The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene is an entry-level dental hygiene program that provides the education required to become a licensed dental hygienist. The program is designed to meet national accreditation standards for dental hygiene education programs and to ensure that students achieve the student learning outcomes.
The program in dental hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.
The BS Degree Dental Hygiene Program at Pacific University prepares students to become dental hygienists who provide compassionate, patient-centered care to diverse patient populations in a variety of health care settings.
Student Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the BS Degree Dental Hygiene Program will demonstrate the following competencies:
- Provide the dental hygiene process of care which includes:
- Assessment – collect and analyze data to determine general and oral health status of patients.
- Diagnosis – identify oral health conditions that can be treated with dental hygiene services.
- Planning – develop a dental hygiene care plan that reflects realistic goals and treatment strategies to promote optimal oral health.
- Implementation – provide patient-centered dental hygiene care based on current standards of practice and emerging scientific research.
- Evaluation – measure the extent to which goals identified in the dental hygiene care plan are achieved.
- Documentation – record complete and accurate information related to patient care.
- Follow protocols to prevent, prepare for and respond to medical emergencies that may occur in dental hygiene practice.
- Provide dental hygiene care for patients of all age groups including children, adolescents, adults and geriatric patients.
- Provide dental hygiene care for patients who exhibit all classifications of periodontal disease including patients who exhibit moderate to severe periodontal disease.
- Provide dental hygiene care for patients with special medical, physical, psychological and social needs.
- Incorporate expanded functions into dental hygiene care including local anesthesia, nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation, gingival curettage and restorative dental procedures.
- Use problem solving strategies to provide comprehensive patient care and effective management of patients.
- Provide dental hygiene care in a variety of settings without the supervision of a dentist.
- Use interpersonal skills and cultural awareness to communicate effectively with diverse population groups including dental patients who speak Spanish.
- Work effectively with patients and providers in a variety of dental and interprofessional health care settings.
- Assess, plan, implement and evaluate community-based oral health programs including health promotion and disease prevention activities.
- Apply legal and regulatory concepts to the provision and support of oral health care services.
- Evaluate current scientific literature to support evidence-based dental hygiene practice.
- Use self-assessment skills to prepare for life-long learning and continuing professional development.
- Demonstrate skills needed to pursue opportunities in clinical practice, public health, education, research, business management, administration, advocacy and leadership.
On-Campus Clinical Facilities
Dental hygiene students receive their basic clinical education in the Pacific Dental Hygiene Clinic located on the Hillsboro Campus of Pacific University. Although patients may call the clinic for appointments, each student is responsible for securing a patient for all scheduled clinic sessions. Students may not provide transportation for their patients.
Dental hygiene students complete clinical enrichment and educational experiences at off-campus affiliation sites. The affiliation sites provide patients for these assignments. Students must provide their own transportation to the affiliation sites.
Senior Capstone Project
All dental hygiene students must successfully complete a Senior Capstone Project in order to graduate from the program. Students choose a public health issue or question, gather background research, conduct a needs assessment, develop and implement a program that addresses the identified needs, evaluate the effectiveness of the program and make recommendations for changes to their program. Most Senior Capstone Projects are community-based and are designed to be sustainable programs that can be continued into the future.
Enrollment is limited and admission is selective. The Admissions Committee considers the following factors when reviewing candidates for admission:
- Strength and breadth of academic record
- Prior dental or health care experience
- Essay questions
- Community and/or college service
- Accuracy, completeness and neatness of application
- Personal interview
Students who complete all prerequisite coursework at Pacific University will be granted preferred admission to the BS Degree Dental Hygiene Program if all other admission requirements for this program are met. Students who do not complete all prerequisite coursework at Pacific University may still qualify for perferred admission if they complete the majority of their prerequisite coursework at Pacific University and receive approval from the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions.
Applicants should submit the following to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Pacific University Dental Hygiene Application (online or paper)
- Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
- TOEFL test scores, if applicable
- Application fee of USD $50
Althernatively, applicants may submit the Dental Hygiene Central Application Service (DHCAS). For more information, contact email@example.com.
Students must complete a minimum of 48 semester credits of prerequisite coursework prior to starting the dental hygiene coursework. The prerequisite coursework may be completed at Pacific University, at another regionally accredited institution, or at a combination of both. Prerequisite coursework must be 100-level or above and must be completed with a grade of C or above. Science courses should be completed within the previous seven years.
Natural Science – 14 semester credits
- Chemistry (with lab)
- Microbiology (lab preferred)
- Human Anatomy & Physiology (full year series with labs)
Communication – 6 semester credits
- English Composition / Writing
- Interpersonal Communication / Speech
Social Sciences – 6 semester credits
Mathematics – 3 semester credits
- College-level Mathematics course (Statistics preferred)
Spanish – 3 semester credits
- Must be at the college-level
Nutrition – 2 semester credits
Medical Terminology – one course
Arts and Humanities – 8 semester credits
- Courses in art, music, theatre, media arts, world language, literature, philosophy, religion, ethics, history, anthropology, gender studies, geography, communication and humanities
Prerequisite Coursework at Pacific University
Students may complete the prerequisite coursework at Pacific University. The prerequisite coursework is offered at the Forest Grove Campus of Pacific University. All prerequisite coursework must be 100-level or above and must be completed with a grade of C or above. Science courses should be completed within the previous seven years.
Students who complete all prerequisite coursework at Pacific University will be granted preferred admission to the BS Degree Dental Hygiene Program if all other admission requirements for this program are met. Students who do not complete all prerequisite coursework at Pacific University may still qualify for preferred admission if they complete the majority of their prerequisite coursework at Pacific University and receive approval from the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions.
A suggested sequence of courses for completing the prerequisite coursework at Pacific University appears below. Students should work closely with the pre-dental hygiene advisor to choose the courses and sequence that best meet their needs.
The BS Degree Dental Hygiene Program is designed as a 2+2 curriculum that includes two years of prerequisite coursework plus two years of dental hygiene coursework. The two years of prerequisite coursework may be completed at Pacific University, at another regionally accredited institution, or at a combination of both. The dental hygiene curriculum and sequence of courses are subject to change. Students must complete the equivalent of 131 semester credits with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or above in order to receive a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene.
||Two Years Prerequisite Coursework
||= 48 semester credits
||Two Years Dental Hygiene Coursework
||= 83 semester credits
||Bachelor of Science Degree Total
||= 131 semester credits
All dental hygiene coursework must be taken in the sequence listed. All dental hygiene courses must be passed with a grade of C or above (or Pass) in order to continue in the program. The dental hygiene coursework is offered at the Hillsboro Campus of Pacific University.