Dental Hygiene

Program Goal Statement

The Dental Hygiene program prepares graduates to competently begin professional dental hygiene practice. Upon graduation, practice settings include private dental offices, school and public health departments, and research facilities. Students receive a thorough foundation in general sciences and in dental hygiene science. Students have the opportunity to develop the necessary knowledge, clinical skills, and judgment in the on-campus dental hygiene clinic.

Program Information

• Applicants with completed applications meeting minimum criteria submitted by February 1 will be given priority consideration for admission.

• The Admissions Office reviews each applicant based on the stated criteria for preadmission requirements.

• A candidate list is ranked with the top twenty-two candidates that have met the preadmission requirements with the highest GPA.

• The Admissions Office notifies the top twenty-two candidates of their acceptance into the Program.  These candidates have until May 1st to confirm their acceptance into the Program. 

• Some courses in this program are only offered during the day. Students planning to transfer into this program should seek advice from the program director on which courses to take. 

• Once enrolled in the Dental Hygiene program, students are required to complete all courses in the four semesters of instruction in required sequence and without interruption in order to integrate theoretical and clinical education and to graduate.

Program Accreditation

• The program in Dental Hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, which is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Post Secondary Accreditation and by the U.S. Department of Education. Graduates take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and the CDCA/ADEX/North East Regional Clinical Board Examination. 

• The Bristol Community College pass rate for the National Board (required for licensure in Massachusetts) is 100%, and the Northeast Regional Board of Dental Hygiene is 100%. 

After Bristol Community College

• Graduates have worked as registered dental hygienists in general and specialty facilities and as dental hygiene educators, consultants, dental sales representatives, and public and community health coordinators. 

Infused General Education Competencies

Ethical Dimensions, Multicultural Perspective, Technical Literacy, First Year Experience

Degree Requirements

Pre-admission Requirements

BIO 233, ENG 101 (or HIGHER), a 4-credit general college chemistry with a laboratory component with a grade of B- or better, and High School Algebra I (or a higher level mathematics in high school or college)

Special Requirements for the Program

Admission to the Dental Hygiene Program

The Dental Hygiene program is a competitive program with selective admission requirements. A limited number of students are admitted to the Dental Hygiene Program.

Students applying to Bristol with a state-approved high school equivalency credential rather than with a high school diploma will need to take the required pre-admission courses before being considered for admission to the program. See Minimum Requirements for Admission to the Program.

Meeting these minimum criteria places the applicant in the selection pool but does not guarantee admission to the Dental Hygiene program. Final selection will be based on the applicant pool and space available. Many students find that taking general and elective courses before entering the program allows for full focus on the challenging Dental Hygiene curriculum.

Dental hygiene students should expect to be involved in program courses and program responsibilities/requirements on a full time capacity from approximately 7am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.

Minimum Requirements for Admission to the Program are as Follows 

• High school Algebra I (or a higher level mathematics in high school or college ) with a grade of B- or greater 

• A 4-credit general college Chemistry with a laboratory component with a grade of B- or greater 

• BIO 233 (equivalent to college Anatomy and Physiology 1) with a grade of B- or greater  

• ENG 101 (equivalent to English Composition I or a higher level college English) with a grade of B- or greater

• Applicants must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0+ in the aforementioned pre-admission courses 

• Applicants must achieve a total composite score of 50% or higher on the ATI TEAS Exam. For more detailed TEAS information, please visit the Testing Center.

• Attend one mandatory Health Science Information Session. (Seating is limited.) 

• Students must complete all math and science courses required for admission within 5 years of the priority application deadline to the program. 

• Transcripts from attendance at other regionally accredited college/universities may be required with submission of your admissions application.  Please refer to the Admissions page within this catalog for further detail  Failure to comply with these requirements may result in your application not being reviewed for the program to which you applied. 

Additional Requirements 

Accepted applicants must comply with the Bristol Community College's health services requirements. This includes a physical examination, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, and varicella (chicken pox) immunizations or titres results (blood test to prove immune status).  If under the age of 21 you must also be tested for meningitis as of Fall 2018. A TB test is required each year. Health insurance is required. Additional laboratory tests, including drug screening, are required by clinical agencies. A ten-panel random drug screen is required upon entrance, yearly, and/or randomly.  The fee is paid by the student.

