As is the case for all programs within the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry, the Dental Hygiene Program strives to be a global leader in our field, focusing on evidence-based practice while creating an environment of innovation, dynamism, and diversity. Similarly, the Program shares the School of Dentistry’s commitment to values that reflect distinguishing features of our program, most notably:
THE MISSION OF THE DENTAL HYGIENE PROGRAM is to:
Educate individuals who will be professionally competent to provide quality preventive oral health care in an evolving profession;
Provide culturally aware, patient-centered, quality care within the context of an efficient clinical model that demonstrates the highest standards of service achievable;
Provide opportunities for inter-professional and community-based oral health education and health promotion in a variety of settings.
Apply principles of critical thinking and evidence-based decision making to all aspects of dental hygiene practice.
Articulate the value of continued competence, lifelong learning and pursuit of advanced degrees.
Our purpose is to help people lead healthy lives.
We grow and inspire a diverse community of learners through our humanistic culture. Building on a distinguished tradition, we provide exceptional education; offer personalized quality patient care; support collaborative research; and foster commitment to service.
The Study of Dental Hygiene
The dental hygiene course of study is a professional program where students learn to provide preventive clinical care for patients with emphasis on recognition, treatment, and prevention of oral diseases. In addition to performing a variety of preventive and therapeutic functions, the dental hygienist also has a major role in counseling and educating patients, community groups, and other health professionals. The curriculum helps students build the educational, communication, and clinical skills necessary to work in co-therapy with the dental team.
Admission to the Dental Hygiene Program is competitive and based on merit. Students may apply either as a freshman student, doing prerequisite coursework at Pacific, or as a transfer student, completing prerequisites at another institution. After review of the completed application, the Office of Admissions will invite qualified candidates to participate in interviews on campus. In addition to a personal interview, applicants are invited to take part in orientation and financial aid seminars, meet informally with current students, and tour the campus. Admission will be based on the combination of application information and interview.
Please click here to see detailed admissions information.
GPA: Special emphasis is placed on coursework selected, the grades achieved in those courses, and the cumulative grade point average.
SAT or ACT Exams: The Admissions Committee reviews the results of the student’s SAT or ACT scores only for freshman admission.
Essay: An essay may be required of University applicants.
Recommendation: Two letters of recommendation are required. They may be from a faculty member, counselor or advisor or from health care or job related professionals.
Dental Experience: Job shadowing (20 hours) or dental office employment are expected so that the applicant is familiar with the role of the practicing dental hygienist.
Extracurricular Activities: Other factors considered (but not required) in selecting the class include community service and involvement and volunteer activities.
Transfer Student Application:
Transfer application deadline for entry into the program is August 1 for the following spring semester. Applicants are notified by December 1. SAT or ACT exam scores are NOT required.
Sixty-four units of lower division college courses that are Pacific transferable and include the following prerequisites or equivalents are required:
- General Biology and lab (one semester or 2 quarters) must articulate to Pacific BIOL 061
- General Chemistry and lab (2 semesters or 3 quarters) must articulate to Pacific CHEM 025 and CHEM 027 and include content in biochemistry.
- Microbiology (minimum of one 3 unit semester course or one 4 unit quarter class).The course may articulate to Pacific BIOL 145 but other microbiology courses are accepted. All Microbiology courses must include a lab.
- General (Introductory) Psychology (minimum of one 3 unit semester course or one 4 unit quarter class) must articulate to Pacific PSYC 031
- Introductory Sociology (minimum of one 3 unit semester course or one 4 unit quarter class) must articulate to Pacific SOCI 051
- Mathematics (Statistics) (minimum of one 3 unit semester course or one 4 unit quarter class) must articulate to Pacific MATH 035 or MATH 037
- English Composition (minimum of one 3 unit semester course or one 4 unit quarter class) must articulate to Pacific ENGL 025 or WRIT 021
- Communication (Speech) (minimum of one 3 unit semester course or one 4 unit quarter class) must articulate to Pacific COMM 027
- Anatomy and Physiology (2 semesters or 4 quarters) must articulate to Pacific BIOL 170 and BIOL 180. Separate Anatomy and Physiology courses are required and all courses must include a lab.
