• Dental Hygiene General Program Information

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    The Dental Hygiene program at MHCC offers in-depth instruction of basic and dental sciences integrated with instruction and broad clinical experiences in dental hygiene therapy and dental procedures. Highly qualified instructors have years of experience in the dental and dental hygiene profession. The dental hygiene clinic is equipped with contemporary dental chairs and delivery systems, a digital panoramic and intraoral radiology system, an intraoral camera, and electronic dental record software. Education and preparation to qualify for all Oregon and many regional licensing, permits, and endorsements is included in the curriculum; this includes administering local anesthesia, nitrous oxide sedation, and providing both amalgam and composite restorative care. Most graduates also hold Expanded Practice Permits.

    The program is seven quarters in length, leading to an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. Academic instruction in basic and dental sciences is integrated with coursework in dental hygiene therapy, expanded functions, restorative dental procedures and practicums in clinical settings to provide a total learning experience for the dental hygiene student. Having completed the program and passed National and Regional Clinical Board examinations for dental hygienists, the graduate can be licensed to practice in many states. Some institutions and agencies require a baccalaureate degree for employment. To this end, many courses in the Mt. Hood Community College dental hygiene curriculum are transferable to four-year colleges and can be applied toward a bachelor’s degree; the program currently articulates with Oregon Institute of Technology for a dental hygiene bachelor’s degree completion and with Portland State University for a BA or BS in Health Studies: Health Science.


     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 Commission's web address is: http://www.ada.org/en/coda.

    Program Outcomes

    At the completion of this program, the student should be able to:

    • Develop appropriate decision making skills and utilize professional judgment, conduct and ethics to provide optimum patient care
    • Effectively assess, diagnose, plan, implement, evaluate, and document current dental hygiene services
    • Promote innovative approaches to problem solving and critical thinking that stimulate independence and responsibility
    • Work effectively with diverse populations as members of the healthcare team
    • Actively participate and lead in community activities and professional associations

    Program Completion, Licensure, and Employment

    The program has an excellent record for successful completion and licensure; graduates report positive employment statistics, particularly in the current employment climate. The program receives calls from around the region every spring asking for our graduates, and many graduate with jobs waiting for them. Salaries vary and are commensurate with experience and scope of responsibilities.

    Personal Aptitude

    The personal requirements necessary to succeed as a dental hygienist begin with a strong belief in the importance of good oral health and include an aptitude for the biological sciences. Of prime importance are critical thinking skills, high ethical standards, a genuine interest in science and an ability to work with people.
    See also Essential Functions and Code of Ethics.