Dental hygiene is a vital health service component of dentistry and emphasizes oral health and the prevention of oral disease. Each state has its own laws and rules, therefore, the range of services performed by dental hygienists may vary.
Most dental hygienists are employed in private dental offices. The hygienist’s main function is to provide dental health education, home care instruction, and diet/nutritional counseling. Dental hygiene services include performing oral prophylaxis, scaling and polishing of the patient’s teeth to remove soft and hard deposits; dental charting and oral examinations; exposing, processing and interpreting dental radiographs, applying fluoride treatments and sealants; and making preliminary impressions for study models.
A dental hygienist should possess fine-motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Dental hygienists should be able to effectively communicate with individuals, both one-on-one and during small group interactions.
Most states, including the state of Ohio, permit hygienists to administer local anesthesia and monitor nitrous oxide sedation.
The dental hygiene program is accredited by the American Dental Association—Commission on Dental Accreditation.
The mission of the Shawnee State dental hygiene program is to:
- Educate and prepare competent dental health care professionals, capable of applying knowledge gained in general education, biomedical science, and dental hygiene science when making decisions in the dental hygiene practice setting;
- Provide graduates with the means of making ethical decisions and assuming responsibility for dental hygiene services provided to diverse populations;
- Develop in graduates an appreciation for life-long learning and the ability to critically analyze self, standards of care, and current research practices;
- Provide graduates with the abilities and experience to value community service and contribute to the advancement of the dental hygiene profession.
Goals for Student Outcome
- Graduates will be knowledgeable in the basic sciences, which support dental hygiene.
- Graduates will be able to provide complete dental hygiene services, including assessment of the patient’s physical and oral conditions, and demonstrate preparation for medical/dental emergencies.
- Graduates will participate in dental hygiene continuing education and community service; and promote optimal health by utilizing appropriate educational methods, strategies, and communication skills.
- Graduates will be well prepared to gain employment and successfully function as an ethical dental hygiene practitioner, and/or successfully pursue advanced study in a related field, and to advance in those chosen specialities.
- Patients served by the SSU Dental Hygiene Clinic will express overall satisfaction with the clinical services, business operations, student interactions regarding scheduling, and respect for individual needs.
- The dental hygiene treatments provided by the SSU Clinic will exceed the expected standard of practice in the geographical region and comply with the Ohio Dental Practice Act (statutes and regulations).
- Graduates will develop the ability to critically analyze self, standards of care, and current research literature.
Hygienists are employed in the following areas:
- Private Practice
- Public Health Dental hygienists may be involved in school-based oral screening or sealant programs, planning, implementing, and evaluating oral health education programs for dental professionals, medical professionals, and the public.
- Dental Marketing Employment opportunities may be available with companies that market dental-related materials and equipment.
- Hospitals and Clinics Concerned primarily with the special oral health problems of the bedridden and chronically ill.
- Teaching and Research Hygienists with advanced degrees may be employed in research or may teach in dental hygiene educational programs that help students to prepare for the profession.
In order to remain in good academic standing in the dental hygiene program, the student must:
- Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 in all coursework needed to meet the requirements for an associate of applied science degree in dental hygiene. This applies to all required courses taken before as well as after admission into the dental hygiene program.
- Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 in all dental hygiene courses.
- Not receive a failing grade in any of the required courses for the dental hygiene program. In the dental hygiene program, a grade of “C” is considered the minimum passing grade for all required DTHY courses. Courses graded with less than a “C” will result in academic dismissal from the program.
Students who fail to achieve any one of the above requirements for good academic standing will be dismissed from the dental hygiene program with the option of reapplying for admission the following academic year. The decision to readmit a student will be made by the dental hygiene faculty after reviewing the student’s progress in completing any conditions for readmittance as stated in the letter of dismissal and an interview with the student. Students who are academically dismissed from the dental hygiene program for a second time are not eligible for readmittance.
Students may appeal a dismissal from the dental hygiene program by following the guidelines for appeal as detailed in this catalog.
Prior to enrollment in clinical dental hygiene courses, students are required to have a recent physical examination and current immunizations to include Hepatitis B along with a TB skin test. Upon acceptance into the program, students will receive additional information concerning all requirements.
Application for licensure as a dental hygienist in the state of Ohio requires a criminal background check, which includes fingerprinting. Any student who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor related to substance abuse or crime involving moral turpitude may be denied licensure by the Ohio State Dental Board. For further clarification, please contact the Ohio State Dental Board at 614.466.2580.