This course introduces preoperative and clinical dental hygiene concepts. Emphasis is placed on the assessment phase of patient care as well as the theory of basic dental hygiene instrumentation. Upon completion, students should be able to collect and evaluate patient data at a basic level and demonstrate knowledge of dental hygiene instrumentation.

Prerequisites: Enrollment in the Dental Hygiene Program.

Corequisites: DEN 121

Class Hours: 2        Lab Hours: 0        Clinical/Work Exp.: 0        Credit Hours: 2



  • Accurately assess a patient’s health history.

  • List the data to be included in the personal history.

  • List the data to be included in the medical history.

  • List the data to be included in the dental history.

  • State the advantages and disadvantages of the interview technique for taking histories.

  • State the advantages and disadvantages of the questionnaire technique for taking histories.

  • State the advantages and disadvantages of the combination technique for taking histories.

  • Explain the reason for questioning patients about the pre-existing conditions.

  • Discuss the American Heart Association antibiotic regimen.

  • Demonstrate the use of a drug reference to determine the significance of prescribed drugs in relation to dental treatment.

  • Explain the significance of effective communication between the clinician and the patient as it relates to obtaining and reviewing the health history.

  • Describe the technique for obtaining and reviewing the health history.


  • Define sphygmomanometer and name its parts.

  • Define stethoscope and name its parts.

  • Name two types of sphygmomanometers.

  • Name the artery the rubber cuff compresses when taking blood pressure

  • Explain systolic pressure.

  • Explain diastolic pressure.

  • List the normal blood pressure for adults and children.

  • Explain the procedure for taking blood pressure.

  • Define pulse rate.

  • List the normal pulse rate for adults and children.

  • Explain the procedure for taking pulse rate.

  • Name the artery most frequently used to take pulse rate.

  • Define body temperature.

  • List the normal body temperature in C and F.

  • Define respiration.

  • Explain the procedure for taking the respiratory rate.

  • List the average respiratory rate for adults and children.

  • List signs and symptoms that would require taking vital signs.

  • Describe the rationale for performing these procedures without alarming the patient.


  • Describe the preparation of the operatory for receiving and seating the patient.

  • Explain the principles of body mechanics, which will reduce fatigue and maintain stamina during procedures.

  • Describe the basic positioning of the operator in terms of position of the feet, thighs, back, body weight, elbows and eyes.

  • Explain the correct positioning of the patient in relationship to the seated hygienist.

  • Name the conditions which contraindicate use of the supine position.

  • Describe the effects of the maladjustment of the chair on the patient.

  • Describe the positioning for the instruments, bracket tray, and countertop materials/supplies for immediate access.

  • Describe the position of the light while working on the patient both for the maxillary and mandibular arches.

  • Describe the importance of maintaining the “central beam” over the working area.

  • Identify the working positions for the right-handed operator.

  • Identify the working positions for the left-handed operator.


  • Explain the advantages of an appropriate grasp.

  • Compare the advantages and disadvantages of the modified pen grasp and the palm grasp.

  • Explain the function of each finger in the modified pen grasp.


  • List three functions of a fulcrum.

  • Describe the location of an intraoral fulcrum being used with the working end.

  • Discuss the importance of an appropriate fulcrum in relation to instrumentation.


  • Describe and demonstrate the following with the dental mirror: 1) Modified pen grasp, 2) Palm grasp, 3) Fulcrum and 4) Adaptation.

  • Explain how to retract the tongue or buccal mucosa.

  • Explain how to achieve light reflection with the dental mirror.

  • Explain the relationship of indirect vision to proper operator positioning.

  • Describe transillumination and explain its purpose.


  • List the components of the air/water syringe.

  • Name the appropriate grasp to use with the air/water syringe.

  • Explain the reason for using compressed air.

  • Explain the reason for using the water spray.

  • Explain the reason for using the combination spray.

  • Explain why the clinician must be careful using the air/water syringe.

  • Explain the operation of the saliva ejector.


  • List the criteria necessary for general appraisal to determine the patient’s well being.

  • Describe the following facial profiles: 1) Mesognathic, 2) Retrognathic and 3) Prognathic.

  • Describe the techniques of palpation.

  • Identify the correct palpation technique for the temporomandibular joint and describe the pathways of the joint in a normal state and variations of norm.

  • Discuss the technique for palpating the facial tissue and the underlying structures palpated.

  • Identify the various glands and lymph nodes of the head and neck region and the correct procedure for palpating each.

  • List the characteristics of normal lip tissue and the techniques used to examine the lips.

  • Describe some conditions present in abnormal lip tissue.

  • Describe the characteristics of the buccal mucosa, which should be noted in an oral examination and the techniques for examining the buccal mucosa.

  • Describe the characteristics of the hard and soft palate and the oral pharynx, which should be noted in an oral examination and the techniques for examining these structures.

  • Describe the appearance of normal gingival tissue.

  • Name the structures found on the floor of the mouth and discuss the technique for palpating them.

