Technical Standards

Dental Hygiene

Owens Community College Associate of Applied Science Degree Dental Hygiene Program have a responsibility to educate competent dental hygienists to care for their patients (persons, families and/or communities) with critical judgment, broad-based knowledge, and well-honed technical skills. All individuals admitted to the Owens Community College Associate Degree Dental Hygiene Program will be asked to verify that they can meet these standards with or without accommodation(s).

Owens Community College Associate Degree Dental Hygiene Program provides the following description/examples of technical standards to inform prospective and enrolled students of a sampling of technical standards required in completing their dental hygiene science curriculum.

  1. These technical standards reflect a sample of the performance abilities and characteristics that are necessary to successfully complete the requirements of Dental Hygiene Program. Please note: the standards are not requirements of admission into the Dental Hygiene Program and the examples are not all-inclusive.
  2. Individuals interested in applying for admission to the Dental Hygiene Programs should review these standards to develop a better understanding of the skills, abilities and behavioral characteristics required to successfully complete the Program. Key areas for technical standards in dental hygiene include certain: (a) sensory and motor coordination and function; (b) communication skills; (c) observational skills; (d) cognitive skills; and (e) behavioral and social attributes.

Reasonable Accommodation(s)

Owens Community College is committed to providing equal access to employment, educational programs, and activities for students with disabilities. The College recognizes that students with disabilities may need accommodations to have equally effective opportunities to participate in or benefit from College educational programs, services and activities and will make reasonable modifications to the environment, policy and practice and/or provide auxiliary aids and services when the Disability Resource Center determines such modifications are needed for equal access.

Students who believe they are eligible for an accommodation must contact the Disability Resource Center.
(567) 661-7007

 Technical Standard #1: Sensory & Motor Coordination & Functions

Students must be able to execute gross and fine motor movements required to provide assessment, general care, and emergency treatment of patients.


  1. Perform and /or assist appropriately to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  2. Obtain accurate information from patients using gross and fine motor skills appropriate to the technique required.
  3. Strength sufficient to move, transfer, and/or position patients or equipment safely under a variety of circumstances. Ability to lift independently or with assistance of a lift team/device for the delivery of clinical dental hygiene care or in emergency situations.
  4. Perform and/or assist appropriately with expected procedures, using sterile or clean techniques appropriate to the type of procedure or treatment.
  5. Ability to perform clinical dental hygiene skills requiring the use of gross and fine motor skills (e.g. exploring, probing, scaling, root planing, local anesthesia injections, etc.). A candidate should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide clinical dental hygiene care and emergency response to patients.
  6. Obtain accurate information from patient assessment using tactile sensory functions.


  1. Must be able to administer CPR.
  2. Use the assessment skills of palpation, inspection, and percussion.
  3. Ability to move and/or lift patients using proper body mechanics.
  4. Demonstrates the ability to perform skills required in the clinical setting.
  5. Determine changes in color and texture of oral tissues.

Technical Standard #2: Observation

Students must be able to perform observational skills necessary to assess the dental hygiene needs of clients/patients through auditory, visual, and tactile abilities.


  1. Ability to observe patient conditions and responses to oral health and illness.
  2. Ability to assess and monitor health needs.
  3. Computational thinking.
  4. Cognitive load management.


  1. Dental hygiene student competencies include the knowledge, attitude, and skills necessary to provide quality and safe patient care to patients across the continuum.
  2. Use and interpret information obtained from digital, analog, and other diagnostic tools (e.g., sphygmomanometer, stethoscope, radiographic and intraoral images, and dental probes and explorers.)
  3. Observe a patient during the course of dental hygiene assessment and treatment.
  4. Translate data into abstract concepts and understand data-based reasoning.
  5. Obtain and interpret information for evaluation of responses to dental hygiene care.

Technical Standard #3: Communication

Students must be able to complete accurate assessments of patients.  Communication includes verbal, reading, writing, non-verbal, and electronic behaviors with patients and the healthcare team that reflect sensitivity, clarity, and mutual comprehension. 


  1. Communication abilities for sensitive and effective interactions with patients (persons, families, and/or communities).
  2. Communication abilities for effective interdisciplinary collaboration with the healthcare team (patients, their supports, other professional and non-professional team members).
  3. Sense-making of information gathered from communication.
  4. Social intelligence.


  1. Must be able to initiate and maintain hygienist-patient relationships.
  2. Must be able to give professional (using standard dental hygiene and medical terminology) verbal and/or written reports to other healthcare team members with clarity.
  3. Must be able to document accurately and clearly in written and/or electronic format.
  4. Must be able to accurately convey information and interpretation of information using one or more means of communication (verbal, written, assisted (e.g., TTY) and/or electronic) to patients/clients/the healthcare team.
  5. Must be able to determine a deeper meaning or significance in what is being expressed.

Technical Standard #4: Cognitive

Students must have sufficient critical thinking skills in the practice of dental hygiene. The student will need to problem solve clinical issues and situations by synthesizing information in an analytical, deliberative, evaluative, and decisive manner. Students must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to provide quality and safe patient care in all health care settings.


  1. Accurately measure, calculate reason, analyze, and synthesize subjective and objective data to carry out the dental hygiene process of care in relation to patient assessment, diagnosis, goals, plan, implementation and evaluation.
  2. Analyze data to prioritize all aspects of the client’s health care needs and dental hygiene diagnoses.
  3. Use assessment data to develop a plan and implement dental hygiene treatment plan and interventions relevant to patient’s needs, which integrates patient preferences to deliver appropriate, evidenced-based, quality and safe patient care.
  4. Demonstrate intellectual and conceptual abilities to accomplish the requirements of the dental hygiene program.
  5. Demonstrate cognitive abilities related to course and program outcomes, which include intellectual, conceptual, integrative, quantitative, critical thinking, and comprehension skills that indicate that the student is able to carry out the dental hygiene process of care in the treatment of patients.
  6. Comprehend extensive information from written documents, visual and/or oral presentations, and patient computer information.
  7. Accurately follow course syllabi, assignment directions, patient protocols, and any action plan(s) developed by deans, faculty, administrators, or health care agency staff.
  8. Media literacy


  1. Accomplish, direct or interpret assessment of persons, families and/or communities and develop, implement and evaluate plans of care or direct the development, implementation and evaluation of care.
  2. Make proper judgments regarding safe and quality care.
  3. Critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication.
  4. Literacy in and ability to understand concepts across disciplines.
  5. Represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes.

Technical Standard #5: Behavioral and Social Attributes

Students must possess the emotional stability to enable them to develop therapeutic relationships and successfully communicate with individuals and aggregates from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds. Students should possess the qualities of self-awareness, emotional maturity, objectivity, flexibility, empathy, and integrity. Students should be emotionally able to handle demanding workloads and to function effectively under stress.


  1. Concern for others, integrity, ethical conduct, accountability, interest and motivation.
  2. Acquire interpersonal skills for professional interactions with a diverse population of individuals, families and communities.
  3. Acquire interpersonal skills for professional interactions with members of the health care team including patients, their supports, other health care professionals and team members.
  4. Acquire the skills necessary for promoting change for necessary quality health care.
  5. Cross-cultural competency.


  1. Maintain effective, mature, and sensitive relationships with patients, students, faculty, staff and other professionals under all circumstances.
  2. Function effectively under stress and adapt to changing environments inherent in clinical practice.
  3. Demonstrate professional role in interactions with patients, intra and inter professional teams.
  4. Operate in different cultural settings (including disability culture).