- Elective courses should be added so that the total units equal 64 semester units or more.
- One course that must articulate with Pacific General Education Category I-C Societies and Cultures Outside the United States
- One course that must articulate with Pacific General Education Category II–B Fundamental Concerns
- One course that must articulate with Pacific General Education Category II–C Practice and Perspectives in the Visual and Performing Arts or another course in the II-B category
For applicants with a baccalaureate degree, the GE course requirement is waived.
Prior to entry into the professional portion of the program (final 4 semesters), health requirements must be met and documentation submitted to the University’s Cowell Wellness Center as follows:
- Medical Examination: Following acceptance for admission, students submit the University’s “Entrance History and Physical,” form signed by a physician which confirms that a medical examination was completed within 3 months of the date of matriculation into the professional portion of the Dental Hygiene program. Current Pacific students who submitted a physical exam form upon matriculation, do not require another physical.
- Measles, Rubella (German Measles), and Mumps: Students provide documentation of presence of positive titres. Documented vaccination with two dose series MMR given one month apart with live attenuated measles and rubella virus is adequate. A history of measles and rubella as childhood diseases is not sufficient.
- Tuberculosis: ALL Students must submit the report of a two-step PPD tuberculosis skin test done within 3 months of entering professional program. With a history of tuberculosis OR a positive skin test, students submit the physician’s report of a chest X-ray taken within the year prior to matriculation. Chest X-rays may be required at intervals, and suppressive medication may be recommended.
- Hepatitis B: Every student is required to submit documented proof of presence of antibodies to the Hepatitis B virus or to complete the Hepatitis B three-dose vaccination series and Hepatitis B antigen test at least one month after completion of series. It is recommended that this be done prior to matriculation; in all cases, however, it must be done before a student is allowed to treat patients which occurs in the first month of the program. If a student does not have documented proof of having antibodies to this virus, the vaccination series is available at the school for a fee.
- Tetanus Diphtheria (Tdap)Vaccination is required within past 10 years.
- Varivax (Chicken Pox) Students provide documentation of 2 dose vaccination series or presence of titer if history of having chicken pox.
- Influenza vaccine is required each year of enrollment
Inquiries about health requirements and supporting documentation are handled through the University’s Cowell Wellness Center (209) 946-2315.
The bachelor of science degree in dental hygiene is a professional program presented in an accelerated year-round format of eight semesters including summer sessions. Students accepted into the program as freshmen complete all sessions with the University. Transfer level program entrants, with prerequisites fulfilled, complete the final four semesters of professional coursework only.
Program applicants must complete prerequisite general education courses either at Pacific or another institution to provide a strong science background, and a broad base in the humanities. The prerequisites are designed to strengthen dental hygiene science and clinical practice. Students undertake this portion of their course work, in the College of the Pacific, with the general undergraduate student population on the main campus. The student must maintain a 2.7 GPA or better in lower division coursework and a grade of C or higher in all science courses to be considered for the professional portion of the program.
The professional portion of the program is a highly structured four consecutive semesters of upper division coursework that includes both didactic and clinical experience. This portion of the program is presented by the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, Dental Hygiene Program on the San Francisco campus.
