Dental Hygiene

Allied Health & Sciences
Degree awarded: Associate in Applied Science

Program Information

Essential Functions of a Dental Hygienist

Overview of the Clinical Education Process

Career Assessment Form

Program Narrative
Dental Hygiene is a rewarding field that offers flexible work schedules and attractive salaries. If you are interested in working directly with clients to help them achieve and maintain optimal oral health, a career in Dental Hygiene could be a great option.

Dental hygienists are licensed oral health professionals who play an essential role in the field of dentistry. Dental hygienists provide a variety of services that prevent, or limit the extent of, cavities and/or gum disease. They also provide educational, clinical and therapeutic services for people of all ages and in every situation. As a licensed hygienist you could have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of a range of populations, including the medically compromised, mentally or physically challenged, and socially or culturally disadvantaged. While most dental hygienists practice in private dental offices, others provide services in hospitals, private businesses, correctional institutions and a variety of private and public centers.

Northampton's Dental Hygiene program is among the most respected in Pennsylvania. During the two-year program, all pre-clinical and clinical practice occurs in the dental clinic located at the Fowler Family Southside Center campus. Professional hygienists working in the field enhance the hands-on aspects of the clinical portion of the program. The dental hygiene program is competency-based and assesses all clinical and laboratory courses using pass/fail criteria. Students must earn grades of C (75%) or better in all DENH courses to qualify for semester promotion. If you are interested in a higher level of education, Northampton has developed articulation agreements with dental hygiene baccalaureate degree programs to facilitate admissions and the transfer of credits.

Northampton's program in Dental Hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2678. www.ada.org

Program Mission
While upholding the mission and vision of Northampton Community College, the Dental Hygiene program provides excellent, comprehensive learning experiences to prepare students with the knowledge and clinical skills to competently practice as dental hygienists.

Statement of Values
The Dental Hygiene program values:

  • Excellence - Quality in the educational experiences that we provide
  • Innovation - Curricular responsiveness to adapt quickly to changes in the profession
  • Accountability - Individual responsibility for his/her actions, growth and development
  • Integrity - Academic, personal and professional honesty, fairness, ethical conduct and respect for others
  • Engagement - Involvement in and collaboration with the communities we serve

Program Admissions Requirements
Admission is on a competitive basis. All applicants must submit:

  • an application OR a re-entry form
  • a change of major form (only if currently enrolled)
  • official transcripts (updated copies)
  • a completed Career Assessment Form (a new form must be submitted every year)

The minimum admission requirements to the program include:

  • Completed high school Biology with a lab component with a grade of B and
  • completed high school Chemistry with a lab component with a grade of B (if a candidate did not complete Biology and/or Chemistry with B grades in high school, equivalent courses taken at a post-secondary institution are acceptable substitutes, i.e., NCC CHEM 135 and BIOS 115) and
  • an overall high school grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B)

The minimum admission requirements to the program for applicants who have completed more than 12 college credits include:

  • The most recently completed Biology course with a lab - if completed in high school with a grade of B, or if completed in college, a grade of B minus (i.e., NCC BIOS 115, BIOS 160 or BIOS 204) and
  • the most recently completed Chemistry course with a lab - if completed in high school with a grade of B, or if completed in college, a grade of B minus (i.e., NCC CHEM 135) and
  • a program-specific college science GPA of 2.70 (possible courses include NCC CHEM 135, BIOS 160 and BIOS 202 only) and
  • a cumulative college GPA of 2.70 in all program- specific non-science courses

Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the Dental Hygiene program.

Please Note: Students accepted into the Dental Hygiene program will be required to submit results of a criminal background check and Pennsylvania Child and Elder Abuse History Clearance to the program director. Students will also be required to have health insurance, complete a personal medical history, and be certified prior to the start of the semester in First Aid and CPR/BLS of Healthcare Providers.

Deadlines
To receive primary consideration, completed applications must be submitted by February 1. Applications received after this date will be reviewed on a space-available basis.

Contact the Admissions Office at 610-861-5500 for further information.

