Dec 09, 2021  
2020-2021 Catalog 
2020-2021 Catalog

Dental Hygiene, A.A.A.S.

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

The program in dental hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation [and has been granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements”]. 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. The Commission’s web address is

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


In What Order Should I Take Classes?

In What Order Should I Take Classes?

Please select courses from the Priority I list.  Select courses based on the number of credits you are taking in the semester, for example, if you are a part time student you do not have to take all of the courses listed.  If you are unable to schedule Priority I courses, move to and select from the list of Priority II, Priority III, and Priority IV courses.

Pre-Dental Hygiene Curriculum Pre-Dental Hygiene Curriculum

EN 101 - English Composition I  

BI 121 - Human Anatomy and Physiology I  

BI 127 - Microbiology  

CHM 210 - Inorganic, Organic, and Biochemistry  

Program Course - SO Course


COM 131 - Fundamentals of Public Speaking  


COM 135 - Interpersonal Communication  

General Education Elective 

PY 201 - General Psychology  

BI 122 - Human Anatomy and Physiology II   

Priority I Priority II

DHY 114 - Oral Anatomy, Embryology and Histology  

DHY 117 - Pre-Clinic I Theory  

DHY 118 - Pre-Clinic I Laboratory  

DHY 122 - Nutrition and Oral Disease Prevention  

DHY 124 - Dental Morphology and Function  

DXX 104 - Infection Control in Dentistry  

DXX 115 - Introduction to Dentistry  

DHY 123 - General and Oral Pathology for Dental Hygiene  

DHY 127 - Pre-Clinic II Theory  

DHY 128 - Pre-Clinic II Laboratory  

DHY 131 - Introduction to Dental Hygiene Patient Care and Management  

DHY 137 - Periodontology  

DHY 255 - Dental Ethics and Jurisprudence  

DXX 128 - Dental Radiography  A

DXX 128 - Dental Radiography  B


DHY 125 - Dental Specialties  

DHY 132 - Applied Dental Biomaterials  

DHY 134 - Head and Neck Anatomy  

DHY 138 - Dental Hygiene Patient Care and Management I  

DHY 139 - Clinical Dental Hygiene I  

Priority III Priority IV

DHY 240 - Pain Management I  

DHY 241 - Dental Hygiene Patient Care and Management II  

DHY 242 - Advanced Instrumentation and Treatment Modalities  

DHY 244 - Community Dental Health I  

DHY 246 - Dental Pharmacology  

DHY 249 - Clinical Dental Hygiene II  

DHY 250 - Pain Management II  

DHY 251 - Dental Hygiene Patient Care and Management III  

DHY 254 - Community Dental Health II  

DHY 256 - Dental Hygiene Professional Management  

DHY 257 - Advanced Treatment Modalities and Evaluation in Dental Hygiene  

DHY 259 - Clinical Dental Hygiene III  

NOTE: This priority schedule assumes the student is prepared to take the courses listed. If prerequisites are required, additional semesters may be required to complete this degree.

Meet with an Academic Program Advisor and consult My Degree Path for specific degree requirements.

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.