Dental Hygiene Licensure
Completion of the program enables graduates to take national and regional or state licensure examinations. For California examination information contact:
Dental Hygiene Board of California
2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 2050
Sacramento, CA 95815
General Education Curriculum
|CORE 001||Problem Solving & Oral Comm||3|
|CORE 002||Writing and Critical Thinking||4|
|General Education: (4 units) General Education Worldviews & Ethics or Artistic Proc & Creation||4|
|BIOL 061||Principles of Biology||5|
|BIOL 170||Human Anatomy||5|
|BIOL 180||Human Physiology||5|
|CHEM 025||General Chemistry||5|
|CHEM 027||General Chemistry||5|
|CHEM 033||Elements of Organic Chemistry||3|
|COMM 027||Public Speaking||3|
|ENGL 025||English 25||4|
|MATH 035||Elementary Statistical Inference||3-4|
|or MATH 037||Introduction to Statistics and Probability|
|PSYC 031||Introduction to Psychology||4|
|SOCI 051||Introduction to Sociology||4|
Dental Hygiene Curriculum
|DHYG 110||Oral Health Education||1|
|DHYG 111||Head and Neck Anatomy||2|
|DHYG 112||Dental Anatomy||2|
|DHYG 113||Oral Radiology Lecture||1|
|DHYG 114||Oral Histology and Embryology||2|
|DHYG 115||Dental Hygiene Practice||3|
|DHYG 116||Pre-Clinical Dental Hygiene||3|
|DHYG 118||Oral Radiology Lab||1|
|DHYG 120||Periodontics I||2|
|DHYG 123||Medical and Dental Emergencies I||1|
|DHYG 124||Local Anesthesia/Pain Management||2|
|DHYG 125||Dental Hygiene Clinic I||2|
|DHYG 126||Dental Hygiene Clinic I||5|
|DHYG 130||Periodontics II||2|
|DHYG 131||Community Oral Health and Research||4|
|DHYG 132||Patient Management/Special Needs||2|
|DHYG 133||Medical and Dental Emergencies II||1|
|DHYG 135||Dental Hygiene Clinic II||2|
|DHYG 136||Dental Hygiene Clinic II||7|
|DHYG 141||Dental Materials||2|
|DHYG 142||Ethics and Jurisprudence||2|
|DHYG 143||Biochemistry and Nutrition||2|
|DHYG 144||Senior Project||3|
|DHYG 145||Dental Hygiene Practice III||2|
|DHYG 146||Dental Hygiene Clinical Practice III||7|
DHYG 110. Oral Health Education. 1 Unit.
Students are introduced to principles and practices of prevention and control of dental disease. The course emphasizes oral health promotion, to include plaque control, patient education and behavior modification.
DHYG 111. Head and Neck Anatomy. 2 Units.
This course is designed to expand student knowledge of the anatomical structures of the head and neck. Students examine clinical correlations relevant for dental professionals.
DHYG 112. Dental Anatomy. 2 Units.
Students study dental terminology, tooth morphology and the relationship of teeth in form and function to each other and to supporting structures. Root morphology, hard tissue charting, occlusion and dental anomalies correlated to basic clinical applications.
DHYG 113. Oral Radiology Lecture. 1 Unit.
This course is designed to examine the fundamentals of dental radiography. Topics include history, principles, legal considerations, and radiation safety. Clinical applications include exposure technique, film processing, preparing and interpreting dental radiographs. Students learn how to correct technical errors.
DHYG 114. Oral Histology and Embryology. 2 Units.
This course offers lectures, clinical examples, classroom discussions and slide materials designed to help students develop a knowledge of oral histology and embryology that is applied to the clinical practice of dental hygiene.
DHYG 115. Dental Hygiene Practice. 3 Units.
Students are introduced to the contemporary role of the dental hygienist, the evolving profession of dental hygiene, and procedures and techniques that are utilized in the dental hygiene process of care. Emphasis is placed on development of a comprehensive medical and dental database and history, diagnostic tools, oral cancer examination, clinical systems and protocol, infection control, basic instrumentation and polishing, and patient communication.
DHYG 116. Pre-Clinical Dental Hygiene. 3 Units.
This course provides the opportunity for application of the information presented concurrently in DHYG 115. Students practice infection control, vital signs, oral cancer examination, instrumentation and other clinical skills using manikins and student partners.
DHYG 118. Oral Radiology Lab. 1 Unit.
Clinical applications of the concepts delivered in DHYG 113 take place during the laboratory experience. Content includes radiographic exposure technique, film processing, preparing and interpreting film and digital radiographs, and correcting of technical errors.
DHYG 120. Periodontics I. 2 Units.
Students are introduced to periodontology. Emphasis is placed on etiology, histology and epidemiology, diagnosis and classification of periodontal disease. Principles of periodontal disease preventive therapy, treatment planning, reassessment and supportive periodontal therapy are also introduced. Students learn under which circumstances referral to periodontal specialty practices is appropriate. Prerequisite: Admission into the Baccalaureate Dental Hygiene program.
