Print Version

Effective: Summer 2015

Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU
2 hours lecture. (24 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Given a legal/ethical dilemma the student will apply the Six-Step Decision Making Model and analyze the evidence, legal facts, ethical principles involved and details of the dilemma to reach an appropriate decision.
  • As a capstone project for graduation from the dental hygiene program the student the student will create a final e-portfolio which demonstrates their competency in the four dental hygiene competencies: Dental Hygiene Process of Care, Health Education Strategies, Infection & Hazard Controls, Legal & Ethical Principles.
Description -
Ethics, jurisprudence and practice aspects of dental hygiene practice. Emphasis will be placed on the challenges of providing ethical care in the clinical setting. The laws and regulations effecting the practice of dental hygiene will be analyzed and the scope of practice of dental professionals as outlined by the California Dental Practice Act will be examined. Intended for students in the dental hygiene program.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
Dental Hygiene Process of Care
  1. prepare an appropriate resume and cover letter to accompany the resume.
  2. list successful strategies for enhancing your employment interview.
  3. identify at least ten factors that are important considerations in selecting a practice setting.
  4. discuss the ethical & legal requirements for educating patients/clients about their oral health
Health Education Strategies
  1. discuss the ethical & legal implications of preventive, therapeutic & support DH procedures.
Infection & Hazard Control Procedures
  1. identify infection & hazard control procedures with regard to current ethical guidelines and legal regulations.
Ethical & Legal Principles
  1. compare and contrast significant trends in society and health care that have affected current ethical and legal issues.
  2. identify factors that influence ethical decision making.
  3. recognize and analyze pertinent ethical issues when given dental hygiene case studies and describe ethical resolutions to these problems.
  4. explain the development of the ADHA Code of Ethics.
  5. discuss the relationships between personal and professional ethics.
  6. evaluate the information in the California State Board Dental Practice Act and identify the scope of practice of a dental hygienist.
  7. identify dental practice situations where malpractice might occur and discuss negligence, duty of care, acts of omission or commission, and standard of care.
  8. discuss the ethical & legal requirements for educating patients/clients about their oral health.
  9. demonstrate competency attainment in all the Foothill College Dental Hygiene Competencies as evidenced by final submission of DH program portfolio.
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 -
  1. Internet access when taught as an online or hybrid course.
  2. Library with dental and bioethical journals.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Ethics
    1. Ethical theories and appropriateness for health care.
    2. Factors that influence ethical decision making.
    3. Ethical case study analysis.
    4. ADHA Code of Ethics.
  2. Jurisprudence
    1. Civil Law & Dentistry
      1. contract law
      2. tort law
      3. negligence
      4. liabilities in Dentistry : breach of contract, maligning a patient, permitting a hazard, technical assault, malpractice
    2. Standards of care
      1. informed consent
      2. abandonment
      3. referral
      4. reasonable results
      5. patient privacy
      6. instructions to patients
    3. California Dental Practice Act: Definition of allowable duties and identifying licensing procedures.
      1. licensure
      2. allowable duties
      3. supervision
      4. violations of the Dental Practice Act
        1. BDE's authority to discipline licensees
        2. unprofessional conduct
        3. quality of care
        4. patient relations
        5. drugs
        6. fraud
        7. record keeping
        8. employment & auxilary issues
    4. Other laws & regulations concerning Dentistry
      1. medical waste management
      2. radiation safety
      3. hazardous waste management
      4. Cal-OSHA
  3. Risk Management
    1. Patient Records
      1. guidelines for record entries & documentation
      2. altered records
      3. ownership of records
      4. safeguarding records
      5. retaining records
    2. Risk prevention
      1. professional behavior
      2. communication
      3. safe & comfortable environments
      4. mutual respect
      5. patient complaints
    3. What to do if there is a law suit
  4. Employment Issues for the Dental Hygienist
    1. Writing a resume and cover letter.
    2. The employment interview: preparation, appropriate questions to be asked, locating sources of employment, an employment contract, and employee/employer rights.
    3. Problem solving in the Real World.
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Preparation of a professional employment resume
  2. Written ethical/legal scenario
  3. Ethics & Jurisprudence Examination
  4. e-portfolio submission & final review of DH Competency Portfolio
  5. Participation in online discussion forums
Representative Text(s) -
Darby, Michele, and Walsh, Margaret. Dental Hygiene Theory & Practice. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders, 4th. edition, 2013.
Recommended Text(s):
State of California, Dental Practice Act, State of California Publications, Highlands, CA., current edition.
Kimbrough, Vickie. Ethics, Jurisprudence & Practice Management in Dental Hygiene, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 3rd edition, 2012.
Beemsterboer, Phyllis. Ethics & Law in Dental Hygiene, Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders, 2nd edition, 2010.

Disciplines -
Dental Technology
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture
  2. Discussion
  3. Electronic discussions/chat
  4. e-portfolio
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Weekly reading assignment.
  2. Resume & cover letter
  3. Write paper on problem solving an ethical/legal dilemma.
  4. e-portfolio submission on Dental Hygiene Law & Ethics