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Dental Hygiene

CSI Dental Hygiene Program Competencies

(as described by the American Dental Education Association Compendium of Curriculum Guidelines, 2005)

The following are specific program competencies for each of 14 different content areas of the Dental Hygiene Curriuculum:

1. Clinical Dental Hygiene
Clinical dental hygiene experience provides preventive and therapeutic care according to the process of care; assessment, dental hygiene diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation.  This requires critical thinking and evidenced-based decision making skills that guide the provision of dental hygiene care within a focused scope of practice.

Upon the completion of the clinical curriculum, the student will be able to;

  1. Apply the process of care to preventive and therapeutic oral health management to a diverse patient population.
  2. Assess and analyze objective and subjective patient findings to formulate an evidenced-based, patient-centered dental hygiene diagnosis.
  3. Plan, implement and evaluate intervention strategies that will promote and maintain oral health including oral self care behaviors.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of and skill in applying dental hygiene methodology of care.
  5. Apply the principles of professional and ethical behavior in providing care to individuals of all populations.

2. Community Dental Health
Upon completion of the curriculum, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the historical evolution of dental hygiene as a dental public health science.
  2. Define the roles of the dental hygienist within a community setting.
  3. Describe characteristics of the current oral health care delivery systems operating in the United States and international communities; discuss the social, political, psychological, cultural, and economic factors that affect utilization of the system; and trends that may influence the delivery system in the future.
  4. Describe the major problems with the current mode of oral health care delivery.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge and skills in each of the following subject areas as they relate to community-based needs:
    1. Oral epidemiology and research methodologies
    2. Oral health education and promotion
    3. Government influence on the oral care delivery system
    4. Prevention, control, and treatment of oral diseases
    5. Program planning and evaluation
  6. Compare the effectiveness, efficiency, practicality, and economic feasibility of preventive measures when applied to community-based dental programs.
  7. Identify the needs of a target population group by gathering and analyzing appropriate assessment data.
  8. Assess, diagnose, plan, implement, and evaluate a community-based program.
  9. Establish channels of communication to promote interdisciplinary community collaboration.

3. Dental Materials
The curriculum should provide the dental hygiene student with a sound knowledge base in the science of dental materials. Emphasis should not only be placed on the techniques of manipulating materials but on the reasons specific materials are selected.

Upon completion of the dental materials curriculum, the student will be able to:

  1. Apply principles of professional and ethical behavior when providing additional dental hygiene services.
  2. Accept differences in race and culture in the classroom, laboratory and clinical setting with patients, classmates, and faculty.
  3. Educate the patient about dental procedures involving dental materials and the proper maintenance of restorations and oral prostheses.
  4. Provide a variety of high quality therapeutic and preventive services within the dental hygiene scope of clinical practice that involve selection and manipulation of appropriate dental materials.
  5. Make appropriate clinical judgments in the selection and use of dental materials and their subsequent reaction in the oral environment.

Mastery of the following cognitive areas and psychomotor skills should lead to course competence in dental materials:

  1. Understanding physical, chemical, and biologic properties of specific dental materials.
  2. Relating these properties to the selection, manipulation, and care of dental materials used within the dental hygiene scope of practice.
  3. Recognizing, selecting and applying dental materials used in preventive and therapeutic dental procedures to provide quality patient care.
  4. Demonstrating current, acceptable aseptic and safety procedures in both laboratory and clinical settings when using a given material or providing therapeutic or preventive services.

4. Management of Medical Emergencies
Educational Goal Instruction in the recognition and management of medical emergencies should be sufficient to permit the student to develop an orderly and confident approach to the diagnosis and supportive care of an acutely ill person whose life is endangered.

5. Nutrition
Following curriculum completion the student is expected to:

  1. Identify the function and food sources of nutrients essential to systemic and oral health with an emphasis on the role of nutrition in the development and maintenance of hard and soft oral tissues.
  2. Demonstrate foundational knowledge of nutritional needs throughout the life cycle and the role of nutrition in the prevention and management of both systemic and oral disease.
  3. Demonstrate the implementation of effective approaches to dietary assessment and nutrition counseling in the dental clinic.

