Print Version

Effective: Winter 2012

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: Admission to Dental Hygiene Program.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU
1 hour lecture, 12 hours laboratory. (156 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • The student will correctly demonstrate dental hygiene assessment procedure skills on a student partner including: review of health, dental history vital signs, extraoral/ intraoral examination, periodontal examination, caries examination, classify occlusion.
  • The student will identify a variety of dental hygiene assessment instruments, the proper use of each type, and the correct adaptation and use of explorers and periodontal probes
Description -
The first in a seven-course series in dental hygiene clinical practices. Integrates the scientific and clinical principles underlying the practice of dental hygiene. Clinical procedures and techniques for patient assessment, including prevention of disease transmission, health history, extra-intraoral examination, gingival evaluation and periodontal examination are taught in a pre-clinical setting. Students will work on typodonts and classmates. The course requires evaluation of clinical performance through demonstration of skill acquisition and level of competency. Field experiences reinforce and amplify the knowledge and skills needed to perform dental hygiene procedures in the clinical setting. Intended for students in the dental hygiene program.

Course Objectives -
Upon satisfactory completion of DH 54 the student will be able to:
Dental Hygiene Process of Care
  1. correctly use dental terminology when communicating through oral and written means to faculty and fellow classmates
  2. take a thorough health history and determine conditions which require special appointment planning, antibiotic premedication, medical consultation, and/or physician referral.
  3. identify & use the sections of drug references to research medications used by patients.
  4. demonstrate the correct technique for taking blood pressure, pulse, and respiration.
  5. perform an extra/intraoral examination identifying both normal and abnormal structures of the oral cavity, head and neck regions, and conditions that may need consultation or biopsy.
  6. describe atypical findings of the head, neck, and oral cavity according to size, color, type of lesion, location, and duration and record findings in the patient chart according to clinic protocol.
  7. describe the appearance of the gingiva according to its color, contour, consistency, and surface texture.
  8. distinguish healthy from unhealthy gingiva using color, contour consistency, surface texture, and probing depth as a guide.
  9. perform a periodontal charting recording: probing depth and recession.
  10. demonstrate correct patient/operator positioning , and the proper use of the mouth mirror, probe, and explorer including: proper grasp, angulation, and adaptation to the tooth.
  11. explain the procedure for proper use of the mouth mirror, probes, and explorers including: proper grasp, angulation, and adaptation to the tooth surface.
  12. apply the principles of instrumentation for proper use of the mouth mirror, probes, explorers including: proper grasp, working angulation, and adaptation to the tooth, without causing trauma to tissues.
  13. deliver a case presentation to an instructor highlighting significant findings from your student partners' medical history, dental history, personal/social history, extra/intraoral examination, gingival evaluation, and periodontal evaluation.

Health Education Strategies
  1. observe assessment procedures, infection control procedures and oral hygiene instruction procedures in field experiences
  2. exhibit sensitivity to individual's emotions, needs, rights, and comforts with emphasis on the influence of cultural, psychosocial, and other factors.
  3. become familiar with professional dental hygiene organizations by attending meetings.
  4. participate in community oral health programs as a dental hygiene student volunteer.

Infection & Hazard Control Procedures
  1. utilize appropriate infection control procedures for the dental setting including: prevention of cross contamination, disinfection of the operatory, and sterilization of instruments.
  2. make informed choices regarding appropriate precleaning, disinfection, and sterilization procedures.
  3. operate the autoclave and dry heat oven, and monitor their effectiveness with the use of a spore test.
  4. value the need for consistently applying all infection control procedures in the clinical setting.

Ethical & Legal Principles
  1. accuracy record data in a patient's chart according to clinic protocol.
  2. exhibit professionalism in his/her behavior, dress and correspondence with faculty and fellow classmates.
  3. maintain the patient's privacy during all phases of the dental hygiene process.
  4. understand & adhere to the ethical & legal principals involved when performing dental hygiene assessment procedures.
  5. identify the allowable duties and level of supervision under the California Dental Practice Act for the dental hygienists.

Foothill College Dental Hygiene Program Competencies
Our graduates will be competent:
  1. in assessing the oral health needs of diverse populations and providing comprehensive dental hygiene care for persons of all ages/stages of life.
  2. in health education strategies for the prevention of disease & the promotion of health for individual clients and the community.
  3. in infection & hazard control procedures to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases.
  4. in the ethical & legal principles underlying the practice of dental hygiene.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
Dental hygiene clinic, student instrument kit, clinic gown, barriers for the dental unit. Multimedia classroom & equipment for demonstrations, videos on assessment & instrumentation techniques.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Preparation for Patient Care
    1. Operation and maintenance of the dental unit
    2. Patient/operator positioning
  2. Clinical Procedures for Patient Assessment
    1. Procedures for preventing cross contamination in the dental environment
    2. Procedures for completing and writing up the health history form
    3. Procedure for taking vital signs
    4. Procedure for performing the gingival evaluation
    5. Procedure for performing and recording the periodontal examination
    6. Procedure for performing and recording the extra-intraoral examination
    7. Procedure for completing the treatment record
  3. Basic Principles of Instrumentation
    1. The use of the dental light, compressed air, and mouth mirror.
    2. Basic components of instrument design.
    3. The use of periodontal probes.
    4. The use of dental explorers.
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Clinic observations, community service projects, professional meeting attendance with log of activities and reflection paper
  2. Clinical Midterm
  3. Clinical Final
  4. Professionalism
  5. Quizzes
Representative Text(s) -
Darby, M. & Walsh, M., Dental Hygiene Theory & Practice, 3rd. edition, W.B. Saunders Co; Philadelphia, PA.: W.B. Saunders, 2010.
Pickett, F., Dental Drug Reference, 2nd. edition, Philadelphia, PA, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2009.
Nield-Gehrig, J. Willman,D., Fundaments of Periodontics for the Dental Hygienist, 6th edition, Philadelphia, PA, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2008.
Spragge, P. Dental Hygiene 54 Course Syllabus. Los Altos Hills, current edition, 2010.
Spragge, P. Foothill College Clinic Manual. Los Altos Hills, current edition.

Disciplines -
Dental Hygiene
Method of Instruction -
Lecture, Discussion, Cooperative learning exercises, Field work, Laboratory, Demonstration, Community service,
Lab Content -
Clinic practice of assessment skills for the dental hygienist. Field experience observations, attendance at professional dental hygiene meetings & community service.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
Weekly reading assignments.
Paper on community service, professional meetings and observations.