Competencies of Professional Practice
The Fones School of Dental Hygiene ascribes to the American Dental Education Association Competencies for Entry into the Profession of Dental Hygiene (2011).
Students will demonstrate professionalism, ethical behavior, evidenced-based decision making, competent client care, health promotion, and disease prevention. A set of competencies has been developed to verify ability to perform total client care and develop professionally. Students must demonstrate successful completion of these competencies in order to graduate. Completion of competencies confirm that the student has the ability to safely provide dental hygiene care at an entry level, or what is minimally expected in performance as a new graduate. As a licensed professional who continues in his/her career, experience and continued learning leads one in becoming proficient, or eventually, even an expert in the delivery of care.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fones School of Dental Hygiene Curriculum in accordance with Connecticut Dental Hygiene Practice Act
To practice dental hygiene, a dental hygienist must obtain a license from the state in which they are employed. The legal duties of a dental hygienist are spelled out in the respective states’ dental practice act.
Chapter 379a, Connecticut General Statutes, addresses the general laws pertaining to the practice of dental hygiene. As a student enrolled in DH 228, Clinic Practice IV, you will be required to access the www.dph.state.ct.us website and print a copy of the Practice Act – to be discussed in class. If you will be practicing dental hygiene in another state, you will want to access individual states information.
As you begin your studies in dental hygiene, it is important that you know the content of Chapter 379a, sec 20-1261. Administration of local anesthesia is effective as of October 1, 2005.
(a) As used in this section:
(1) “General supervision of a licensed dentist” means supervision that authorizes dental hygiene procedures to be performed with the knowledge of said licensed dentist, whether or not the dentist is on the premises when such procedures are being performed;
(2) “Public health facility” means an institution, as defined in section 19a-490, a community health center, a group home, a school, a pre-school operated by a local or regional board of education or a head start program; and
(3) The “practice of dental hygiene” means the performance of educational, preventive and therapeutic services including: Complete prophylaxis; the removal of calcareous deposits, accretions and stains from the supragingival and subgingival surfaces of the teeth by scaling, root planning and polishing; the application of pit and fissure sealants and topical solutions to exposed portions of the teeth; dental hygiene examinations and the charting of oral conditions; dental hygiene assessment, treatment planning and evaluation; the administration of local anesthesia in accordance with the provisions of subsection (d) of this section; and collaboration in the implementation of the oral health care regimen.'
(b) No person shall engage in the practice of dental hygiene unless such person (1) has a dental or dental hygiene license issued by the Department of Public Health and (A) is practicing under the general supervision of a licensed dentist, or (B) has been practicing as a licensed dental hygienist for at least two years, is practicing in a public health facility and complies with the requirements of subsection (e) of this section, or (2) has a dental license.
(c) A dental hygienist licensed under sections 20-126h to 20-126w, inclusive, shall be known as a “dental hygienist” and no other person shall assume such title or use the abbreviation “R.D.H.” or any other words, letters or figures which indicate that the person using such words, letters or figures is a licensed dental hygienist. Any person who employs or permits any other person except a licensed dental hygienist to practice dental hygiene shall be subject to the penalties provided in section 20-126t.
(d) A licensed dental hygienist may administer local anesthesia, limited to infiltration and mandibular blocks, under the indirect supervision of a licensed dentist, provided the dental hygienist can demonstrate successful completion of a course of instruction containing basic and current concepts of local anesthesia and pain control in a program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, or its successor organization, that includes: (1) Twenty hours of didactic training, including, but not limited to, the psychology of pain management; a review of anatomy, physiology, pharmacology of anesthetic agents, emergency precautions and management, and client management; instruction on the safe and effective administration of anesthetic agents; and (2) eight hours of clinical training which includes the direct observation of the performance of procedures. For purposes of this subsection, “indirect supervision” means a licensed dentist authorizes and prescribes the use of local anesthesia for a client/patient and remains in the dental office or other location where the services are being performed by the dental hygienist.