6. Oral and Facial Anatomy
Application of the classroom and laboratory knowledge and skills to patient assessment, dental hygiene diagnosis, treatment planning, and provision of health care services is the primary goal of this course. Students should be able to:

  1. Recognize and categorize individual teeth according to morphologic differences observed.
  2. Comprehend the basic relationship between the morphologic characteristics of the teeth and the potential disease processes affecting them and what preventive interventions may accomplish.
  3. Understand the basic principles of occlusion and the variables that play important roles in inter- and intra-arch relationships.
  4. Integrate the functional and anatomical relationships within the head and neck region in the provision of dental hygiene care.
  5. Relate the normal structure of tissues and cells to variations that appear in pathological conditions and disturbances in function and apply this to clinical situations.
  6. Understand the relationship between the oral cavity and head and neck region to the rest of the body.
  7. Apply an understanding of neurobiology to the practice of dental hygiene.
  8. Utilize information and knowledge gained from this course in critically analyzing and developing clinical treatment skills.

7. Pathology
At the completion of the courses in pathology, the student will be able to demonstrate, by both course objective and subjective examination, a knowledge of the language of pathology and a clear understanding of the etiology, pathophysiology, structural, and functional alterations that result from the disease processes included in the curriculum. The student should be able to demonstrate both on written exam and in the clinical setting the application of this information to the practice of dental hygiene.

At the completion of the course in pathology, the student should be able to demonstrate, in both objective and subjective examination format, the knowledge of epidemiology; genetics; etiology; pathogenesis; clinical, radiographic, histologic, and laboratory features; treatment; and prognosis of all conditions covered in the course.
Student assessment should include case simulations and studies or require the student to demonstrate through other means a working knowledge of oral pathology. Students should be able to distinguish between similar clinical conditions and be able to identify those conditions which require alteration of dental hygiene treatment.

To the extent possible, it is recommended that the instructional objectives involve the higher cognitive domains, including application to specific clinical problems and synthesis of new knowledge from basic principles.

8. Peridontology
The primary didactic educational goal of the curriculum is acquisition of knowledge of the biologic basis for periodontal therapy. The primary clinical educational goals are acquisition of disease-recognition skills, the ability to analyze and assess periodontal risk factors and development of clinical skills necessary to perform initial, non-surgical periodontal therapy and maintenance therapy within the concept of a comprehensive dental treatment plan. Concentrated efforts should be made to prepare dental hygienists to provide the full scope of care permitted by state practice acts as well as provide periodontal therapies that are evidence based.

9. Pharmacology
There are three primary goals that must be attained in a course of instruction in pharmacology:

  1. The student must have knowledge of pharmacology sufficient to permit the proper medical evaluation of patients for dental hygiene care.
  2. The student must understand the influences that drugs taken for non-dental purposes may have on a proposed treatment and be able to modify the treatment plan accordingly.
  3. The student must have a thorough understanding of the therapeutic agents used in the routine practice of clinical dentistry and be able to provide the patient with appropriate instructions for compliance.

10. Research
Upon completion of the research curriculum, the student will be able to:

  1. Use critical inquiry and accepted standards for evaluating research trials [such as CONSORT], observational studies [such as MOOSE], and systematic reviews [such as QUOROM], to evaluate current dental, dental hygiene, and health science research on oral health products, techniques , treatment modalities and issues related to disease risk, prevalence and distribution.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the scientific research process and how it applies to oral health investigations.
  3. Propose scientifically sound research approaches to address oral health research questions.
  4. Address the impact of oral health research on society, health care delivery, and the practice of dental hygiene and dentistry.
  5. Advocate the need to understand the importance of and maintain ethical and legal behavior throughout the research process.
  6. Support and participate in research activities that enhance the delivery of optimum oral health services.
  7. Share research findings through educational diaries, oral and poster presentations, report writing, table clinics and articles.

