Competencies for Entry into Dental Hygiene

Competencies for Entry into Dental Hygiene

Dental hygienists must complete an accredited edu­cational program and qualify for licensure in any state or jurisdiction. They practice in collaboration with dental and other health care professionals in a variety of settings.

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 re­sources 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.

Dental Hygiene Diagnosis

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 networks to pursue professional goals.