(e) A licensed dental hygienist shall not perform the following dental services: (1) diagnosis for dental procedures or dental treatment; (2) the cutting or removal of any hard or soft tissue or suturing; (3) the prescribing of drugs or medication which require the written or oral order of a licensed dentist or physician; (4) the administration of parenteral, inhalation of general anesthetic agents in connection with any dental operative procedure; (5) the taking of any impression of the teeth or jaws or the relationship of the teeth or jaws for the purpose of fabricating any appliance or prosthesis; (6) the placing, finishing and adjustment of temporary or final restorations, capping materials and cement bases.
(f) Each dental hygienist practicing in a public health facility shall (1) refer for treatment any client/patient with needs outside the dental hygienist’s scope of practice, and (2) coordinate such referral for treatment to dentists licensed pursuant to chapter 379.
(g) Each licensed dental hygienist applying for license renewal shall earn a minimum of sixteen hours of continuing education within the preceding twenty-four-month period. The subject matter for continuing education shall reflect the professional needs of the licensee in order to meet the health care needs of the public. Continuing education activities shall provide significant theoretical or practical content directly related to clinical or scientific aspects of dental hygiene.
All procedures listed above in sec. 20-126-1(a)(3) are taught to clinical competence.
Those procedures taught to laboratory competence are not legal duties for dental hygienists to perform in the State of Connecticut (i.e., amalgam finishing, impression for the fabrication of an appliance). All procedures listed in Chapter 379a Sec. 20-126-1(a)(3) are taught to clinical competence. Those procedures taught to laboratory competence are not legal duties for dental hygienists to perform in the State of Connecticut. Throughout the dental hygiene program, course outlines will specify those procedures taught to clinical competence and/or laboratory competence.
Procedures that are taught to clinical competency
- Clinical Infection Control Procedures
- Medical and Dental Histories
- Vital Signs
- Intraoral Inspection (including charting carious lesions, periodontal diseases, existing and missing teeth)
- Extraoral Inspection
- Dental Hygiene Assessment/ Dental Hygiene Treatment Planning
- Evaluation of Dental Hygiene Services
- Radiographs (digital and film based)
- Impressions for Study Casts
- Oral Health Education including Health Promotion, Disease Prevention and Behavior Modification
- Intra-Oral Imaging
- Care for Removable Appliances and Prostheses
- Dental-Related Nutritional Counseling
- Supragingival Scaling
- Subgingival Scaling
- Root Planing
- Coronal Polishing
- Application of Chemotherapeutic Agents
- Application of Anticariogenic Agents
- Polish Restoration
- Pit and Fissure Sealants
- Application of Topical/Non-Injectable Anesthetic Agents
- Application of Locally Applied Antibiotics
- Assessment Using Caries Diagnostic Scan
- Pulp Vitality Testing
- Administration of Local Anesthetic: Infiltration
- Administration of Local Anesthetic: Mandibular Block
Procedures that are taught to laboratory competency
- Administration of Nitrous Oxide/Analgesia
- Periodontal and Surgical Dressing: Place
- Periodontal and Surgical Dressing: Remove
- Suture: Place
- Suture: Remove
- Rubber Dam: Place
- Rubber Dam: Remove
- Matrix: Place
- Matrix: Remove
- Temporary Restorations: Place
- Temporary Restorations: Remove
- Temporary Crown: Fabrication
- Temporary Crown: Placement
- Temporary Crown: Removal
- Amalgam Restorations: Place
- Amalgam Restorations: Carve
- Amalgam Restorations: Finish
- Composite Resin Restorations: Place
- Composite Resin Restorations: Finish
- Application of Cavity Liners and Bases
- Removal of Excess Restorative Materials
- Fabrication of Custom Impression Tray
- Mouth Protector Fabrication
1. Preamble As dental hygienists, we are a community of professionals devoted to the prevention of disease and the promotion and improvement of the public’s health. We are preventive oral health professionals who provide educational, clinical, and therapeutic services to the public. We strive to live meaningful, productive, satisfying lives that simultaneously serve us, our profession, our society, and the world. Our actions, behaviors, and attitudes are consistent with our commitment to public service. We endorse and incorporate the Code into our daily lives.
