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Technical Standards

Admission criteria do not discriminate against persons with handicapping conditions. However, all candidates must meet minimum technical standards to function successfully as students and later as dental hygiene practitioners.

Mental skills

  • Demonstrate adequate mental preparation and ability by:
    • a record of successful academic accomplishment indicating the capability to negotiate the dental hygiene curriculum
    • a record of acceptable accomplishment on a standardized test indicating the ability to utilize background knowledge and synthesis of that knowledge in developing knowledge or creative concepts and/or interpretation
  • Demonstrate communication skills adequate to:
    • speak, hear and observe patients; elicit information; describe changes in mood, activity and posture; perceive nonverbal communication; and convey or exchange information at a level allowing one to develop and record health history
    • identify problems presented by the patient, explain alternative solutions to the problems and give directions during treatment and for post-treatment and home care
    • communicate effectively and efficiently in written and oral form with patients, colleagues, and all members of the health care team, and in written and spoken English in classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings
  • Demonstrate a capability for developing interpersonal skills adequate to manage apprehensive patients with a range of moods and behaviors in a tactful, congenial, personal manner so as not to alienate or antagonize them.
  • Function effectively under stress. Must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients.

Physical skills

  • Demonstrate fine psychomotor skills, coordination, and dexterity adequate to:
    • utilize sharp hand instruments requiring controlled movements of less than one millimeter in order to perform manipulation of dental hygiene instruments in such procedures as exploring, probing, scaling, root planing, polishing, and placement of preventive materials, etc.
    • operate high or low speed dental handpieces during dental hygiene procedures, requiring controlled movements of less than one millimeter
    • operate foot controls utilizing fine movements
  • Demonstrate physical strength and balance adequate to:
    • perform basic life support including CPR
    • position and reposition self around patient and chair in sitting or standing position
    • assist with transferring and positioning disabled patients
    • manage patients who lack motor control
    • position dental equipment including carts and dental chair
    • tolerate physically taxing workloads
  • Demonstrate sensory abilities adequate to:
    • perform visual oral examinations and treatment including use of visual acuity, indirect vision, and color perception; i.e. to discern differences and variation in color, shape and general appearance between normal and abnormal, soft and hard tissues
    • perform oral examinations and treatment utilizing tactile sense to discern differences through variations in shape, pressure and hardness in hard and soft tissues. Tactile sense may be either direct palpation or indirect through instrumentation
    • communicate effectively during patient care