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Dental Hygiene


The Dental Hygiene program prepares graduates to be competent oral health clinicians and educators with the ability to develop effective oral health programs that can be utilized in private practice sites, schools and alternative practice settings in the community.

The clinical training is conducted on campus in a 16-chair, free dental hygiene clinic. Students have the opportunity to treat diverse patient populations, many with advanced periodontal disease.

The Dental Hygiene program is designed so that students, upon matriculation, can complete the program in 24 consecutive months.

Graduating Dental Hygiene students are eligible to take the Northeast Regional Board Examination and the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination.


The Dental Hygiene program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Post-Secondary Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.

The Commission on Dental Accreditation will review complaints that relate to a program's compliance with the accreditation standards. The Commission is interested in the sustained quality and continued improvement of dental and dental-related education programs but does not intervene on behalf of individuals or act as a court of appeals for individuals in matters of admission, appointment, promotion or dismissal of faculty, staff or students.

A copy of the appropriate accreditation standards and/or the Commission's policy and procedure for submission of complaints may be obtained by contacting the Commission at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2678 or by calling 1-800-621-8099 extension 4653.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this program graduates will be able to:

  • Qualify for all national and regional examinations required to obtain licensure as a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • Work effectively as a team member and make decisions regarding dental hygiene services that reflect critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Demonstrate quality patient care and disease prevention for patients with a variety of oral health needs while using the phases of assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation in a safe and service-oriented environment.
  • Review contemporary scientific literature in the dental hygiene field which will enable the graduate to remain mindful of current trends.
  • Formulate informed decisions using evidenced-based patient-centered dental hygiene care for all.
  • Manage patient treatment and information, ensuring confidentiality and compliance with relevant legislation and ethical responsibilities.

Program Entry Requirements:

Admission is selective and requires that potential students fulfill all admission requirements of the College. The requirements for admission to the Dental Hygiene program are:

  1. High school diploma or general education diploma (GED).
  2. A minimum of one year of high school biology, chemistry and college preparatory math, all with "C" or better grades, within the past 10 years. In the absence of these requirements, placement in MATH 118 and a grade of "C" or better In BIOL 106 and CHEM 110 satisfies these requirements.
  3. Applicants must demonstrate readiness for ENGL 101 and MATH 118 as determined by the College's placement tests or by successfully completing identified developmental course work.
  4. Applicants with previous college experience must have a minimum of a 2.50 grade point average.
  5. Applicants are required to participate in the pre-entrance Allied Health testing program.

Students are admitted to the program on a competitive basis as space allows.

Conditions For Acceptance:

  1. Results of complete physical and dental examinations, including laboratory test results of a complete blood count, serology, urinalysis, tuberculin PPD test and immunizations must be on file in the program office before the start of any dental course (September of starting year).
  2. Verification of medical insurance is mandatory.
  3. Applicants must attend a scheduled program orientation prior to entry.
  4. Students must purchase uniforms and a Dental Hygiene supply kit prior to the start of the program (August of starting year).
  5. Students must attend a fall and spring Study Skills Workshop.
  6. Students must obtain a criminal record check, FBI (federal) clearance and a child abuse clearance prior to entrance into the program. This Dental Hygiene requirement is mandated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania per 24 P.S. 1-111 of the Pennsylvania Public School Code and 23 Pennsylvania C.S.A. 6355 of the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law.

The College, in its admission process, will consider information regarding criminal conviction and/or crimes of moral turpitude. Admission is conditional pending receipt and evaluation of a criminal background check, FBI (federal) clearance and child abuse clearance to determine whether there is any conviction which may bar the student from the Dental Hygiene program and/or state licensure. The following guidelines are used in making decisions about an applicant's criminal and child abuse background:

Child Abuse Clearance:

Any record results in denial of admission into the DH program.

Criminal Background Check:

Any felony conviction within the past 10 years results in denial of admission to the DH program. Any felony conviction more than 10 years old will be evaluated based on the nature of the offense, length of time since the offense and any explanatory letters/materials submitted by the applicant or student. Any misdemeanor will be evaluated based on the nature of the offense, length of time since the offense, and explanatory letter/materials submitted by the applicant or student. (Any punishment over one year indicates a felony according to federal sentencing guidelines.)

An applicant who believes that an error of fact has been made in terms of the information provided to the decision-making committee can request reconsideration by the committee. This request must be made in writing within 10 days from the date of the letter notifying the applicant of the decision. The reconsideration should address what the applicant considers to be errors of fact.

Following reconsideration by the decision making committee, the applicant can appeal the committee's decision to the vice president for Academic Affairs whose decision is final.

Any official change or the initiation of any governmental proceeding affecting the information revealed by the required criminal or child abuse background check must be reported immediately to the DH curriculum supervisor.

Involvement in any incident which resulted in a disciplinary action against a student at Community College of Philadelphia or any post-secondary institution is considered in the admissions process. The DH program reserves the right to deny admission to any applicant who has a history of violating College rules and regulations or who has been previously suspended or expelled from the College or any other post-secondary educational institution.


