The Dental Hygiene curriculum provides individuals with the knowledge and skills to assess, plan, implement, and evaluate dental hygiene care for the individual and the community.
What is a dental hygienist?
A dental hygienist’s primary functions focus on dental disease prevention and oral health maintenance. In NC, these functions are performed under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist. The clinical dental hygienist collaborates with the dentist in an effort to provide services to the patient that will guide the patient towards optimal oral health.
The AAS Dental Hygiene program, located in the dental hygiene facility building on the main campus, was established and admitted the first class in 1999. The program was last accredited in April of 2014 with no reporting. The next accreditation will be in 2022. The Commission on Dental Accreditation is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The commission can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.
What employment opportunities are available?
Dental hygienists may be employed in a variety of work environments. These include, but are not limited to, private dental offices, hospitals, health departments, government clinics, and correctional facilities at an approximate salary of $30-$40 per hour, depending on location, benefits and experience.
What is the class schedule/length for the Dental Hygiene program?
The core dental hygiene courses are only offered during the day on a full-time basis. The program consists of seven (7) semesters: two (2) semesters to complete the general education/dental prerequisites and five (5) semesters to complete the dental hygiene curriculum. All courses must be taken in the proper sequence, as each course builds on the knowledge gained on the previous courses. Graduates of the program are eligible, with the approval of the Dental Hygiene program director department head, to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and the CITA Examination, as well as other state or regional credentials/licensures. Graduates applying for licensure in NC will be required to undergo a criminal records check and fingerprinting as part of the application process.
Admission into the dental hygiene program is competitive. Applicants must access the Dental Hygiene Admission Packet, read it and refer to it often. Applicants must submit a completed Minimum Admission Requirements (MAR) checklist by the published deadline to be considered for a spot in the program. The MAR submission deadline is published in the packet.
Other options offered through continuing education
Community Dental Health Coordinator - Certificate and Internship Program
The Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC) is a new member of the dental team who fills an important role whether working with a health center or private practice. The CDHC can perform clinical preventive services and community-based outreach duties. The CDHC program provides Dental Assistants II, Certified Dental Assistants (CDA), or Registered Dental Hygienists an opportunity to expand their skills with a practical and theoretical basis for assisting in the reduction of disparities in dental health. Please view the Community Dental Health Coordinator webpage for more information.
Dental Assisting certificate program
The Dental Assisting Certificate program offers classes with minimum requirements to start. A Dental Assistant performs patient examinations, radiographs, and chairside dental procedures. They provide patient education by instructing patients in oral hygiene home care procedures. Please view the Dental Assisting Certificate program webpage for more information.
- Dental Hygiene, AAS
- Community Dental Health Coordinator ( Continuing Education)
- Dental Assisting Certificate ( Continuing Education)
Please see the catalog for more information about the degree option in this curriculum.
Specific deadlines are set for each entering class. Please refer to the current Dental Hygiene Admission Packet for the admission deadline date for the next Dental Hygiene class.
Admission to the Dental Hygiene Program is COMPETITIVE. There is NO waiting list.
Important Admissions Information
» Student Medical Forms (Please do not submit these to CVCC.)
PROGRAM GOALS AND CORE COMPETENCIES
Goal 1: Prepare students to practice their selected profession skillfully, intelligently, ethically, and safely within their legal stated bounds.
1.1 Utilize critical thinking skills to implement the dental hygiene process of care.
1.2 Apply a professional code of ethics in all endeavors
1.3 Utilize methods that ensure the health and safety of the patient and the oral
health professional in the delivery of care
1.4 Adhere to state and federal laws, recommendations, and regulations that govern
Measures of Assessment:
- Clinical Evaluation Form
- Clinical Competencies
- Graduate Surveys
- Employer Surveys
- Feedback from Advisory Committee
- Patient Satisfaction Surveys
Goal 2: Prepare students to practice in a variety of settings with a diverse population.
