Dental Hygiene

2017-18 Edition

Sylvania Campus
Health Technology Building (HT), Room 206

Health Admissions Office
College Center Building (CC), Room 208

Career and Program Description

A dental hygienist is a licensed oral health care provider who teaches patients how to recognize their oral conditions and how to care for their mouths.  Dental hygienists work in private practices, coordinated care organizations, community clinics and even independently with an Expanded Practice Permit.  A dental hygienist evaluates a patient's mouth and uses those findings to decide on appropriate treatment.  In addition, a dental hygiene provider treats advanced periodontitis (gum disease), performs oral cancer screenings, applies fluorides and sealants, and provides tobacco and nutritional counseling.  Hygienists with a Restorative Endorsement also place restorations (fillings). 

The Dental Hygiene Program offers a two-year curriculum that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The program of study prepares students for the National Board written examination and regional licensure examinations.

Students enrolled in the Dental Hygiene Program will be performing exposure prone procedures and will be required to wear safety glasses, gloves, face masks and protective clothing during all laboratory and clinic activities that produce airborne particulate matter, or expose students to patients during dental procedures. An exposure prone procedure is one in which there is an increased opportunity for the exchange of blood borne pathogens between the patient and the dental health care provider because of the kind of procedure being performed.

Safety policies, procedures and protocols are taught and followed according to OSHA regulations and CDC standards to provide a safe learning and patient care environment. The program policies on Blood borne Pathogens and Infectious Disease are available to applicants upon request. Upon acceptance to the program, extensive training in this area will occur.

Applicants who have an infectious disease or who are carriers of an infectious disease should seek counsel from their physician and the program director prior to application. The college will follow CDC suggested work restrictions for health-care personnel infected with or exposed to major infectious diseases in health care settings, from the CDC’s Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings–2003, available at Table 1, attached to and incorporated by this reference to this policy.

All PCC students enrolled in a health care or child care program, including dental hygiene, with requirements for practical experience of field training may have to pass a Criminal History Check (CHC) and Drug Screen as a condition of their acceptance into a medical or other facility for training.

Students who do not pass the CHC and drug screen may not be eligible to complete training at affiliated practicum sites, to sit for licensing or certification exams, obtain state licensure, or be hired for some professional positions. If you believe that your past history may interfere with your ability to complete the program of study or to obtaining licensure, or certification in your chosen field, you should contact the appropriate state board or program director.

Computer skills: Students must have acquired basic computer skills in word processing and the Internet. It is recommended that this preparation be taken prior to entry. The Dental Hygiene program requires one course of nutrition, communications, sociology and psychology.

Applications are accepted each year from January 1 to April 15 only. Twenty students and twelve alternates will be selected based upon specific admissions criteria. Further information can be obtained from the Dental Sciences Department or the Health Admissions Office:

Health Admissions Office
Sylvania Campus, Building CC, Room 208
Portland Community College
P.O. Box 19000
Portland, Oregon 97280-0990

For additional help call 971-722-4795 or check the website

Degrees and Certificates Offered

Associate of Applied Science Degree

Dental Hygiene

Admission Prerequisites

Academic Prerequisites

  • Completion of the following courses or their equivalents  with a letter grade of "C" or higher are required to be considered for application to the Dental Hygiene Program:
    1. WR 121
    2. MTH 65 or higher
    3. BI 231 and BI 232 sequence with lab. Students planning to transfer dental hygiene course work to a university baccalaureate degree should take BI 231, BI 232, BI 233 and CH 104, CH 105, CH 106
    4. BI 234 with lab (completed within the last seven years
    5. CH 102 or CH 106. These courses are required for entry into the program and may be used to fulfill the AAS General Education requirement.
    6. PSY 101
    7. SOC 204
    8. COMM 111
  • All prerequisite courses must be complete by the end of winter term prior to the application deadline. Courses planned for spring term will not be considered. Pass/No Pass grade is not acceptable in the prerequisite courses.
  • The Dental Hygiene Program is a limited entry program with restricted enrollment.
    • The admissions process is competitive and based on a point system. Applicants with the highest point totals will be accepted. Completing admission requirements and applying to the programs does not guarantee admission. For our current point evaluation sheet please visit Candidates will be notified of their admissions status by the beginning of June.

