As someone interested in dental hygiene, you know the value of a healthy smile is much bigger than appearance — overall dental health can indicate serious, underlying health issues including and beyond your mouth. You are passionate, eager, and patient to educate people about these facts to ensure that their oral hygiene is a priority. As a future dental hygienist, you imagine being professional and personable with your patients; you're likely detail-oriented and easy to talk to. You also recognize the importance of a team dynamic in the workplace. Enroll in the Dental Hygiene program at Central Piedmont and earn an Associate of Applied Science in dental hygiene.
What You Will Learn
On a typical day, a dental hygienist will:
- 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
The dental hygiene program is a two-year program in which graduates earn an associate degree. On the other hand, the Central Piedmont Dental Assisting program is a one-year diploma program which enables graduates to participate as part of the dental office team. Both programs have a different set of prerequisite requirements. In the professional setting, dental assistants typically work more closely with the dentists with occasional independence while dental hygienists work independently with assistance from the dentist.
In the dental hygiene program (video), you will learn to evaluate patients' oral health, diagnose oral diseases, prepare patient-centered care plans, apply best practices in dentistry, to operate medical technology to diverse populations to complete a variety of routine procedures, and direct patients in need of other health professional assistance. You will learn about the practices of ethics in relation to patient confidentiality and state and national laws. You will also learn important foundational knowledge, such as orofacial anatomy, periodontology, infection control techniques, obtaining patient histories, insurance coding, medical emergency response, and dental health and pharmacology overviews. Upon completion of the program, you will:
- effectively assess each patient’s oral health status and risk factors and present an appropriate dental hygiene diagnosis and comprehensive patient centered care plan within the scope of dental hygiene practice and based on current scientific evidence
- demonstrate the clinical skills necessary to provide preventive oral health care and determine periodontal classifications to ethnically diverse populations, medically compromised patients, and those with special needs in an efficient and effective manner, employing appropriate infection control measures
- demonstrate ethical decision-making skills and adhere to state and federal laws and standards within the profession
- asses the oral health needs of individual patients and community groups, develop disease prevention and health maintenance strategies utilizing the basic principles of learning, promote the value of oral and general health and directs patients to appropriate resources in the community
- demonstrate basic skills in insurance coding and operation of practice management software, critically evaluate information and research pertaining to new products and techniques, take part in professional activities, and identify career options within the dental profession
Graduates of the dental hygiene program are eligible for state, national, and regional examinations for licensure to work in private dental offices, public health agencies, state and federal institutions, educational facilities, marketing and sales, and research facilities.
Students in the dental hygiene program may be exposed to blood-borne pathogens and infectious diseases through the provision of clinical services. It is for this reason that students are provided instruction on infectious diseases, mechanisms of disease transmission, and infection control procedures to reduce the risk of disease transmission, including those published by national public health agencies, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For more information, please refer to our student OSHA hazardous communication standard (PDF document) and student exposure classification bloodborne pathogens (PDF document) forms.
If you are a community member interested in using our dental clinic services, please visit our dental clinic page.
Why Choose Central Piedmont
You will get valuable, hands-on experience at our Central Campus dental clinic. There, you will offer dentistry services to the community under the supervision of our faculty. It’s a win-win — you dramatically develop your skill sets with clinical experience as you apply your knowledge to give back to the greater Charlotte population. The Central Piedmont dental hygiene program is accredited by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and our graduates have had a 100% pass rate on the dental hygiene National Board Dental Hygiene Examination for the past six years. You will also have the opportunity to participate in the student Dental Hygiene Club.
Real World Education
At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.