2.1 Communicate effectively serving all persons without discrimination
2.2 Respect the goals, values, beliefs, and preferences of all patients
2.3 Provide care using an individualized approach tailored to the patient’s needs.
2.4 Provide care in alternative practice settings
Measures of Assessment:
- Clinical Evaluation Form
- Clinical Competencies
- External Site Rotation Reports
Goal 3: Establish the significance of lifelong professional growth and development.
3.1 Use evidence-based decision making to evaluate emerging technology and
3.2 Self-assess to evaluate treatment outcomes
3.3 Access professional and social networks for continuing education opportunities
and to pursue professional goals.
Measures of Assessment:
- Product Evaluation Project
- New Technology Reviews
- Research Article Reviews
- Clinical Self-Assessment Forms
- Participation as Student Members of ADHA
- Professional Development/Community Service Points
Goal 4: Encourage and support faculty development
4.1 Provide for continuing education opportunities
4.2 Encourage involvement in professional organizations
4.3 Encourage higher educational achievement in order to improve classroom and
Measure of Assessment: None needed
Clinical Services: General CVCC Dental Hygiene Clinic Rules
- All cell phones and beepers must be turned off before entering the clinical area. In case of an emergency, patients may be reached by calling the clinic telephone (828) 327-7000, ext. 4164.
- Only the patient is allowed in the clinic treatment area. The only exception will be parents being presented with treatment options before signing consent to treatment and parents being given oral health care instructions for their children.
- Children are not allowed in the clinic area when their parent or guardian is the patient.
- Do not bring infants or small children to the clinic and leave them in the reception area by themselves. Any child in the reception area must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Services provided at the CVCC Dental Hygiene Clinic include taking vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, temperature), performing extra oral and intra oral examinations, providing dental cleanings, exposing and processing radiographs (x-rays), applying topical fluoride, applying pit and fissure sealants, and designing and implementing dental hygiene patient education programs. A licensed dental hygienist and dentist supervise the treatment provided by each student. As a patient, you will receive high quality care at reduced fees in comparison with those found in private dental offices. Treatment at the Dental Hygiene Clinic will take longer to complete than it would in private practice to allow for the clinical instruction of the students. Appointments are usually scheduled 2-3 hours in length and it will frequently take more than one appointment to complete your treatment. The time necessary to complete your dental hygiene treatment depends on the difficulty of your case and the level of the student's skills.
In some instances, a patient may require treatment beyond those services offered at the Dental Hygiene clinic. These treatment needs may include, but are not limited to extractions, fillings, crowns, partial dentures, full dentures, periodontal surgery, and/or braces. In these instances, you will be advised of your need to seek additional treatment. You will be encouraged to visit your family dentist for these necessary treatments and/or referrals.
Interested individuals should contact the Dental Hygiene Clinic at (828) 624-5258 to schedule a an appointment.You may be scheduled with a student or you may be placed on a call list and contacted based on the students' needs. An more extensive examination, specifically outlining your treatment needs, depending on your specific needs, and potentially treatment will take place at your initial appointment.
At the completion of your treatment, you will be advised on how often you should have your teeth cleaned (recare appointment). We may or may not be able to accommodate those needs in the future. You are encouraged to contact the Dental Hygiene Clinic if you wish to schedule a recare appointment. However, you are encouraged to have regular dental checkups at least once a year to assist you in maintaining good oral health.
A parent or legal guardian must accompany individuals under the age of 18 at each appointment. They must remain available to complete/sign forms necessary for treatment to proceed. Children who are not undergoing treatment cannot be left unattended and are not allowed in the clinical areas.
Payment is due at the time of treatment. If you have dental insurance, you will be required to pay all fees to the Dental Hygiene Clinic and file a claim with your insurance carrier. We will complete the dentist statement on your form, however we do not have access to all the different forms used by various insurance companies. You will need to supply the forms available from your employer.
You must give at least 24-hour notice if you are unable to keep any appointment. Broken and canceled appointments may compromise your treatment and will interfere with the student's progress. Patients who fail to keep appointments may be dismissed from the clinic and will be notified in writing of their dismissal.
Free parking for patients is available. You will need to obtain a parking pass at the clinic's front desk and place it in your car to identify your car to our security staff.
If you need additional information, please contact the Dental Hygiene clinic at (828) 624-5258.