The purpose of a professional code of ethics is to achieve high levels of ethical consciousness, decision making, and practice by the members of the profession. Specific objectives of the Dental Hygiene Code of Ethics are:
- To increase our professional and ethical consciousness and sense of ethical responsibility.
- To lead us to recognize ethical issues and choices and to guide us in making more informed ethical decisions.
- To establish a standard for professional judgment and conduct.
- To provide a statement of ethical behavior the public can expect from us.
The Dental Hygiene Code of Ethics is meant to influence us throughout our careers. It stimulates our continuing study of ethical issues and challenges us to explore our ethical responsibilities. The Code establishes concise standards of behavior to guide the public’s expectations of our profession and supports existing dental hygiene practice, laws, and regulations. By holding ourselves accountable to meeting the standards stated in the Code, we enhance the public’s trust on which our professional privilege and status are founded.
3. Key Concepts
Our beliefs, principles, values, and ethics are concepts reflected in the Code. They are the essential elements of our comprehensive and definitive code of ethics, and are interrelated and mutually dependent.
4. Basic Beliefs
We recognize the importance of the following beliefs that guide our practice and provide context for our ethics:
- The services we provide contribute to the health and well being of society.
- Our education and licensure qualify us to serve the public by preventing and treating oral disease and helping individuals achieve and maintain optimal health.
- Individuals have intrinsic worth, are responsible for their own health, and are entitled to make choices regarding their health.
- Dental hygiene care is an essential component of overall healthcare and we function interdependently with other healthcare providers.
- All people should have access to healthcare, including oral healthcare.
- We are individually responsible for our actions and the quality of care we provide.
5. Fundamental Principles
These fundamental principles, universal concepts, and general laws of conduct provide the foundation for our ethics.
Universality - The principle of universality assumes that, if one individual judges an action to be right or wrong in a given situation, other people considering the same action in the same situation would make the same judgment.
Complementarily - The principle of complementarity recognizes the existence of an obligation to justice and basic human rights. In all relationships, it requires considering the values and perspective of others before making decisions or taking actions affecting them.
Ethics - Ethics are the general standards of right and wrong that guide behavior within society. As generally accepted actions, they can be judged by determining the extent to which they promote good and minimize harm. Ethics compel us to engage in health promotion/disease prevention activities.
Community - This principle expresses our concern for the bond between individuals, the community, and society in general. It leads us to preserve natural resources and inspires us to show concern for the global environment.
Responsibility - Responsibility is central to our ethics. We recognize that there are guidelines for making ethical choices and accept responsibility for knowing and applying them. We accept the consequences of our actions or the failure to act and are willing to make ethical choices and publicly affirm them.
6. Core Values
We acknowledge these values as general guides for our choices and actions.Individual autonomy and respect for human beings. People have the right to be treated with respect. They have the right to informed consent prior to treatment, and they have the right to full disclosure of all relevant information so that they can make informed choices about their care.
Confidentiality - We respect the confidentiality of client information and relationships as a demonstration of the value we place on individual autonomy. We acknowledge our obligation to justify any violation of a confidence.
Societal Trust - We value client trust and understand that public trust in our profession is based on our actions and behavior.
Nonmaleficence - We accept our fundamental obligation to provide services in a manner that protects all clients and minimizes harm to them and others involved in their treatment.
Beneficence - We have a primary role in promoting the well being of individuals and the public by engaging in health promotion/disease prevention activities.
Justice and Fairness - We value justice and support the fair and equitable distribution of healthcare resources. We believe all people should have access to high-quality, affordable oral healthcare.
Veracity - We accept our obligation to tell the truth and assume that others will do the same. We value self-knowledge and seek truth and honesty in all relationships.
7. Standards of Professional Responsibility
We are obligated to practice our profession in a manner that supports our purpose, beliefs, and values in accordance with the fundamental principles that support our ethics. We acknowledge the following responsibilities:
To Ourselves as Individuals…
- Avoid self-deception, and continually strive for knowledge and personal growth.
- Establish and maintain a lifestyle that supports optimal health.
- Create a safe work environment.
- Assert our own interests in ways that are fair and equitable.
- Seek the advice and counsel of others when challenged with ethical dilemmas.
- Have realistic expectations of ourselves and recognize our limitations.
