination the student must have no less than a 3.0 GPA at the end of the fall semester of their second year in the AA program. The student must also have successfully completed all clinical and didactic course requirements by the last day of classes of the fall semester and have no incompletes outstanding in any course.
If the student is ineligible for the Spring examination the student will be able to take the National Board in summer, upon successful completion of the Dental Hygiene Program.
All clinical and didactic course requirements must be successfully completed by the last day of classes of the spring semester and have no incompletes outstanding in any course.
Northeast Regional Board Examination (NERB)
(Includes states: Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia)
The NERB examination is a mandatory clinical examination for licensure in dental hygiene. The NERB is composed of two examinations: clinical and didactic. The clinical examination is offered three times per year: spring, summer and winter. In order for the Dental Hygiene student to be eligible for the NERB examination in the spring of their second year of dental hygiene school the student must have successfully completed DH 203 Clinical Dental Hygiene III and received approval from the second year clinic coordinator. If the student is ineligible for the spring examination the student will be able to take NERB in the summer upon successful completion of the Dental Hygiene program.
All clinical and didactic course requirements must be successfully completed with the grade of C or better by the last day of classes of the spring semester and have no incompletes outstanding in any course.
The second examination is a computerized examination taken at a designated testing site.
Local Anesthesia License
In the state of Massachusetts, the student must successfully complete a written local anesthesia examination upon completion of the Pain Management course.
Ethics and Jurisprudence and CPR
For licensure in the state of Massachusetts, the student must be current and certified in “Health Provider” CPR and must also complete a written Ethics and Jurisprudence Examination.