Upon admission to the Dental Hygiene program, all students must undergo a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check and a Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) check.  These checks are required due to potential unsupervised contact with children, the disabled, or the elderly during a clinical experience.  Students found to have certain criminal convictions or pending criminal actions will be presumed ineligible for clinical placement.  The College is authorized by the Commonwealth's Department of Criminal Justice to access CORI records.  Sex Offender checks shall be performed pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 6, Sections 178C-178P.

For more information regarding the College's CORI/SORI check process, please contact the Human Resource Department at (774) 357-3142.

A positive CORI/SORI check may prevent students from working in contracted health facilities and onsite dental hygiene clinic, which will prevent students from completing the program objectives.

Please be advised that despite Massachusetts law that permits the use of medical marijuana and the possession, use, distribution and cultivation of marijuana in limited amounts, any possession, use, distribution or cultivation of marijuana remains prohibited under College policy pursuant to federal law.  Further, any student who tests positive for marijuana will be ineligible for clinical placement.  Please refer to the College's Student Handbook for the College's complete Marijuana Policy.

All students must be CPR certified by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross (Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers). Students must present evidence of certification before beginning DHG 122 and must maintain certification until the completion of DHG 242.

Additional Costs

Students must carry professional liability insurance and provide their own transportation to off-campus clinical assignments. They are responsible for purchasing instruments, disposables, and uniforms, and paying CPR and Board application fees.

Grade Requirements

A grade of “C” or better must be attained in each clinical course and all other DHG courses. 

Essential Functions

• Communicate clearly and effectively through speech and writing in English with patients, faculty, staff and peers.

• Physical ability, sufficient mobility and motor coordination to safely provide patient care and to meet the needs of various patient populations.

• Cognitive ability to learn and apply skills necessary to meet curriculum (including clinical) requirements to attain entry-level status into the profession.

• Sufficient visual acuity, with or without correction, to safely provide patient care.

• Use personal protective devices (tolerate face mask/shield, safety eyewear, surgical gloves and laboratory coat).

• Carry out OSHA infection control procedures using cleaners and chemicals.

• Manipulate dental equipment and dental hygiene instruments with eye-hand coordination with both hands.

• Perform dental hygiene procedures (scaling, polishing, x-rays) and manipulate dental materials.

• Demonstrate controlled fine and gross motor skills necessary to provide safe and effective dental hygiene instrumentation.

• Demonstrate tactile abilities to allow for physical assessment.

• Access a patient from a seated or standing position.

• Sit unassisted for long periods of time.

• Operate switches, knobs, levers in operation of the dental chair and accessory equipment in all clinics and laboratory settings.

• Exhibit sufficient motor function to elicit information from a patient by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic modalities.

• Perceive and interpret tactile vibrations appropriately.

• Manipulate small objects of materials, paying close attention to fine detail.

• Manipulate dental radiographic equipment unassisted.

• Perform basic life support including CPR.

• Transfer and position patients with disabilities.

• Emotional stability sufficient to interact professionally with patients, faculty, staff, and peers; respect patient confidentiality; use reasonable judgment; accept responsibility for actions.

Risks of Exposure to Infectious Disease

As in any health care environment, students in the Dental Hygiene Program may have risks of exposure to infectious diseases.  The Dental Hygiene Program adheres to all state and federal regulations to reduce the risk of health care associated infections.  Individuals who disclose the presence of blood-borne infectious diseases will be shown the same consideration as non-infected individuals and will be offered reasonable accommodations.  Information regarding health status of an individual is considered confidential and protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

Degree Requirements

Elective Courses

Course #
Global and Historic Awareness Elective  +
Sub-Total Credits
Total credits:

Course Sequencing

Item #
Global and Historic Awareness Elective  +
Sub-Total Credits


Academic Area

Health Sciences

Degree Offered

Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene


Program Code


Program Contact

Kimberly Broderick
Department Chair

Dorothy Chase
Dean of Health Sciences and Nursing


CIP Code