11. Dental Hygiene Care for Special Needs Patients
Upon satisfactory completion of the dental hygiene curriculum, the student will be able to:

  1. Recognize physical, mental, medical, social, and dental needs of people with special needs.
  2. Communicate with individuals with special needs or their caretakers in a positive, appropriate manner. Adapt dental hygiene procedures and treatment plans to meet the needs of the individuals with special needs, taking into consideration needs, barriers, resources, and referrals in keeping with the normalization process.
  3. communicate and interact with other professionals for the purpose of coordinating care.
  4. plan, implement, and evaluate a community-based prevention program for special individuals
  5. evaluate state, regional, or national trends and legislation for their potential impact on provision of dental care.
  6. assess one's professional attitudes, values, and commitment to providing dental care to special individuals.

12. Radiology
Following completion of the curriculum, the student is expected to have an understanding of:

  1. basic principles and concepts of radiation in general and x-radiation in particular.
  2. component parts and workings of the dental x-ray machine and the production of x-rays.
  3. factors affecting the quality of the x-ray beam and the radiographic image.
  4. effects of ionizing radiation on living tissues.
  5. radiation bioeffects, health, and safety.
  6. radiation protection procedures for the operator and the patient.
  7. selection of appropriate radiographic surveys, film types, duplicating, and record keeping.
  8. intraoral techniques for bitewings (horizontal and vertical), occlusal films, and periapicals including currently accepted methods, but emphasizing the paralleling technique for periapicals.
  9. supplementary techniques and patient management including endodontic, localization, edentulous, pedodontic, and techniques for difficult anatomy and patients with disabling conditions.
  10. technique of proper film processing, handling, and record keeping.
  11. appropriate infection control considerations and protocols for radiography.
  12. quality assurance procedures.
  13. viewing techniques and principles of interpretation.
  14. panoramic radiography and other extraoral radiographic techniques with instruction in interpretation as appropriate.
  15. digital imaging
  16. alternate imaging modalities.
  17. appearances of normal radiographic landmarks, artifacts, and shadows.
  18. developmental abnormalities and basic disease processes of teeth and supporting structures.
  19. legal and ethical issues related to dental radiography.

13. Clinical Radiology
Following completion of the curriculum, the student is expected to:

  1. Follow accepted principles of radiation hygiene that are based on an understanding of radiation biology.
  2. Employ the basic principles of radiographic theory.
  3. Employ appropriate methods (including digital radiography, where available) for intra-oral and extra-oral radiography and be capable of modifying procedures to meet specific clinical situations.
  4. Design and utilize a radiographic quality assurance program appropriate for the needs of a specific practice setting.
  5. Utilize critical thinking skills to self-assess and correct technique, exposure and processing errors.
  6. Identify all normal anatomic structures, deviations from normal and artifacts present on intra-oral and extra-oral exposures.
  7. Dental hygiene: Interpret radiographs for health and disease.
  8. Dental hygiene. Appropriately integrate radiographs into the dental hygiene process of care.

14. Ethics and Professionalism
A course in ethics should contribute to the development of individual students who are aware of and sensitized to ethical issues in the practice of dentistry. Acknowledging that a ‘professional’ seeks to exhibit behaviors in the roles of a clinician, change agent, educator, consumer advocate, researcher and administrator, educational experiences in an allied dental professions curriculum should further stimulate the moral obligation and personal responsibility to serve others including patients and the community at large. Providing oral health services, according to acceptable standards of care, should be reinforced across the curriculum with emphasis in both didactic and clinical courses.

In addition to the above competencies for specific topical areas of dental hygiene, activities for skill development in the following will be embedded throughout the curriculum:

Problem solving
Critical thinking
Health and safety concerns/concepts
Regulatory concerns
Health promotion
Cultural diversity
Self-assessment skills
Evaluation of current scientific literature
Interpersonal and communication skills
Evidence-based decision making