Other Prerequisites

  • All students are required to be immunized against Hepatitis B as well as evidence of immunity to measles. Tetanus immunization and current tuberculin skin test (TST). Test must be within previous twelve months. Positive TST will require evidence of normal chest x-ray (supply upon acceptance).
  • Valid CPR for the Healthcare Provider Card

Program Requirements

Academic Requirements

  • None

Other Requirements

  • None

Dental Hygiene AAS Degree

Minimum 108 credits. Students must also meet Associate Degree Comprehensive Requirements and Associate of Applied Science Requirements. Students must complete a total of sixteen credits of General Education. Some courses specified within the program may be used as General Education. In addition to required courses in the program of study, students must satisfy MTH 58/65 competency. Students should consult with program advisors for course planning.

Course of Study

The following is a general example of a course of study. Students should consult with a program advisor for course planning.

First TermCredits
DH 101Dental Hygiene Theory I4
DH 104Dental Hygiene Practice I3
DH 113Dental Anatomy2
DH 113LDental Anatomy (Lab)1
DH 121Oral Health Education and Promotion1
DH 127Medical Emergencies2
General Education14
Second Term
DH 102Dental Hygiene Theory II2
DH 105Dental Hygiene Practice II3
DH 109Dental Radiology I2
DH 109LDental Radiology I (Lab)1
DH 128Oral Histology2
DH 228Head and Neck Anatomy2
General Education14
Third Term
DH 103Dental Hygiene Theory III2
DH 106Dental Hygiene Practice III3
DH 110Cariology2
DH 129Oral Pathology3
DH 210Dental Radiology Lab II1
DH 230Dental Materials2
DH 246Pharmacology3
General Education14
Fourth Term
DH 204A2Dental Hygiene Practice IV1
DH 208Community Oral Health I2
DH 240Intro to Dh Restorative Dentistry2
DH 241DH Restorative Dentistry I4
DH 242DH Restorative Dentistry II4
FN 225Nutrition4
General Education14
Fifth Term
DH 201Dental Hygiene Theory IV2
DH 204B2Dental Hygiene Practice IV4
DH 229Local Anesthesia2
DH 243DH Restorative Dentistry III1
DH 252Community Oral Health II2
DH 260Periodontology I2
Sixth Term
DH 202Dental Hygiene Theory V3
DH 205Dental Hygiene Practice V5
DH 236Ethics & Jurisprudence1
DH 244DH Restorative Dentistry IV1
DH 250Research Methods and Issues in Oral Health1
Seventh Term
DH 203Dental Hygiene Theory VI2
DH 206Dental Hygiene Practice VI5
DH 245DH Restorative Dentistry V1
DH 253Community Oral Health III2
 Total Credits: 108

Recommended General Education: COMM 111, PSY 101, SOC 204


 Choose one of the following to fulfill the requirement: (DH 204A and DH 204B) or DH 204.


Students should consult with program advisor for assistance with planning electives.

DH 100Special Dental Hygiene Practice1-5
DH 232Nitrous Oxide Sedation2

DH 100. Special Dental Hygiene Practice. 1-5 Credit.

Clinic experience for dental hygiene students or graduates needing to maintain or enhance clinic skills outside the regularly scheduled clinic sequence, especially in preparation for Board examinations. Instructor permission required.

DH 101. Dental Hygiene Theory I. 4 Credits.

Studies basic dental hygiene procedures, theory and philosophy as applied to direct patient services.

DH 102. Dental Hygiene Theory II. 2 Credits.

