Jul 14, 2024  
2019-2020 Catalog 
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Dental Hygiene, A.A.A.S.

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Academic Program Code: 394

Dental hygienists work in private and group dental practices; departments of public health, hospitals, schools, clinics, veteran’s facilities; and the armed forces. Job opportunities for trained dental hygienists are expected to be very good in the years ahead.

Dental hygiene practice includes obtaining clients’ medical and dental histories, conducting extra-oral and intra-oral examinations, performing assessment procedures, providing complete oral prophylaxis (scaling and polishing teeth), taking radiographs, oral hygiene instruction, and placing pit and fissure sealants.

The GRCC Dental Hygiene program takes a minimum of three (3) years to complete. The first year is “Pre-Dental Hygiene” and a grade of C or Higher in the four science courses (BI 121 , BI 122 , BI 127 , and CHM 210 ) is required.  Successful completion of the four science courses, however, does not guarantee students will begin the Dental Hygiene Program the following year. Students are highly encouraged to complete all general education courses prior to beginning the program.

In order to progress through the professional sequence, students must earn a minimum of a 2.0 GPA in each DHY and DXX course.

Students must successfully pass each DHY and DXX course in the sequence indicated in the first and second year of the professional curriculum.

To be eligible to graduate from the associate degree dental hygiene program, students must earn a C- (78%–according to the Dental Programs Grade Scale) in the prescribed associate degree dental hygiene curriculum and in each DHY and DXX course.

In addition to tuition, fees, and books, there are additional costs for uniforms, safety glasses, clinic shoes, etc. An estimated cost sheet for the dental hygiene program can be found at http://www.grcc.edu/dentalprograms/dentalhygiene.

The dental hygiene program 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

Pre-Program Requirements

Successfully complete BI 121, BI 122, BI 127, and CHM 210. Successful completion is defined as a grade of C or Higher within two attempts. For the purposes of pre-dental hygiene program requirements, a withdrawal from a course is equivalent to one attempt. Earning a grade below C (2.0) twice in any of the four stated science courses will require that the student withdraw from pre-dental hygiene. This policy applies to GRCC students as well as to transfer students taking equivalent courses at other colleges or universities.

Prior to starting the dental hygiene program fall semester, a student will be required to complete a more extensive criminal background check. This background check will include fingerprinting by the GRCC Campus Police department.

Program Admissions Requirements

Students are admitted to the program once a year, in the fall semester. In order to be eligible for admission into the Dental Hygiene Program, a student must:

1. Be a high school graduate or have passed the high school equivalency GED (General Educational Development) Test.

2. Have a high school and college GPA of at least 2.3

3. Demonstrate math competency through any one of the following ways: SAT Math subsection score of 25 or higher, ACT Math score of 18 or Higher, Math Placement Test (ALEKS) with a score of 30 or Higher, Completion of MA 98 or Higher with a grade of C or Higher.

4. Submit and release findings of criminal background check to the health admissions coordinator and Dental Program Director at GRCC.

General Education Courses

Select a minimum of 15 credit hours of course work from the General Education Course list.  Course work must be selected as directed from the areas below.

English Composition and Communications


Select one (1) Humanities General Education Elective.

Social Sciences

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

General Education Total Credit Hours

15 (minimum)

Program Courses

Total Credit Hours


Course Discontinuation

GRCC Flying CC LogoDHY 111 DHY 126 , and DHY 136  have been discontinued and will no longer appear in the academic catalog after the 19.20 academic year.  If these courses are still needed to complete this degree, here is what you may take to complete your degree:

Contact the Dental Program Director if you have any additional questions.

Essential Abilities/Technical Standards

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. sec. 794) prohibits discrimination of persons because of her or his disability. In keeping with these laws, colleges of the Wisconsin Technical College System make every effort to insure a quality education for students. The purpose of this document is to ensure that students acknowledge that they have been provided information on the functional abilities required of a student in the Dental Assistant/Dental Hygiene Programs.

The Grand Rapids Community College Dental Auxiliary Programs complies with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), and consistent with the ADA, the attached Functional Abilities/Core Performance Standards Worksheet provides the framework to relate functional ability categories and representative activities/attributes to any limitations/deficits in functional abilities. These standards shall be used by the Grand Rapids Community College Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene Programs in combination with the professional scope of practice, job analysis, other resources, and expert consultation to make decisions related to the ability of the student to perform the essential functions.