Fee schedule/services available:
|Treatment Type||Treatment Cost|
Includes (as needed) Comprehensive Exam,
Scaling, Polishing, Fluoride treatment
|$20 up to $85 (child over 12 and adults)|
Includes (as needed) Comprehensive Exam,
Scaling, Polishing, Fluoride treatment
|$15 (child age 12 or under)|
|Radiographs - 2 Bitewings||$5.00|
|Radiographs - 4 Bitewings||$10.00|
|Radiographs - 7 Bitewings||$15.00|
|Radiographs - Full Series||$25.00|
|Radiographs - Panoramic||$25.00|
|Sealants||$5.00 per tooth|
The comprehensive exam payment of $20.00 or $15.00 is due at the first appointment. If you have dental insurance, you will be required to pay all fees to the CVCC Dental Hygiene Clinic and file the claim with your insurance carrier. Cash and local checks are accepted (no bills accepted larger than $50). We do not accept credit cards or debit cards.
Your Rights As A Patient
As a patient at CVCC's Dental Hygiene Clinic:
- You have the right to confidentiality with regards to personal information, medical information, dental information, and dental services needed.
- You have the right to considerate and respectful treatment.
- You have the right to a thorough assessment of your dental hygiene and needs.
- You have the right to a clear explanation of your dental hygiene needs, treatment options, cost, treatment outcomes, and time commitment required to meet these needs.
- All treatment offered will be within the scope of a dental hygiene teaching clinic.
- You will be advised of dental treatment needs beyond what is available at our facility.
- Referrals will be made to the appropriate health care professionals if additional treatment is needed.
- You have the right to decline any treatment offered; however, you will be advised of the risk involved in declining treatment.
- You have the right to receive treatment that meets the standards of care of the dental hygiene profession.
- You have the right to receive treatment on a reasonable schedule based on the student's skill level and the clinic's schedule.
- You have the right to have copies of your dental radiographs and dental records sent to your personal dentist.
- You have the right to receive education on oral health care that meets your needs and will help you maintain your oral health.
Your Responsibilities As A Patient
- You must provide accurate and complete information regarding your health history including changes in your health history over the course of treatment.
- You must make arrangements to stay for the entire length of the appointment. Appointments are usually 2 ½ hours long, unless the student has made arrangements with you for a shorter appointment.
- Because this is a teaching clinic, it takes time for students to perfect their skills and for instructors to check and grade their performance.
- Treatment will require a much longer period of time and more appointments than it would in a regular dental office.
- You must keep your scheduled appointments and be on time. The student is depending on you to meet requirements needed to pass the course. If you fail to show up for an appointment or come in late you are jeopardizing the student's learning experience and grade.
- You must inform the student in a timely fashion if you are unable to keep an appointment. Barring emergencies, appointment cancellations should be made at least 24 hours prior to the appointment. Call (828) 327-7000, ext. 4162 for cancellations.
- You must pay the required fees for treatment as soon as a treatment plan is presented to you.
- The student will explain the fees based on the clinic's fee schedule.
- A receipt for payment will be provided to you for tax and/or insurance purposes.
- You are responsible for filing any insurance papers with your insurer.
- You must be an active participant in maintaining and improving your oral health by following the student's instructions for home care. You and the student are partners with equal responsibility in achieving this goal.
If you are the parent or guardian of a minor (under 18 years of age):
- You must be present to complete the medical and dental history and to give written consent for treatment.
- For children under 12:
- It is required that the parent or guardian stay in the waiting room until treatment is completed for the day.
- The parent may be present in the clinic area as the child is given oral care instructions specific to the child.
- For children over 12, if you have to leave the waiting room area to run errands or other activities, please leave a telephone number where you can be reached.
- If you cannot accompany your child to the clinic, you MUST fill out the CVCC Dental Hygiene Permission Slip to allow a third party to be responsible for your child and give permission for treatment. The form is available from the clinic's receptionist.