Program Outcomes
1. Students will be competent as defined by the department document, "Competencies for Entry into the Profession of Dental Hygiene." Students must demonstrate competency in the following:

Core Competencies

  • Model professional behavior.
  • Adhere to state and federal laws, recommendations and regulations in the provision of dental hygiene care.
  • Gather, evaluate and use information effectively.
  • Reflect on personal performance through self-assessment.
  • Communicate effectively with individuals and groups from diverse populations both verbally and in writing.
  • Use evidence-based decision making to evaluate products and existing, emerging therapies.

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

  • Identify risk factors and develop, implement, and evaluate strategies to promote health and prevent disease.
  • Utilize methods to ensure the health and safety of the client and the dental hygienist in the delivery of dental hygiene services.
Community Involvement
  • Assess the oral health needs of the community and plan, implement and evaluate programs to address those needs.
  • Provide community oral health promotion and disease prevention activities in a variety of settings.

Client Care

  • Systematically collect, analyze and record data on the general, oral and social health status of a variety of clients to identify risk factors, clients' needs and oral health problems. (Assess)
  • Use assessment data and critical decision making skills to reach conclusions about clients' oral health needs. (Diagnose)
  • Collaborate with clients and other health professionals to formulate client-centered, comprehensive dental hygiene care plans that are based on current evidence-based practices and that acknowledge clients’ informed consent. (Plan)
  • Provide specialized treatment that includes preventive and therapeutic services designed to achieve and maintain oral health. (Implement)
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented clinical, preventive and educational services and modify as needed. (Evaluate)

2. Students will be prepared to successfully complete the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and the North East Regional Board Examination.

3. Students will be satisfied with their dental hygiene education.

4. Clients will be satisfied with dental hygiene services.

Dental Hygiene,
Associate in Applied Science Degree

Course Code Course Title
Credits
Summer II Session
CHEM 135 Chemistry of Life
4
ENGL 101C English I
3
7
First Semester
BIOS 160 Human Biology
4
DENH 103 Pre-clinical Preventive Oral Health Services
3
DENH 104 Foundations of Preventive Oral Health Services
4
DENH 105 Oral Histology
1
DENH 106 Oral Anatomy
2
DENH 110 Oral Radiology
2
16
Second Semester
BIOS 202 Microbiology for Allied Health
4
DENH 109 Oral Radiology Lab
1
DENH 150 Clinical Preventive Oral Health Services I
3
DENH 152 Preventive Oral Health Services I
2
DENH 153 Periodontology
2
DENH 154 Oral Health Care for Medically Complex Clients and Clients with Special Needs
1
DENH 155 General and Oral Pathology
2
ENGL 151L English II (Literature)
3
18
Summer I Session
DENH 212 Pharmacology
2
CMTH 102 Speech Communication
3
5
Third Semester
DENH 205 Nutrition for the Dental Health Care Provider
2
DENH 206 Local Anesthesia
2
DENH 210 Clinical Preventive Oral Health Services II
4
DENH 211 Preventive Oral Health Services II
3
DENH 220 Community Dental Health I
1
PSYC 103 Introduction to Psychology
3
15
Fourth Semester
DENH 240 Community Dental Health II
1
DENH 250 Clinical Preventive Oral Health Services III
4
DENH 251 Preventive Oral Health Services III
2
SOCA 103 Principles of Sociology
3
---------- General Education Elective
3
13
Total Credits:
74
  • For the General Education Elective, students must choose one course from the list of approved courses in one of the following categories: Arts and Humanities (AH); Social Science: Societies and Institutions over Time (SIT).
  • The free elective requirement has been waived for this program.
  • Computer competencies and writing intensive work are included in various courses in this program. Thus, completing the program automatically satisfies the computing and writing intensive requirements for this program.
  • Healthcare Provider CPR and Basic First Aid certifications are required immediately prior to Fall Semester - First Year.
  • Students must earn grades of "C" or better in all DENH courses to qualify for semester promotion/graduation.

Career Potential: Public Health Dental Hygiene Practitioner, Dental Sales, Dental Hygiene Instructor, School Hygienist, Registered Dental Hygienist in a general, periodontic, pediatric, prosthodontic and/or orthodontic private practice.

Transfer Potential: Penn College of Technology, West Virginia University, Farmingdale State College, University of Bridgeport, St. Petersburg College

© Northampton Community College 3835 Green Pond Rd Bethlehem, PA 18020 610-861-5300