If a prospective student is or becomes unable to meet the required “Functional Abilities/Technical Standards,” the Grand Rapids Community College Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene Programs, in consultation with  College’s Disabilities Support Services Director and the Dental Auxiliary Program Director will determine, on an individual basis, whether or not reasonable accommodations can be made that would permit the student to meet these “Functional Abilities/Technical Standards” and thus, to continue in the program.

Please note: “Skill’s tied to” under each of the sections is not intended to be a complete listing of skills but rather as an example of a skill for which that ability. For more complete listing of skills, tied to that ability, please see the program coordinator.

1. Gross motor ability:  Move within confined spaces, eye-hand-foot coordination, and stoop/squat down and maintain balance, stand and maintain balance, reach above shoulders, reach below waist, reach out horizontally.

2. Fine motor ability:  Pick up objects with hands, simultaneous use of hand, wrist and fingers, finger dexterity, grasp small objects with fingers firmly/lightly, utilize repetitive pinching motions with fingers, eye-hand coordination, grasp small objects with hands, write clearly and neatly with pen or pencil, type on a keyboard, enter data using a key pad, pinch/squeeze or pick up objects with fingers, twist knobs with hands, must have adequate manual dexterity as to be capable of maintaining sterility.

3. Physical Endurance:  Stand at client’s side during procedure, Sustain repetitive movements (example: chest compressions in CPR) maintain physical tolerance (continue tasks throughout a 10-12 hour shift), work and complete tasks at a reasonable pace, sit for long periods of time, stand for long periods of time, bend and twist without effort, sustain repetitive, movements, use upper body strength (e.g., perform CPR), squeeze with hands (e.g., manipulating impression materials).

4. Physical Strength:  Lift 25 pounds, carry equipment/supplies, squeeze with hands (example: dental instruments), use upper body strength.

5. Mobility:  Are you able to perform the following? twist, bend, stoop/squat, move quickly, climb ladders/stools/stairs, walk

6. Hearing:  Hear normal speaking level sounds, hear faint voices, hear faint body sounds (example: breath and heart sounds) hear auditory alarms, hear telephones.

7. Visual:  Visually assess clients, see object up to 20 inches away See object more than 20 feet away Use peripheral vision distinguish color, distinguish color intensity, and see emergency lights/lamps.

8. Tactile:  Feel vibrations, detect differences in surface characteristics, and detect differences in sizes and shapes of instruments.

9Smell:  Detect odors from client, detect smoke, and detect gas or noxious smells.

10. Reading:  Read and interpret textbooks, read and interpret dental records, read and understand written documents, read very fine or small print.

11. Arithmetic:  Read and understand columns of writing (example: flow sheets), read digital displays, read graphic printouts, calibrate equipment, convert numbers to metric, read graphs (sleep reports), tell time, measure time (duration,) use measuring tools (example: tape measure) read measurement marks (scales), able to perform basic arithmetic functions: add, subtract, multiply, divide Compute percentages, use a calculator, record numbers (example: chart observed parameters).

12. Emotional Stability:  Establish therapeutic boundaries, provide client with appropriate emotional support. Adapt to changing environment/stress, deal with the unexpected (example: crisis), focus attention on task despite distractions. Monitor own emotions, perform multiple responsibilities concurrently, handle strong emotions (example: grief), how appropriate compassion through communication.

13. Analytical Thinking:  Transfer/extrapolate knowledge from one situation to process information, evaluate outcomes, problem solve, prioritize tasks, use long and short term memory.

14. Critical Thinking Skills:  Identify cause-effect relationships, plan/control activities for others, and synthesize knowledge and skills, sequence information

15. Interpersonal skills:  Negotiate interpersonal conflict appropriately, respect differences in clients, establish rapport with clients, establish rapport with co-workers, and work effectively with physicians, staff, clients and clients’ families.

16. Communication Skills:  Teach (example: client and family), explain procedure, give oral reports, I=interact with others, speak on the telephone, Direct activities of others, convey information through writing (example: progress notes), speak clearly and distinctly.

17. Environment: Tolerate toxic or caustic chemicals, exposure to radiation, exposure to excessive noises, exposure to vibration, exposure to flame, exposure to nitrous oxide.

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