Dental Hygienist

If you’ve been to the dentist’s office lately, you’ve probably spent some time with a dental hygienist. These health care professionals play an important role in helping people develop good habits in caring for their teeth, gums, and oral health.

After this program, you will work under the supervision of a dentist. You’ll clean people’s teeth, expose x-rays to be interpreted by the dentist, and apply cavity-preventing materials such as fluoride treatments and sealants. You will also teach patients how to care for their teeth!

Because you work directly with patients and as a member of the dental health care team, you should enjoy working with people. You’ll need to have good manual dexterity because your job will require you to use dental instruments within the patient’s mouth. Good communication skills and a sound understanding of biology, chemistry, and math are needed.

You’ll have options of working full time or part time. Some work very flexible hours, often filling in for other hygienists as needed.

Recent graduates of the program earn, on average, $22 per hour.

Notice to patients and potential dental hygiene applicants: Dental clinic students, faculty clinicians and patients are exposed to bloodborne pathogens. These include (but are not limited to) pathogenic microorganisms present in human blood and have the potential to cause disease such as Hepatitis HBV, Herpes, Tuberculosis and HIV. The Bloodborne Pathogen policy is available by contacting the Dental Hygiene Program.

Admission Groups

In the interest of fairness to various groups of applicants seeking admission to our health career programs, we maintain several categories for admission.

For Dental Hygiene, 24 total students can be admitted into the program. This is broken down as: 4 high school – in district; 14 post high school – in district; and 6 post high school – out of district.

Degree

Associate in Applied Science (Career Program)
Total Credit Hours: 81.5

Program Requirements

Select a course number below to see a course description.

Required General Education Courses

Course Name Credit Hours
ENGL 110 COMPOSITION I  3
COMM 110 INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION: PRESENTATION AND THEORY  3
PSY 110 INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY  3
BIOL 140 HUMAN ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY  4
CHEM 115 FOUNDATIONS OF CHEMISTRY  4
HUMANITIES * 3

Required Program Courses

Course Name Credit Hours
BIOL 210 MICROBIOLOGY  4
DHYGN 110 DENTAL SCIENCE I  3
DHYGN 111 DENTAL SCIENCE II  3
DHYGN 113 FUNDAMENTALS OF DENTAL HYGIENE AND INFECTION CONTROL  1.5
DHYGN 115 INTRODUCTION TO DENTAL HYGIENE  1
DHYGN 117 DENTAL SPECIALTIES  1
DHYGN 131 INTRODUCTION TO DENTAL HYGIENE CLINICAL APPLICATIONS  2
DHYGN 133 PRECLINICAL DENTAL HYGIENE  2
DHYGN 135 DENTAL RADIOLOGY  3
DHYGN 137 MEDICAL EMERGENCIES  1
DHYGN 139 SPECIAL POPULATIONS  1
DHYGN 210 COMMUNITY DENTAL HEALTH  3
DHYGN 212 DENTAL MATERIALS  2
DHYGN 220 NITROUS OXIDE ANALGESIA  0.5
DHYGN 222 PREVENTIVE MODALITIES  3
DHYGN 226 LOCAL ANESTHETICS FOR THE DENTAL HYGIENIST  1
DHYGN 228 NEW DIMENSIONS IN DENTAL HYGIENE  2
DHYGN 230 DENTAL HYGIENE CLINIC I  2
DHYGN 231 DENTAL HYGIENE CLINIC II  5
DHYGN 232 DENTAL HYGIENE CLINIC III  4
DHYGN 243 ORAL PATHOLOGY I  1
DHYGN 244 PERIODONTOLOGY  2
DHYGN 245 ORAL PATHOLOGY II  2
DHYGN 246 TRANSITIONS FOR THE DENTAL HYGIENIST  3
DHYGN 247 OFFICE PRACTICES IN DENTISTRY  1.5
DHYGN 248 PHARMACOLOGY I FOR DENTAL HYGIENISTS  1
DHYGN 249 PHARMACOLOGY II FOR DENTAL HYGIENISTS  1
FCS 110 BASIC NUTRITION  2
SOC 110 AN INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY  3

* See specific requirements for Associate in Applied Science degree.

Graduates are eligible to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and a regional/state examination for registration as a Dental Hygienist in Illinois, and other states.  The dental hygienist works under the supervision of the dentist in dental offices and other health agencies by performing duties delegated by the dentist in accordance with the Illinois Dental Practice Act or other applicable state practice acts. Duties include cleaning teeth, exposing x-rays, providing oral healthcare instructions to patients, maintaining patient records, etc. Students receive extensive clinical experiences in the Illinois Central College Dental Hygiene Clinic and selected agencies.

