Dental Hygiene

Program 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

  • The Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene is a selective admission program.  See Admissions requirements below for more detail.
  • Students must complete 82 credits, including 34 credits of general courses, 6 elective credits, and 42 program credits. Students are encouraged to complete general and elective credits prior to the start of program courses. 
  • Students should expect to be involved in program courses and program responsibilities/requirements on a full-time basis from approximately 7am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Students may be required to be on campus when not normally scheduled for different meetings, events and/or at the request of faculty. Every attempt is made to give students advance notice of schedule changes.   
  • Some courses in this program are only offered during the day.
  • Once enrolled in the Dental Hygiene program, students are required to complete all courses in the four semesters of instruction in the required sequence and without interruption, in order to integrate theoretical and clinical education and to graduate. 
  • Applicants with completed applications meeting minimum criteria submitted by February 1 will be given priority consideration for admission. 
  • Students planning to transfer into this program should seek advice from the Department Chair on which courses to take.  

Program Accreditation

The Associate's in Science in Dental Hygiene program 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 average first time pass rate for the National Board (required for licensure in Massachusetts) is 80%.  The CDCA patient simulated manikin examination average first time pass rate is 90%.  

After Bristol Community College

Graduates work 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, and Technical Literacy

Admissions Process

The Dental Hygiene program is a competitive program with selective admission requirements. A limited number of students are admitted each year. Priority is given to applications submitted by the Priority Application deadline, which is February 1. 

The Admissions Office reviews each applicant based on the pre-admission requirements. Meeting minimum criteria places the applicant in the selection pool but does not guarantee admission to the Dental Hygiene program. Applicants in the selection pool are ranked according to GPA (highest to lowest) on the pre-admission courses. The Admissions Office notifies the top twenty-two candidates of acceptance into the program, and these candidates have until May 1st to confirm their acceptance.  

Admission Requirements

All applicants are required to complete the following pre-admission requirements to be considered for the selection pool for the Dental Hygiene program:  

1. Earn a B- or greater in the following pre-admission courses:  

  • High school Algebra I (or a higher-level mathematics course in high school or college) 
  • A 4-credit college chemistry course with a laboratory component  
  • BIO 233 Human Anatomy and Physiology I (or equivalent)  
  • ENG 101 Composition I: College Writing (or equivalent or a higher level college English course) 

NOTE: Applicants must have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0+ in the above pre-admission courses, and students must complete all pre-admission math and science courses within 5 years of the priority application deadline.   

2. Achieve a total composite score of 50% or higher on the ATI TEAS Exam. For more detailed TEAS information, please visit theTesting Center

3. Attend one mandatory Health Science Information Session. Applicants are advised to preregister early as seating is limited.

Transcripts from attendance at other regionally accredited colleges and universities may be required with submission of your application.  Please refer to the Admissions page within this catalog for further information.  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 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).  Covid-19 vaccination and booster are required to complete the program. 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. A ten-panel random drug screen is required upon entrance, each academic year, and/or at random. If there is a need for any re-testing, 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 on-site dental hygiene clinic, which will prevent students from completing the program objectives. 

Please be advised that despite Massachusetts law which 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.  BLS for Health Care Providers, Online CPR or other CPR providers may not be accepted. It is recommended that student certification is obtained the summer prior to entry into the program. Students are responsible for maintaining current CPR certification for the entirety of the program without lapse.   

Additional Costs

Students must carry professional liability insurance and provide their own transportation to off-campus clinical assignments. They are responsible for purchasing instruments, equipment, textbooks, uniforms, clinical supplies and disposables.  Students are responsible for paying for professional memberships, board examination fees, and CPR certification.   

Grade Requirements

A grade of “C” or better must be attained in each clinical course and all other Dental Hygiene (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 in 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 the 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