Continues on the study of dental hygiene theory and practices, including oral prophylaxis classifications, current non-surgical periodontal therapy, alternative oral physiotherapy aids, dental hygiene process of care and school clinic policies and procedures. Co-requisite: DH 105.

DH 103. Dental Hygiene Theory III. 2 Credits.

Expansion of the concepts of dental hygiene theory to include the more difficult oral conditions and special needs.

DH 104. Dental Hygiene Practice I. 3 Credits.

Applies dental hygiene theory and techniques in a laboratory setting on dental manikins. Work with patients will begin when specified skill levels are reached.

DH 105. Dental Hygiene Practice II. 3 Credits.

Students apply dental hygiene preventive and therapeutic principles while providing patient care in a clinical environment. Patient care includes oral prophylaxis and oral hygiene. Co-requisite: DH 102.

DH 106. Dental Hygiene Practice III. 3 Credits.

Continued clinical activities with increased difficulty in the type and number of cases.

DH 109. Dental Radiology I. 2 Credits.

Covers basic theory of dental radiography. Includes intra-oral techniques with emphasis on radiation safety practices and techniques. Corequisite: DH 109L.

DH 109L. Dental Radiology I (Lab). 1 Credit.

Covers basic theory of dental radiography. Includes intra-oral technique practice on manikins with emphasis on radiation safety practices and techniques. Corequisite: DH 109.

DH 110. Cariology. 2 Credits.

Studies the biological basis for the treatment of dental caries as an infectious disease process. Preventive measures and treatment modalities will be discussed.

DH 113. Dental Anatomy. 2 Credits.

Introduces the study of anatomical characteristics of all permanent and deciduous teeth and their surrounding tissues. Prerequisite/concurrent: DH 113L.

DH 113L. Dental Anatomy (Lab). 1 Credit.

Includes laboratory study and application of anatomic characteristics of all permanent and deciduous teeth and their surrounding tissues. Prerequisite/concurrent: DH 113.

DH 121. Oral Health Education and Promotion. 1 Credit.

Familiarizes the student with selected teaching techniques having direct application to oral health education concepts.

DH 127. Medical Emergencies. 2 Credits.

Study of medical emergencies that occur in the dental office including prevention, recognition and appropriate intervention.

DH 128. Oral Histology. 2 Credits.

Introduces microscopic anatomy and embryology of the oral tissues.

DH 129. Oral Pathology. 3 Credits.

Introduces the study of oral diseases and recognition of conditions that may require consultation and treatment by a dentist prior to, or concurrent with dental hygiene procedures. Prerequisites: DH 128; BI 122 or BI 232.

DH 201. Dental Hygiene Theory IV. 2 Credits.

Dental hygiene theory applied to patients having periodontal disease; instruction includes comprehensive patient management. Co-requisites: DH 204 or DH 204B.

DH 202. Dental Hygiene Theory V. 3 Credits.

Advanced dental hygiene theory applied to patients having moderate to severe periodontal disease and provision of a variety of expanded dental hygiene functions. Co-requisite: DH 205.

DH 203. Dental Hygiene Theory VI. 2 Credits.

Continues dental hygiene theory. Includes the emerging role of the dental hygienist in collaboration with general health providers in alternative settings and independent practice settings. Includes job search skills and stress management.

DH 204A. Dental Hygiene Practice IV. 1 Credit.

Continues clinical activities to include treating beginning periodontal disease and moderate deposit patients. Prerequisites: DH 103 and DH 106.

DH 204B. Dental Hygiene Practice IV. 4 Credits.

Continues clinical activities to include treating moderate periodontal patients and patients with moderate/heavy deposits; activities will correlate to theory lecture course DH 201. Prerequisite: DH 204A. Corequisite: DH 201.

DH 205. Dental Hygiene Practice V. 5 Credits.

Continues clinical activities including treatment of patients having moderate to severe periodontal disease and the provision of dental hygiene expanded functions. Activities correlate to DH 202.

DH 206. Dental Hygiene Practice VI. 5 Credits.