All required general education courses may be taken prior to admission into the program.

Recommended Course Sequence

Semester Courses
Summer SemesterBIOL 140; CHEM 115
Fall Semester 1ENGL 110; BIOL 210; DHYGN 110; DHYGN 113; DHYGN 115; DHYGN 117; Humanities
Spring Semester 1COMM 110; FCS 110; DHYGN 111; DHYGN 131; DHYGN 133; DHYGN 135; DHYGN 137; DHYGN 139
Summer SemesterDHYGN 212; DHYGN 220; DHYGN 222; DHYGN 230; DHYGN 243
Fall Semester 2DHYGN 210; DHYGN 226; DHYGN 228; DHYGN 231; DHYGN 244; DHYGN 245; DHYGN 248
Spring Semester 2SOC 110; PSY 110; DHYGN 232; DHYGN 246; DHYGN 247; DHYGN 249

Program Contact Information

Health Careers Department
Peoria Campus

Arbor Hall

(309)690-6997

Illinois Career Cluster

Health Science

Career Pathway:
Therapeutic Services

Accreditation

The program is approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

National and Regional Clinical Board Results

Class Class Size/ Graduates Employment Data NBDHE Pass/Fail CDCA Pass/Fail CSCE Pass/Fail CRDTS Pass/Fail WREB Pass/Fail
2015-17 24/17 16/1* 13/4* 16/1* -/- -/-
2014-16 24/18 83% 16/1 18/0 17/1* -/- -/-
2013-15 24/23 95% 20/3 20/3 20/3 1+/- -/-
2012-14 19/15 100% 14/1 12/3* 15/0 -/- -/-
2011-13 19/15 94% 16/0 16/0 16/0 -/- -/-
2010-12 24/15 67% 15/0 14/0 13/0 -/- 1-NA
2009-11 24/14 64% 14/0 14/0 13/1* -/- -/-
2008-10 24/13 87% 13/0 11/1* 11/0 2/1 1/0
2007-09 24/15 93% 15/0 15/0 15/0 -/- -/-
2006-08 24/19 19/0 19/0 17/0 -/- -/-
2005-07 24/17 17/0 16/1* 17/0 -/1* -/-

Employment Data includes sub. positions
NBDHE: National Boards; CDCA: Commission on Dental Competency Assessments; CSCE: Computerized Exam for CDCA; CRDTS: Central Regional Board; WREB: Western Regional Board
* Student(s) passed after additional attempt(s)

Goals of the Program

  1. To provide a career program that prepares the graduate to move into the community as an ethical, professional, and competent dental hygienist.
  2. To provide dental hygiene care and education that strives to meet the needs of the community, especially for those individuals who might not have access to preventive dental services.
  3. To be able to assess patients of health as well as those with special needs.
  4. To be current and practice safe infection and hazard control procedures for the safety of self, patients, and all others.
  5. To offer a curriculum that may meet the lower-division requirements of four-your colleges and universities so that the individual may transfer to other institutions and continue formal education.
  6. To provide a foundation for professional growth, scientific advancement, and life-long learning through participating in and assuming leadership roles in professional organizations and continuing education planning.

Essential Skills and Abilities

An applicant must have the ability and skills necessary to provide competent patient care. Skills and abilities typically performed by a dental hygienist include:

  • Observation
  • Communication
  • Motor Ability
  • Conceptualization
  • Integration and Quantification
  • Behavior/Social Acceptability

Technological compensation can be made for some handicaps in certain areas, but an applicant should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner. The use of a trained intermediary is not acceptable, in that an applicant’s judgment must not require mediation by someone else’s power of observation and selection.

In order to perform these skills, the applicant must have the ability to or possess:

A. Observation

  • Normal vision and focusing abilities (corrective lenses, if needed), including transfer vision and peripheral vision.
  • Ability to read small letters and numbers on gauges, dials, and instruments.

B. Communication

  • Hear to normal range (correction, if needed).
  • Communicate effectively and with sensitivity with people of all professional and social levels in writing and verbally.

C. Motor Ability

  • Maintain normal balance.
  • Perform fine motor hand skills, including bilateral arm, hand, and finger dexterity.
  • Sit for extended periods of time.
  • Operate dental chair foot controls with varied pressures.
  • Normal back, neck, hand, and wrist strength (IE: not prior problems, such as arthritis, carpal-tunnel syndrome, etc.)
  • Move about in the limited space of a dental room.

D. Behavior

  • The ability to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities necessary for members of the health profession.
  • Maintain composure when subjected to high stress levels.
  • Respond quickly and in an emotionally-controlled manner in emergency situations