Scope of Practice
Scope of Practice
In the dental hygiene program, the student will learn to evaluate patients' oral health, recognize oral diseases, prepare patient-centered treatment plans, apply best practices in dentistry to diverse populations and utilize collaboration with other health professionals. The student will learn about the practices of ethics in relation to patient confidentiality and state and national laws, as well as demonstrate the clinical skills necessary to provide preventive oral health care and determine periodontal classifications to diverse populations, medically compromised patients, and those with special needs in an efficient and effective manner, employing appropriate infection control measures. The student will also learn foundational knowledge, such as orofacial anatomy, periodontology, infection control techniques, obtaining patient histories, dental procedure coding, medical emergency response, and dental health and pharmacology overviews.
Graduates of the dental hygiene program are eligible for state, national, and regional examinations for licensure to work in private dental offices, public health agencies, state and federal institutions, educational facilities, marketing and sales, and research facilities. The North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners requires dental hygiene licensure candidates to include a social security number as a part of the licensure application.
Catawba Valley Community College does not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities and will attempt to provide reasonable accommodations as required by law. The following activities are examples of the kind of activities which a student in the Dental Hygiene program will be required to perform in order to successfully complete the program. If an accepted applicant believes that he or she cannot meet one or more of the standards without accommodations, the applicant should consult the counselor of the program for student with disabilities.
|Occupational Exposure||The dental hygiene student may be exposed to communicable diseases, body fluids, toxic substances, latex, and medicinal preparations. Students shall use appropriate precautions at all times.||Provide care, using standard precaution, for a client/patient with a communicable disease.|
|Communication Skills||Written, verbal, and auditory communication skills to permit effective interaction with others.||Communicate with staff members, patients, and other students while wearing high filtration masks. Ascertain medical/dental history information. Monitor patient needs during treatment. Provide individualized homecare instructions.|
|Visual||Visual acuity sufficient to read medical information and assess dental conditions.||Annotate chart entries on paper and/or computerized medical records. Assess intraoral conditions. Interpret dental radiographs.|
|Mobility||Sufficient mobility to maneuver in small areas.||Access patient within confines of dental operatory and radiographic room, which involves a variety of sitting and; standing positions, including bending, twisting, and reaching. Access darkroom for development of radiographs.|
|Motor Skills||Fine and gross motor skills sufficient to perform complex psychomotor tasks||Exploring and scaling teeth with small diameter instruments. Manipulating power-driven instruments. Placing dental radiographs.|
|Cognitive/Critical Thinking||Cognitive ability sufficient to recognize deviations from normal, co-diagnose, and plan treatment.||Respond quickly and appropriately to medical emergencies. Utilize assessment information to identify pathology, individualize treatment, and suggest referral when necessary.|
Please note: Examples are not all inclusive.
This program may put you at risk for occupational exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials/fluids as the result of work assignments that you will perform during the course of your studies. Therefore, as a student in this program, you will be classified according to OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030 as having exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Under the Standard, you will be classified as performing Category/Task I procedures/tasks and/or skills. You may assist with and/or provide patient care and/or treatment to patients with bloodborne infectious diseases, such as Hepatitis (e.g. Hep, B, C, D) HIV/AIDS, and other infectious diseases transmitted through direct/indirect contact, airborne, or droplet/respiratory transmission (e.g.. Hep. A, Herpes, Cold, Flu, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Pertussis [Whooping Cough), Chickenpox, Tuberculosis, SARS, Legionella pneumophilia (Legionnaire’s Disease) MRSA, etc.]. The Americans with Disabilities Act forbids discrimination against patients with HIV; therefore, you are required to treat all patients assigned, regardless of the known/unknown disease state of the patient. Refusal to treat any patient may affect your academic success. You will be required to practice established infection control protocols and adhere to all Standard Precautions, OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, and CDC Infection Control Guidelines for Medical/Dental Healthcare Settings, NC State Laws, and individual program Infection Control Protocols.
If you have a disability and need accommodations, please contact the Counselor/Students with Disabilities Program at least 72 hours in advance at (828) 327-7000, ext. 4222 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dental Hygiene: Career Outlook
For more information about the Dental Hygiene program, contact:
For questions regarding admissions requirements, contact:
(828) 327-7000, ext. 4216