DHYG 121. Pharmacology. 3 Units.
This course is designed to classify and study therapeutic agents commonly encountered and/or utilized in the practice of dentistry. Students learn chemical and physical properties, therapeutic effects, methods of administration, dosage, contraindications and side effects of these agents.
DHYG 122. Pathology. 3 Units.
Students study the etiology, pathogenesis, and clinical features of diseases. Students learn to recognize basic tissue, reactions and lesions and describe them using professional medical terminology, and through data collection, learn to assist in the preliminary diagnosis of oral conditions. Emphasis is placed on lesions that occur in the oral and maxillofacial regions. However, general pathology introductions necessary to understand the pathologic processes of oral lesions and conditions will be discussed. Common systemic diseases that may manifest in the mouth or impact oral healthcare delivery will also be presented. Prerequisite: Admission to the Dental Hygiene Program.
DHYG 123. Medical and Dental Emergencies I. 1 Unit.
Students learn basic methods of medical and dental emergency prevention and management in the dental office. Emphasis is on recognizing signs, symptoms, and treatment of the more common emergencies which may occur in the dental setting. Drugs and equipment that are utilized in the management of medical emergencies are outlined. Students are trained in Basic Life Support Systems (BLS).
DHYG 124. Local Anesthesia/Pain Management. 2 Units.
Students examine comprehensive information and skills that provide comfortable dental treatment. Local anesthesia and nitrous oxide-oxygen administration are explained and practiced.
DHYG 125. Dental Hygiene Clinic I. 2 Units.
This lecture/lab course is designed to provide students lecture and lab experience in the dental hygiene process of care for child, adolescent, adult and geriatric patients. Promotion of oral health and wellness is stressed through lecture and case studies. The principles, rationale and application of sealants and glass ionomers, area specific curets, advanced fulcrums, piezo and magnetostrictive ultrasonic scaling, air-powder polishing and desensitizing products are discussed as well as cariology and fluoride delivery options. Students integrate knowledge and skills developed in DHYG 110, DHYG 115, DHYG 116 and concurrent course DHYG 120.
DHYG 126. Dental Hygiene Clinic I. 5 Units.
This clinic course is designed to provide students beginning clinical experience in the treatment of child, adolescent, adult, and geriatric patients. Promotion of oral health and wellness is stressed through clinical experiences in: patient assessment, dental hygiene care treatment planning, case presentation and implementation and evaluation of treatment outcomes. The principles, rationale and application of sealants and glass ionomers, the use of ultrasonic scaling, area specific curets, advanced fulcrums, desensitizing products and other treatment modalities are implemented. Cariology considerations and additional fluoride delivery options are also discussed and implemented for patient care. Students integrate knowledge and skills developed in previous courses. Pertains to DHYG 126A, DHYG 126B, and DHYG 126C which implements the information learned in the concurrent courses: DHYG 125A, DHYG 125B and DHYG 125C.
DHYG 130. Periodontics II. 2 Units.
This course is designed to enable students to enhance and develop knowledge and skills applicable in the treatment of patients with advanced periodontal disease. Concepts and treatment techniques of surgical and non-surgical periodontal therapy are stressed.
DHYG 131. Community Oral Health and Research. 4 Units.
This course is designed to enable students to examine the principles and practices of oral health in diverse public health settings. Emphasis is placed on the role of the dental hygienist as an innovator and educator in community dental health programs with consideration to needs assessment, research study utilization, biostatistic application, program planning, and results evaluation. The social and professional responsibility of the dental professional with regard to public promotion of oral health and access to care is examined. Students design and implement a community-based research project that culminates in a class presentation and may be submitted in to the professional association's table clinic competition.
DHYG 132. Patient Management/Special Needs. 2 Units.
This course is designed to enlighten the viewer to the world of people with special needs, the issues they face, the programs in place to help them, and dental treatment modalities.
DHYG 133. Medical and Dental Emergencies II. 1 Unit.