  • Describe the technique for palpating the alveolar bone.

  • Discuss the procedure for examining the lateral borders and the base of the tongue.

  • State the rationale for thoroughly inspecting the lips, tongue and floor of the mouth.

  • Discuss the ABCDT method of describing lesions.


  • Explain the importance of being able to differentiate between normal, healthy periodontal tissues and diseased tissues.

  • Define periodontal disease.

  • Differentiate between gingivitis and periodontitis.

  • Describe a gingival pocket and the conditions that bring about this type of pocket formation.

  • Describe the types of periodontal pockets and the conditions that create these pockets.

  • Explain the difference between clinical crown and anatomic crown.

  • Explain the difference between clinical root and anatomic roots.

  • Describe the types of oral mucosa.

  • List the four parts of the periodontium. (As stated in Wilkins’ text).

  • Define and be able to identify items on a schematic drawing.

  • Compare characteristics of the gingiva in health and disease.

  • Classify furcation involvement.


  • Describe the canine and molar relationships for the following classifications of malocclusion: 1) Normal, 2) Angle’s Class I, 3) Angle’s Class II, division 1 and division 2 and 4) Angle’s Class III.

  • Describe anterior crossbite.

  • Describe posterior crossbite.

  • Describe edge-to-edge bite.

  • Describe end-to-end bite.

  • Describe openbite.

  • Describe overjet.

  • Describe underjet (reverse overjet, negative overjet).

  • Describe overbite: normal, moderate and severe.

  • Explain the purpose of identifying and recording the patient’s occlusion in the chart.


  • Identify the etiologic factors and describe the clinical appearance of the following regressive changes: 1) Attrition, 2) Erosion and 3) Abrasion.


  • Describe the appropriate technique for assessing tooth mobility.

  • Classify tooth mobility according to Class I, Class II and Class III mobility.

  • Define each mobility classification.


  • Describe the following with any explorer: 1) Grasp, 2) Fulcrum, 3) Insertion and 4) Adaptation.

  • Identify the ODU 11/12 explorer.

  • Identify the Shepard’s hook (#23) explorer.

  • Identify the #17 explorer.

  • List the indications for use of the ODU 11/12.

  • List the indications for use of the Shepard’s hook explorer.

  • List the indications for use of #17 explorer.

  • Describe the “exploratory” stroke.

  • Explain the characteristics of explorer design that make it the instrument of choice for patient assessment.


  • Define acquired pellicle.

  • Describe the formation of acquired pellicle.

  • Define dental plaque

  • Describe the formation of plaque.

  • Explain the origin, location and distribution of supragingival plaque.

  • Explain the origin, location and distribution of subgingival plaque.

  • Explain the relationship of plaque to gingival disease.

  • Explain the relationship of plaque to caries formation.

  • Explain the relationship of plaque to calculus formation.

  • Define materia alba.

  • Define food debris.


  • Define dental calculus.

  • Describe the formation of calculus.

  • Explain the origin, location and distribution of supragingival calculus.

  • Explain the origin, location and distribution of subgingival calculus.

  • Explain methods of plaque detection.

  • Explain methods of calculus detection.

  • Compare characteristics of different types of calculus.


  • Differentiate among the instrumentation techniques.

  • List and compare the objectives of scaling, root planing, and periodontal debridement between the old paradigm and the new paradigm.

  • Name the instruments used for calculus removal, root planing, and periodontal debridement.

  • List the advantages of sharp curets for effective and conservative root planning.

  • Describe the strokes used for instrumentation.

  • Explain what is meant by burnished calculus.

  • Explain the importance of stabilization of your hand for calculus removal.

  • Explain how to manage the situation if an instrument breaks during instrumentation.


  • List four design features of universal curets.

  • Describe how to determine the correct working end of a universal instrument for the posterior and anterior areas.

  • State the angulation between the terminal shank and instrument blade of a universal curet (411/412 and the Columbia 13/14 curets).

  • State the degree of angulation between the face of a universal curet (YG 7/8, Barnhardt 5/6, and the Columbia 13/14 curet) and the tooth during insertion, adaptation and activation.

  • State the sequence for instrumentation in a posterior treatment area with a universal instrument.

  • State the sequence for instrumentation in an anterior treatment area with a universal instrument.

  • Describe and demonstrate both planing and biting strokes on a typodont.


  • Compare the design characteristics of area-specific curets with universal curets.

  • Identify the purpose and use of the Gracey curets used for calculus removal and periodontal debridement.

  • Describe the design characteristics of the Gracey curets.

  • State the degree of angulation between the face of the Gracey curets and the tooth during insertion, adaptation and activation.

  • Describe the strokes used for effective calculus removal.

  • Describe and demonstrate both planing and biting strokes on a typodont.


  • Differentiate between a straight and curved scaler in terms of design characteristics.

  • Describe the correct working angle of a scaler during instrumentation.