To Ourselves as Professionals…
- Enhance professional competencies through continuous learning in order to practice according to high standards of care.
- Support dental hygiene peer-review systems and quality-assurance measures.
- Develop collaborative professional relationships and exchange knowledge to enhance our own lifelong professional development.
To Family and Friends…
- Support the efforts of others to establish and maintain healthy lifestyles and respect the rights of friends and family.
- Promote ethical behavior and high standards of care by all dental hygienists.
- Serve as an advocate for the welfare of clients.
- Provide clients with the information necessary to make informed decisions about their oral health and encourage their full participation in treatment decisions and goals.
- Refer clients to other healthcare providers when their needs are beyond our ability or scope of practice.
- Educate clients about high-quality oral healthcare.
- Conduct professional activities and programs, and develop relationships in ways that are honest, responsible, and appropriately open and candid.
- Encourage a work environment that promotes individual professional growth and development.
- Collaborate with others to create a work environment that minimizes risk to the personal health and safety of our colleagues.
- Manage conflicts constructively.
- Support the efforts of other dental hygienists to communicate the dental hygiene philosophy of preventive oral care.
- Inform other healthcare professionals about the relationship between general and oral health.
- Promote human relationships that are mutually beneficial, including those with other healthcare professionals.
To Employees and Employers…
- Conduct professional activities and programs, and develop relationships in ways that are honest, responsible, open, and candid
- Manage conflicts constructively.
- Support the right of our employees and employers to work in an environment that promotes wellness.
- Respect the employment rights of our employers and employees.
To the Dental Hygiene Professions…
- Participate in the development and advancement of our profession.
- Avoid conflicts of interest and declare them when they occur.
- Seek opportunities to increase public awareness and understanding of oral health practices.
- Act in ways that bring credit to our profession while demonstrating appropriate respect for colleagues in other professions.
- Contribute time, talent, and financial resources to support and promote our profession.
- Promote a positive image for our profession.
- Promote a framework for professional education that develops dental hygiene competencies to meet the oral and overall health needs of the public.
To the Community and Society…
- Recognize and uphold the laws and regulations governing our profession.
- Document and report inappropriate, inadequate or substandard care and/or illegal activities by any healthcare provider, to the responsible authorities.
- Use peer review as a mechanism for identifying inappropriate, inadequate or substandard care and for modifying and improving the care provided by dental hygienists.
- Comply with local, state and federal statutes that promote public health and safety.
- Develop support systems and quality-assurance programs in the workplace to assist dental hygienists in providing the appropriate standard of care.
- Promote access to dental hygiene services for all, supporting justice and fairness in the distribution of healthcare resources.
- Act consistently with the ethics of the global scientific community of which our profession is a part.
- Recognize and uphold our obligation to provide pro bono service.
To Scientific Investigations…
- We accept responsibility for conducting research according to the fundamental principles underlying our ethical beliefs in compliance with universal codes, governmental standards, and professional guidelines for the care and management of experimental subjects.
- We acknowledge our ethical obligations to the scientific community:
- Conduct research that contributes knowledge that is valid and useful to our clients and society.
- Use research methods that meet accepted scientific standards.
- Use research resources appropriately.
- Systematically review and justify research in progress to insure the most favorable benefit-to-risk ratio to research subjects.
- Submit all proposals involving human subjects to an appropriate human subject review committee.
- Secure appropriate institutional committee approval for the conduct of research involving animals.
- Obtain informed consent from human subjects participating in research that is based on specifications published in Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations Part 46.
- Respect the confidentiality and privacy of data.
- Seek opportunities to advance dental hygiene knowledge through research by providing financial, human, and technical resources whenever possible.
- Report research results in a timely manner.
- Report research findings completely and honestly, drawing only those conclusions that are supported by the data presented.
- Report the names of investigators fairly and accurately.
- Interpret the research and the research of others accurately and objectively, drawing conclusions that are supported by the data presented and seeking clarity when uncertain.
- Critically evaluate research methods and results before applying new theory and technology in practice.
- Be knowledgeable concerning currently accepted preventive and therapeutic methods, products, and technology and their application to our practice.