This course provides a continuation of DHYG 123, Medical and Dental Emergencies I. Students review methods of medical and dental emergency prevention and management in the dental office. Emphasis is on recognizing signs, symptoms, and treatment of the more common emergencies which may occur in the dental setting. Drugs and equipment are utilized in the management of medical emergencies are outlined.
DHYG 135. Dental Hygiene Clinic II. 2 Units.
This lecture/ lab/ clinic course is designed to enable students to expand their experience in treatment of the periodontally involved patient. Students refine techniques for patient assessment, treatment planning, patient communication, full mouth scaling, and non-surgical periodontal treatment. Desensitization techniques, and pit and fissure sealants, are introduced. Utilization of radiographs, local anesthesia and nitrous oxide sedation in patient care is further developed. Students integrate knowledge and skills developed in DHYG 130, DHYG 132, and all previous course work to-date.
DHYG 136. Dental Hygiene Clinic II. 7 Units.
This lecture/ lab/ clinic course is designed to enable students to expand their experience in treatment of the periodontally involved patient. Students refine techniques for treatment planning, root planing, and non-surgical periodontal treatment. Desensitization techniques, and pit and tissue sealants, are introduced. Utilization of radiographs, local anesthesia and nitrous oxide sedation in patient care is further developed. Students integrate knowledge and skills developed in DHYG 130, DHYG 132, and all previous course work to-date.
DHYG 141. Dental Materials. 2 Units.
This course is designed to examine structure and physical properties of dental materials utilized in the practice of dental hygiene. Emphasis on concepts and principles of clinical application.
DHYG 142. Ethics and Jurisprudence. 2 Units.
Students study ethical theories and issues related to the practice of dental hygiene and professionalism. A personal philosophy of professional conduct, continuous quality assurance and self-assessment is explored. Fundamental factors necessary to practice within existing regulatory frameworks are stressed.
DHYG 143. Biochemistry and Nutrition. 2 Units.
Students study basic principles of biochemistry and nutrition related to dentistry. Students complete patient dietary surveys and develop correctional nutritional plans.
DHYG 144. Senior Project. 3 Units.
This course offers students the opportunity for supervised practical application of previously studied theory in a variety of settings. Through outside program affiliation, faculty assistance, and mentorship, students choose a specific area of dental hygiene practice to explore in depth.
DHYG 145. Dental Hygiene Practice III. 2 Units.
This course offers advanced clinical experience in performing treatment for a variety of clinical patient cases. Students use local anesthesia, nitrous oxide, oral antimicrobials, and diet analysis. State Board Examination requirements and protocol, are reviewed and simulated through practical exercises. Identification of an appropriate patient for licensure examination is made. Students integrate knowledge and skills developed in all previous course work to-date.
DHYG 146. Dental Hygiene Clinical Practice III. 7 Units.
This course is designed to provide advanced clinical experience in performing treatment for a variety of clinical patient cases. Students use local anesthesia, nitrous oxide, oral antimicrobials, and diet analysis. State Board Examination requirements and protocol, are reviewed and simulated through practical exercises. Identification of an appropriate patient for licensure examination is made. Prerequisite: Admission into the Baccalaureate Dental Hygiene program.
The program and its graduates will be distinguished by the following attributes:
• Continuous enhancement through professional development
• Humanistic values that respect the dignity of each individual and foster the potential for growth in all of us
• Application of theory and data for continuous improvement
• Leadership in addressing the challenges facing the profession of dental hygiene, education and our communities
Core Competencies (C)
C.1 Apply a professional code of ethics in all endeavors.
C.2 Adhere to state and federal laws, recommendations, and regulations in the provision of oral health care.
C.3 Use critical thinking skills and comprehensive problem-solving to identify oral health care strategies that promote patient health and wellness.
C.4 Use evidence-based decision making to evaluate emerging technology and treatment modalities to integrate into patient dental hygiene care plans to achieve high-quality, cost-effective care.
C.5 Assume responsibility for professional actions and care based on accepted scientific theories, research, and the accepted standard of care.
