Program Competencies


The competent dental hygienist provides clinical care using contemporary professional knowledge, judgment and skills. The dental hygiene practitioner must be capable of discerning and managing ethical issues and problems in the practice of dental hygiene, which occur in a rapidly changing environment. The new dental hygiene graduate must be able to:

1.1 Apply a professional code of ethics and values in all endeavors.

1.2 Adhere to the Georgia Dental Hygiene Practice Act as well as other applicable state and federal laws governing the practice of dental hygiene.

1.3 Employ quality assurance health care mechanisms in order to ensure a high standard of care for all patients.

2.1 Acquire and synthesize information or literature critically, scientifically, and effectively and apply it to the practice of dental hygiene.

2.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the dental hygiene profession and its professional organizations.

3.1 Recognize the roles of the profession including clinician, educator, researcher, change agent, consumer advocate and administrator.

3.2 Demonstrate responsibility for lifelong learning as it relates to dental hygiene.


Public Health is concerned with promoting health and preventing disease through organized community efforts. The dental hygienist must understand their role as health professionals at the local, state and national levels. The ability to communicate effectively with diverse populations is paramount to the success of community-based services. The new dental hygiene graduate must be able to:

4.1 Assess needs, plan, implement, and evaluate outcomes of community based oral health programs.

4.2 Provide screening, referral and/or educational services that facilitate access to the health care system for all people.


The dental hygienist is a licensed preventive oral health professional who provides educational and clinical services in the support of optimal oral health. The dental hygiene process of care applies principles from the biomedical, clinical and social sciences to diverse populations of all ages that may include the medically compromised, mentally or physically challenged, and socially or culturally disadvantaged. Dental hygienists should provide patients with individualized dental hygiene care including needs assessment, care planning, implementation and evaluation to achieve and maintain oral health. The new dental hygiene graduate must be able to:

5.1 Systematically collect, analyze and record data on the general, oral and psychosocial health status of a variety of patients (child, adolescent, adult, and geriatric) using methods consistent with medico-legal principles.

5.2 Employ critical decision making skills to formulate and/or present an individualized dental hygiene treatment plan based on available data.

5.3 Provide specialized treatment that includes preventive, educational and/or therapeutic services designed to achieve and maintain oral health.

5.4 Provide quality, safe and comfortable dental hygiene care for patients with special needs and those from diverse cultural backgrounds.

5.5 Identify patients at risk for a medical emergency and manage their care in a manner that prevents an emergency.

5.6 Evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented therapeutic, educational and/or preventive services and modify as needed.


Changes within the healthcare environment require the dental hygienist to have a general knowledge of wellness and health determinants. The dental hygienist must be competent in the performance and delivery of oral health promotion and disease prevention services in private practice, public health and other alternative settings. The new dental hygiene graduate must be able to:

6.1 Promote the values of total health and wellness to the public and organizations within and outside the profession.

6.2 Identify individual and/or population risk factors and develop strategies that promote health and prevent disease for all people.