Frequently Asked Questions

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In order to learn more about the Dental Hygiene program at CPCC as well as the Dental Hygiene profession, please review the frequently asked questions below.


    Q. What is the dental hygiene program?

      A. The CPCC dental hygiene program is an Associate in Applied Science Degree program which prepares individuals with the knowledge and skills to access, plan, implement and evaluate dental hygiene care for the individual and the community.

        Q. What types of services do dental hygienists provide?

          A. Dental hygienists provide the following services:

          • Review health histories, assess oral health conditions, provide oral cancer screening, collect and review vital signs, and complete necessary chart entries.
          • Expose and develop dental radiographs (x-rays).
          • Develop and present dental hygiene treatment plans to patients.
          • Provide periodontal treatment to include removal of hard and soft deposits from the teeth and administration of preventive and therapeutic agents.
          • Instruct patients on appropriate preventive oral hygiene techniques and nutrition as it relates to oral health.
          • Make impressions of the teeth and pour study models.
          • Place temporary fillings, periodontal dressings and remove oral sutures.

            Q. Where do dental hygienists work?

            A. Dental hygienists work in:

              • Private dental offices. (general and specialty)
              • Public health agencies.
              • State and Federal institutions.
              • Educational institutions.
              • Marketing and Sales.
              • Research facilities.

                Q. What are the working conditions and physical demands of this profession?

                A. The professional working conditions are as follows:

                  • Dental hygienists must be able to physically move around dental equipment in operatories with limited space.
                  • Dental treatment is typically provided from a seated position but requires reaching and repetitive, coordinated hand movements.
                  • Oral health assessment and periodontal treatment require visual acuity.
                  • Treatment involves the use of sharp instruments and exposure to blood and saliva.
                  • Communicating with individuals, family members and other health professionals from a variety of cultural backgrounds is vital to dental hygiene practice.

                      Q. Where can I find information about employment salaries and opportunities?

                        A. Salaries for dental hygienists vary depending on the type of practice, location and full or part-time employment. More information is available at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

                          Q. Is the CPCC Dental Hygiene Program accredited?

                            A. The CPCC Dental Hygiene Program is accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation.

                            Q. How do I apply to the program?

                              A. The Dental Hygiene Program has a competitive admissions process due to the large number of applicants. We accept applications between January 1st and February 11th of each year.  After reviewing the applications and verifying the scores the top twenty-five to thirty applicants are selected to begin the program the following fall semester. Should you have questions about the Dental Hygiene application process, please email the admissions specialist at

                              Q. What courses are required prior to acceptance into the program?

                              A. You must complete a chemistry course with a grade of “C” or higher within five years of applying to the program. The chemistry course must be a college course at the level of CHM 121 and 121A or higher (High School Chemistry is no longer accepted). You will also meet the eligibility requirements if you are enrolled in an appropriate chemistry course when you turn in your application.

                                Q. Do I need to take a computer class?

                                  A. Discipline-specific software training is incorporated into the curriculum. Therefore, CIS 110/111 is no longer required.

                                  Q. Do I have to take the TEAS test?

                                    A. You must take the TEAS test and achieve a total adjusted score of 65 or higher to apply to the dental hygiene program.

                                    The TEAS test can be taken at the CPCC Testing Center. A study guide is available at

                                    Q. What is required of students to participate in clinical education experiences?

                                    A. In order to participate in clinical education experiences at health care facilities, students may be required to submit results of a NC state or national criminal background check at their own expense.

                                    Students must also complete a medical exam, drug screen, provide record of immunizations, show proof of medical insurance and carry CPCC’s accident insurance.

                                    Q. Are there risks associated with studying to work in the dental field?

                                    A. Students in the dental field are at a higher risk than the general population for Hepatitis B. It is to the advantage of the student to start the vaccination process for Hepatitis B as soon as they become accepted into the program. Medical history and documentation forms will be distributed at the orientation following acceptance.  Any applicant who is aware that they are carriers of Hepatitis B or C or are HIV positive are required to advise the State Department of Human Resources regarding ability to have patient contact.

                                    Students accepted into the dental hygiene program at Central Piedmont Community College will be required to read and sign a Bloodborne Pathogen Form and OSHA's Hazard Communication Form at the Mandatory Orientation Session for new dental hygiene students.

                                    Q. Do I have to be licensed in order to work in the field after graduation?

                                    A. Yes, licensure to practice dental hygiene is required to work in any state or jurisdiction in the United States.

                                    The North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners may request information regarding conviction of a felony and/or misdemeanor and/or current charges on the application for licensure and may decide not to license an individual based on the results of an investigation.

                                    Q. What are the Criminal Background Check and Drug Screen requirements?

                                    A. Criminal Background Check and Drug screen: All accepted students are required to undergo a criminal background check and drug screen. Procedural information concerning these requirements will be provided upon acceptance.

                                    • Note: Criminal background checks (CBCs) and drug screens are required by clinical agencies/healthcare systems. If a student is refused access to clinical experiences because of a positive CBC or drug screen, the student will be unable to complete the clinical component of the course. Inability to complete the clinical requirements will result in a failure to progress in the program.

                                    Under North Carolina law some people with criminal backgrounds may be eligible for an expunction to remove charges or convictions from their record. If you would like to know whether or not you are eligible, contact Single Stop at 704.330.2722 ext.: 6435 or email to schedule a legal consultation. To learn more about expunctions, explore the NC Justice Center’s guide.