Advanced dental hygiene clinic activities to include all aspects of previous training at increased skill levels. Nitrous oxide sedation included, plus simulated private practice and mock board activities.

DH 208. Community Oral Health I. 2 Credits.

Introduction to national and local public health issues and initiatives for delivering care to varied populations.

DH 210. Dental Radiology Lab II. 1 Credit.

A continuation of DH 109, Dental Radiology I. Course will include provision of basic dental radiographic services to clinic patients including more advanced radiographic techniques.

DH 228. Head and Neck Anatomy. 2 Credits.

Studies the structures and functions of oral anatomy with emphasis on those structures important in the administration of local anesthesia.

DH 229. Local Anesthesia. 2 Credits.

Covers techniques of pain control by the administration of local anesthetics. Prepares student for management of complex clinical clients during advanced dental hygiene procedures.

DH 230. Dental Materials. 2 Credits.

Classification, chemistry, physical properties, and uses of dental materials including manipulation techniques.

DH 232. Nitrous Oxide Sedation. 2 Credits.

Theory and clinical application of nitrous oxide sedation for dental patients as prescribed by the State Dental Practice Acts of Oregon, Washington and California.

DH 236. Ethics & Jurisprudence. 1 Credit.

Studies legal restrictions and ethical responsibilities associated with the practice of dental hygiene and dentistry.

DH 240. Intro to Dh Restorative Dentistry. 2 Credits.

Introduction to four-handed dentistry with an emphasis placed on rubber dam placement, instrument identification, instrument transfer and preparation for assisting a dental restorative operator. Prerequisite: DH 110 and DH 230. Audit available.

DH 241. DH Restorative Dentistry I. 4 Credits.

Introduction to restorative techniques with an emphasis on the preclinical placement of amalgam restoration. Prerequisite: DH 240. Prerequisite/concurrent: DH 242. Audit available.

DH 242. DH Restorative Dentistry II. 4 Credits.

Introduction to restorative techniques with an emphasis on the preclinical placement of composite restorations. Prerequisite: DH 240. Prerequisite/concurrent: DH 241. Audit available.

DH 243. DH Restorative Dentistry III. 1 Credit.

Clinical practice in restorative dentistry and associated procedures as allowed by the Oregon Board of Dentistry. Students will provide a variety of restorative experiences on patients at a beginning skill level under direct supervision of clinic faculty. Prerequisites: DH 241, DH 242. Audit available.

DH 244. DH Restorative Dentistry IV. 1 Credit.

Continues clinical practice in restorative dentistry and associated procedures as allowed by the Oregon Board of Dentistry. Student will provide a variety of restorative experiences on patients at a developing skill level under direct/indirect supervision of clinic faculty. Prerequisite: DH 243. Audit available.

DH 245. DH Restorative Dentistry V. 1 Credit.

Completes the series in clinical practice for restorative dentistry and associated procedures as allowed by the Oregon Board of Dentistry. Student will provide a variety of restorative experiences on patients at a competent skill level under indirect supervision of clinic faculty. Prerequisites: DH 244. Audit available.

DH 246. Pharmacology. 3 Credits.

Introduces various drugs used in the practice of dentistry. Students study nomenclature, classification, dosage, and effects of different pharmacologic compounds.

DH 250. Research Methods and Issues in Oral Health. 1 Credit.

Introduction to epidemiological studies and basic statistics in preparation to critically evaluate evidence-based research of oral health.

DH 252. Community Oral Health II. 2 Credits.

Students utilize public health program planning models to develop and participate with community oral health programs for various populations.

DH 253. Community Oral Health III. 2 Credits.

Covers development, implementation and evaluation of dental health projects in the community. Prerequisites: DH 208 and DH 252.

DH 260. Periodontology I. 2 Credits.

Introduction to the science and management of periodontal diseases. Emphasizes microbial, biochemical and etiological principles. The course will correlate to clinical activities.