  1. One-time readmission into the Dental Hygiene program is permitted.
  2. Students requesting a readmission must meet program entry requirements, conditions for acceptance, and are selected on a competitive basis as space permits.
  3. Students may be required to retake dental and/or general education courses as determined by the program director.
  4. A student seeking readmission to the Dental Hygiene program must demonstrate clinical and didactic proficiency at the acceptable course level stated in the appropriate clinical courses. this conditional acceptance for returning students will be determined by the Program Director.
  5. Students who were dropped for unprofessional conduct or safety issues will not be considered for readmission.
  6. The program must be completed within five years of initial enrollment.

Program Of Study Requirements:

  • Students exhibiting unprofessional conduct or violation of safety policies may be dropped from the curriculum pending a program review.
  • To continue in the Dental Hygiene curriculum, students must maintain an overall 2.50 GPA.
  • Students will not be permitted to continue in a clinical course without a yearly medical and dental exam and proof of medical insurance on file.
  • Dental Hygiene students must follow the curriculum sequence according to courses listed in each semester, unless approval is granted by the program director.
  • Dental Hygiene students must submit proof of two-year CPR certification prior to entering the first year's spring semester.

Graduation Requirements:

To qualify for the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Dental Hygiene, students must complete 83 credit hours as prescribed and must maintain an overall 2.50 GPA and no grade below a "C" in any course.

NOTE: Students who become pregnant while in the Dental Hygiene program must submit appropriate documentation from their obstetrician to the program director. Since students may be exposed to radiation during the clinical practice of dental radiography, it may become necessary for the student to withdraw from the program.

The College cannot assume responsibility for any harm that might occur to a fetus as a result of exposure to ionizing radiation. A student who is required to withdraw from the Dental Hygiene program because of pregnancy can gain readmission to the program by following the established procedure.

Dental Hygiene Course Sequence

Course Number and Name Prerequisites and Corequisites Credits Gen Ed Req.

Summer Session II

CIS 103 - Applied Computer Technology   3 Tech Comp
ENGL 101 - English Composition I   3 ENGL 101

First Semester—Fall

DH 115 - Oral Head and Neck Anatomy ENGL 101, CIS 103 3  
DH 135 - Dental Radiology ENGL 101, CIS 103 3  
DH 150 - Dental Auxiliary Practices ENGL 101, CIS 103 4  
DH 191 - Clinical Dental Hygiene I ENGL 101, CIS 103, CPR Certification 3  
BIOL 109 - Anatomy and Physiology I   4 Natural Science

Second Semester—Spring

DH 165 - Nutrition and Biochemistry BIOL 109, DH 115, DH 135, DH 150, DH 191 4  
DH 192 - Clinical Dental Hygiene II BIOL 109, ENGL 102, DH 115, DH 135, DH 150, DH 191 3  
DH 121 - Oral Histology and Embryology BIOL 109, DH 115, DH 135, DH 150, DH 191 2  
BIOL 110 - Anatomy and Physiology II BIOL 109 4  
ENGL 102 - The Research Paper ENGL 101 with a grade of "C" or better 3 ENGL 102, Info Lit

Summer Session I

DH 210 - Local Anesthesia DH 121, 165, 192, and BIOL 110 3  
PSYC 101 - Introduction to Psychology   3 Social Sciences

Summer Session II

SOC 101 - Introduction to Sociology   3 Am/Global Diversity, Writing Intensive, Interpretive
BIOL 241 - Principles of Microbiology   4  

Third Semester—Fall

DH 241 - Oral Pathology BIOL 110, BIOL 241, DH 121, DH 165, DH 192, ENGL 102 2  
DH 245 - Dental Pharmacology and Pain Management BIOL 110, BIOL 241, DH 121, DH 165, DH 192, ENGL 102 2  
DH 247 - Periodontics BIOL 110, BIOL 241, DH 121, DH 165, DH 192, ENGL 102 4  
DH 293 - Clinical Dental Hygiene III BIOL 110, BIOL 241, DH 121, DH 165, DH 192, ENGL 102 6  

Fourth Semester—Spring

ENGL 115 - Public Speaking ENGL 101, which may be taken concurrently 3 Humanities
DH 271 - Community Dentistry BIOL 241, DH 241, DH 245, DH 247, DH 293; ENGL 115 which may be taken concurrently 3  
DH 294 - Clinical Dental Hygiene IV BIOL 241, DH 241, DH 245, DH 247, DH 293; ENGL 115 which may be taken concurrently 6  
FNMT 118 or Higher   3 Mathematics

Summer Session I

DH 295 - Clinical Dental Hygiene V DH 271, DH 294, ENGL 115 2  

Minimum Credits Needed to Graduate: 83

General Education Requirements:

All General Education requirements are met through required courses (as indicated above).

For More Information Contact:

The Division of Math, Science and Health Careers, Room W2-7, 1700 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130, Telephone (215) 751-8430; or the College Information Center (215) 751 8010.