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General Program Information

General and Program Information

CAREER INFORMATION:

The dental hygienist is a licensed member of the dental health team, dedicated to helping patients maintain good oral health and preventing dental disease.  Although the tasks performed by a hygienist vary from state to state, the primary functions are:

  • Remove calculus and biofilm plaque (hard and soft deposits) above and below the gumline
  • Assess and chart the teeth and oral structures
  • Expose, process and label dental radiographs
  • Provide oral hygiene instructions
  • Provide dietary analysis and counseling services
  • Apply cavity-prevention agents, such as fluoride and sealants
  • Work with special population groups such as the elderly, and the mentally/physically handicapped
  • Perform the Expanded Functions legally allowable in Florida

Occupational Safety and Health Briefing:
The Dental Programs at Gulf Coast State College have an obligation to maintain standards of health care and professionalism that are ethically and legally correct and that are consistent with the public's expectations of the health professions. In accordance with OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen standard, 29 CFR 1910.1030, a Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan has been developed for the Dental Programs at Gulf Coast State College.  These guidelines are established and practiced by all dental health personnel (faculty, staff, and students) while as an employee, volunteer, or student with the Dental Assisting or Dental Hygiene program.  These specific guidelines and other Dental Program policies are available for review in the Dental Programs Manual.

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS IN FLORIDA:

The two-year college curriculum is designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the licensure and employment needs of the student.  The curriculum includes content in general education, biomedical sciences, dental sciences, and dental hygiene science.  APPLICANTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO COMPLETE AS MANY OF THE GENERAL EDUCATIONAL COURSES AS POSSIBLE PRIOR TO ACCEPTANCE INTO THE DENTAL HYGIENE PROGRAM.  Refer to the general education sequence for the specific requirements.

BASIC PRACTICE REQUIREMENTS:

To become licensed to practice dental hygiene, the graduate must first apply for and successfully pass the Dental Hygiene National Board written examination.  The student must then apply for and take the state examination, which is composed of a written examination of the Florida Dental Laws case study exam and a practical examination on a clinical patient.  The license to practice Dental Hygiene is issued by the Board of Dentistry and must be renewed every two years through a process of continue to practice dental hygiene education requirements.

PROGRAM INFORMATION:

One class of sixteen students is selected each year.  Students not selected are encouraged to enroll in and complete all general education courses while reapplying to the program for the next year.  Students should receive advising and counseling regarding their status and recommended courses.  The Dental Hygiene program is a rigorous, full-time program that requires commitment and hard work.  For a portion of their laboratory learning experiences it is necessary for students to practice on each other.  If for any medical or dental reason a student is unable to participate, it will be the student’s responsibility to provide a patient for each of those sessions.

SELECTION CRITERIA AND INFORMATION:

Selection to the program is based upon an objective cumulative point system derived from placement test scores, college grade point averages, college grades in related courses, college degrees or certificates completed, and dental or medical experience. In order to apply, candidates must, at the very least, be eligible for college-level English with a minimal grade point average of 2.0.   An admissions committee reviews all completed applications.

APPLICATIONS ARE CONSIDERED FOR EACH CLASS AND ARE NOT AUTOMATICALLY HELD OVER FOR THE NEXT SELECTION PROCESS.  IT IS THE STUDENT’S RESPONSIBILITY TO RENEW AND UPDATE THEIR APPLICATIONS FOR THE NEXT YEAR

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