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Dental Hygiene Program


Cynthia Harding

(208) 732-6722

Program Overview

The Dental Hygiene program educates students to provide patient dental care to the public. Didactic, clinical, and laboratory instruction is designed to develop students into valuable members of the Dental Health Team.

Program graduates may become licensed Registered Dental Hygienists (RDH). RDH use educational theory and methodology to analyze oral health needs. Educational services learned develop promotional strategies and delivery of oral health for individuals and groups. As clinicians, RDH assess, plan, and implement treatments for prevention, intervention, and control of oral diseases while practicing in collaboration with other professionals. RHD provide routine patient care and treatment for beginning to advanced stages of periodontal disease.

Prerequisite course work is listed on the CSI website. The program takes students two years to complete and requires admission application. Ten students are selected each year for admission into the Dental Hygiene Program. The College of Southern Idaho's Dental Hygiene program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Program prepares students for the successful completion of the National Dental Hygiene Exam and the Western Regional Board Exam (WREB) which are administered by the Joint Commission of the American Dental Association.

Students must be high school graduates or have completed the GED/HSE before applying to this program.

To promote success on the certification/licensure examination(s), all Required Courses must be passed with a grade of C or better.

Admission Requirements

Dental Hygiene Technical Standards

Compliance with the title 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act

The following technical standards and essential functions are reasonable expectations of a student in a dental hygiene program for the performance of common functions. In the interest of the student's personal safety and the safety of the CSI patients, there are significant requirements that must be met before admission to the program is finalized. The attendance requirements and stamina demand on the dental hygiene student require students to be in good physical and mental health.

Applicants to the program must possess the following general qualities:
Communication - speech, reading, writing
Be able to:

  • Establish rapport with patients, families and classmates
  • Have proficient use of the English language in speech, reading and writing
  • Communicate abilities for effective interaction in verbal, non-verbal and written form
  • Obtain and disseminate information relevant to patient care and work duties
  • Respect cultural diversity

Visual and Perceptual Skills

Be able to:

  • Use binocular vision with discrimination/perception to read anesthesia vials and medication labels
  • Have visual acuity corrected to 20/40 or better with the ability to accommodate at a distance of 10 - 20 feet
  • Document color vision deficiencies - limited to a single color
  • Have visual skills necessary to detect signs and symptoms, body language and infections
  • Reading computer screens, documents with small printing and hand written notations

Hearing and Auditory Abilities

Be able to:

  • Have auditory abilities necessary to monitor and assess patient health needs
  • Monitors vital signs and auscultation with the use of a stethoscope
  • Recognize sounds of alarms or emergency signals
  • Correctly interpret Dentist orders, patient needs or complaints, faculty instructions

Motor Skills - physical ability, coordination, dexterity

Be able to:

  • Have normal tactile feeling. Sensitivity to heat, cold, pain, pressure, etc.
  • Have extremely fine motor control with correspondingly hand-eye coordination-hand functions should include rotation, squeezing, and repetitive movements
  • Full manual dexterity which includes the function of both arms, both wrists, both hands and fingers
  • Have motor function to elicit information such as palpation, extension, twisting, bending, stooping, pushing, pulling and lifting
  • Physically move to a position to enable them to provide dental care and cardio pulmonary procedures
  • Possess the strength to assist a patient in transferring themselves to and from a dental chair

Emotional Stability and Personal Temperament

Be able to:

  • Have high levels of mental and emotional stability to provide a safe dental environment
  • Provide all compliant and non-compliant patients with emotional support and maintain a consistent professional attitude and appearance
  • Deal with stress of the program didactic and clinical demands, while performing multiple tasks concurrently
  • Focus in an environment with multiple interruptions, noises, distractions and unexpected patients' needs

Intellectual and Critical Thinking Skills

Be able to:

  • Use critical thinking skills necessary for sufficient clinical judgment
  • Have the abilities to measure, assess, calculate, reason, analyze, and integrate information
  • Identify cause/effect relationships
  • Develop treatment dental care plans
  • Problem solve, prioritize, evaluating outcomes and synthesis data for documentation
  • Comprehend focus and process information
  • Utilize long and short-term memory skills

Admission Process / Packet

Applicants will find admissions and prerequisite information in the Program Admission Requirements.


Post-Admission Proccess

Health Requirements

Students who have been admitted into the Dental Hygiene program must undergo several health requirements before they enter into the clinical components of their study.

Students are required to have current immunizations. Please refer to the Student Immunization Tracker sheet.

Students will need the following required exams after they are admitted to the program and before clinical rotation begins.

Program Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Dental Hygiene program, a student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of Dental Hygiene practice.
  2. Demonstrate clinical proficiency by developing patient treatment plans to provide comprehensive oral hygiene care.
  3. Learn and develop leadership and organizational skills to facilitate community based service.
  4. Study research journals and analyze scientific methods to aid in the selection of appropriate therapies and educational methods, manage practice problems and apply advances in patient care.
  5. Foster team building, communication and Integrity necessary to contribute to clinical employment settings.
  6. Prepare for successful completion of the National Dental Hygiene Exam and the Western Regional Clinic Board Exam (WREB).

Sample Career Opportunities

  • Dental Hygienists

*Talk to an advisor for additional career choices

Program Expenses

Students must be aware of all costs in addition to tuition and fees. These costs are outlined here in Program Expenses.


Applicants and students should be aware of the Dental Hygiene Programs scope, sequence, and didactic and clinical schedule.

Program Competencies

ADEA Compendium of Curriculum Guidelines for Allied Dental Education Programs May 2015-2016

These guidelines are utilized in coursework developed by CSI Dental Hygiene Faculty. These guidelines reflect specific topic content. Faculty also configure the course work with stategies that include case studies, problem-based scenarios, computer simulations, community experiences, and collaborative work with dental professionals and other members of the health care teams.

Embedded throughout the curriculum are competencies and learning strategies like:

  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Health and Safety concepts
  • Regulatory controls
  • Health promotion
  • Ethic and professionalism
  • Cultural competence/inclusiveness
  • Interprofessional education
  • Evaluation of current scientific literature
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Health literacy


The College of Southern Idaho’s Dental hygiene program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and has met the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements.”

Standards for Clinical Dental Hygiene Practice

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