C.6 Continuously perform self-assessment for lifelong learning and professional growth.
C.7 Integrate accepted scientific theories and research into educational, preventive, and therapeutic oral health services.
C.8 Promote the values of the dental hygiene profession through service-based activities, positive community affiliations, and active involvement in local organizations.
C.9 Apply quality assurance mechanisms to ensure continuous commitment to accepted standards of care.
C.10 Communicate effectively with diverse individuals and groups, serving all persons without discrimination by acknowledging and appreciating diversity.
C.11 Record accurate, consistent, and complete documentation of oral health services provided.
C.12 Initiate a collaborative approach with all patients when developing individualized care plans that are specialized, comprehensive, culturally sensitive, and acceptable to all parties involved in care planning.
C.13 Initiate consultations and collaborations with all relevant health care providers to facilitate optimal treatments.
C.14 Manage medical emergencies by using professional judgment, providing life support, and utilizing required CPR and any specialized training or knowledge.
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HP)
HP.1 Promote positive values of overall health and wellness to the public and organizations within and outside the profession.
HP.2 Respect the goals, values, beliefs, and preferences of all patients.
HP.3 Refer patients who may have physiological, psychological, or social problems for comprehensive evaluation.
HP.4 Identify individual and population risk factors, and develop strategies that promote health-related quality of life.
HP.5 Evaluate factors that can be used to promote patient adherence to disease prevention or health maintenance strategies.
HP.6 Utilize methods that ensure the health and safety of the patient and the oral health professional in the delivery of care.
Community Involvement (CM)
CM.1 Assess the oral health needs and services of the community to determine action plans and availability of resources to meet the health care needs.
CM.2 Provide screening, referral, and educational services that allow patients to access the re¬sources of the health care system.
CM.3 Provide community oral health services in a variety of settings.
CM.4 Facilitate patient access to oral health services by influencing individuals or organizations for the provision of oral health care.
CM.5 Evaluate reimbursement mechanisms and their impact on the patient’s access to oral health care.
CM.6 Evaluate the outcomes of community-based programs, and plan for future activities.
CM.7 Advocate for effective oral health care for underserved populations.
Patient Care (PC)
PC.1 Systematically collect, analyze, and record diagnostic data on the general, oral, and psychosocial health status of a variety of patients using methods consistent with medicolegal principles.
PC.2 Recognize predisposing and etiologic risk factors that require intervention to prevent disease.
PC.3 Recognize the relationships among systemic disease, medications, and oral health that impact overall patient care and treatment outcomes.
PC.4 Identify patients at risk for a medical emergency, and manage the patient care in a manner that prevents an emergency.
PC.5 Use patient assessment data, diagnostic technologies, and critical decision making skills to determine a dental hygiene diagnosis, a component of the dental diagnosis, to reach conclusions about the patient’s dental hygiene care needs.
PC.6 Utilize reflective judgment in developing a comprehensive patient dental hygiene care plan.
PC.7 Collaborate with the patient and other health professionals as indicated to formulate a comprehensive dental hygiene care plan that is patient-centered and based on the best scientific evidence and professional judgment.
PC.8 Make referrals to professional colleagues and other health care professionals as indicated in the patient care plan.
PC.9 Obtain the patient’s informed consent based on a thorough case presentation.
PC.10 Provide specialized treatment that includes educational, preventive, and therapeutic services designed to achieve and maintain oral health. Partner with the patient in achieving oral health goals.
PC.11 Evaluate the effectiveness of the provided services, and modify care plans as needed.
PC.12 Determine the outcomes of dental hygiene interventions using indices, instruments, examination techniques, and patient self-reports as specified in patient goals.
PC.13 Compare actual outcomes to expected outcomes, reevaluating goals, diagnoses, and services when expected outcomes are not achieved.
Professional Growth and Development (PGD)
PGD.1 Pursue career opportunities within health care, industry, education, research, and other roles as they evolve for the dental hygienist.
PGD.2 Develop practice management and marketing strategies to be used in the delivery of oral health care.
PGD.3 Access professional and social opportunities to foster career growth and development.