  • Discuss the uses and limitations of scalers

  • Review the difference between “planing” and “biting” strokes.


  • Discuss the characteristics and use of the hoe scaler.

  • Discuss the characteristics and use of the chisel scaler.

  • Discuss the various design characteristics of instruments presented in class.

  • Identify the use of various instruments presented in class based on instrument design.


  • Discuss the roles of the dental hygienist and services provided.

  • Discuss the standard of care in dentistry and dental hygiene.

  • Discuss the elements of the dental hygiene process of care.

  • Define ethics and discuss the resolution of ethical issues.

  • Define and discuss the need for evidence based practice.

  • Review research types and levels of evidence.

  • Discuss research ethics, including informed consent and IRB’s.


A Excellent 4 Grade Points Numerical grade of 90 - 100
B Above Average 3 Grade Points Numerical grade of 80 - 89
C Average 2 Grade Points Numerical grade of 70 - 79
D Below Average 1 Grade Point Numerical grade of 60 - 69
F Failed 0 Grade Point Numerical below 60
WP Withdraw Passing 0 Grade Point Issued if the course is dropped after the
census date and on or before the 60% point
of the course unless the instructor issues
a WF based on extenuating circumstances
WF Withdraw Failing 0 Grade Point Issued if the course is dropped after the
60% point of the course or the instructor
chooses based on extenuating circumstances


Regular, prompt attendance is essential for academic success. Students should strive for perfect attendance. It is recognized, however, that students may be absent from class occasionally. Students should reference the instructor's syllabus to determine the attendance requirement for this course. The instructor is responsible for enforcing the attendance requirement. It is the student's responsibility to withdraw from the course. Students may complete the withdrawal process in the Advising Center. Students may receive a grade of WP if they withdraw from a course by the 60% point/date of the course. Any student withdrawals that occur after the 60% point will result in a grade of WF. Exceptions to the "WF" grade may exist if the student has a mitigating circumstance. Students are encouraged to discuss withdrawal options with the faculty member and complete the withdrawal process in the Advising Center.


If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact Frank Pait, Counselor for Students with Disabilities, at extension 4222, in the Learning Assistance Center (LAC) located on the first floor of the Cuyler A. Dunbar Building (CAD).

If you are a student with a mobility impairment and have a class in a multi-story building, please discuss evacuation plans with your instructor.


Students shall be permitted excused absences from all classes two days per academic year for religious observances required by their faith. The absences requested in accordance with this policy are "one of" and not "in addition to" any absences otherwise permitted by the faculty for a class. The excused absence request must be submitted by the second class meeting and a minimum of two (2) weeks in advance of the absence. Please contact your instructor for the required forms.


Students at CVCC are expected to be honest in all academic pursuits, whether class, lab, shop, or clinical. Acts of academic dishonesty are considered unethical and subject to behavior sanctions. Examples of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to the following:

1. Sharing information about the content of quizzes, exams, classroom/lab/shop/clinical assignments (scheduled or make-up) without approval of the instructor including but not limited to unauthorized copying, collaboration, or use of notes, books, or other materials when preparing for or completing examinations or other academic assignments (scheduled or make-up).

2. Buying, selling, or otherwise obtaining a copy of a quiz, exams, project, term paper, or like document, without approval of the instructor.

3. Plagiarism, which is defined as the intentional representation of another person's work, words, thoughts, or ideas (from any source) as one's own.

4. Failing to follow approved test taking procedures by performing such acts as:
  • Looking on another student's test
  • Use of unauthorized notes; written, electronic, or otherwise
  • Changing answers after exam is scored
  • Verbal, non-verbal, or electronic communication with another student during an exam

Instructors have the authority to impose either a warning, probation, or dismissal from the class for acts of academic dishonesty relative to classes under their supervision.

Students have an obligation to report any acts of academic dishonesty to the instructor or appropriate campus authority when reasonable grounds exist for such a report. Students also have a responsibility to cooperate in the investigation of any alleged acts of academic dishonesty. Failure to report acts of academic dishonesty could result in a behavior sanction as outlined in the Student Conduct Policy, Policy 3.18


Reporting and Response to Sexual Violence, Sexual or Gender-based Harassment, and Other Sexual Misconduct

"Title IX Violations" is the term that will be used to include "sexual violence, sexual or gender-based harassment, and other sexual misconduct" and is explained further in Procedure 3.18.2. The Procedure can be found on the CVCC Website under About Us/Procedures.

Procedure 3.18.2 applies exclusively to Title IX Violations allegations. All other forms of harassment and/or discrimination are handled under Policy 3.18: Student Code of Conduct.

Students and/or employees are encouraged to report Title IX Violations in any of its forms, including, but not limited to, sexual or gender-based harassment, rape, sexual assault, other forcible and non-forcible sex offenses, domestic or dating violence, or stalking, and CVCC supports this procedure for students and employees in compliance with Title IX legislation.

Any student who believes that he or she is being, or has been subjected to, Title IX Violations is encouraged to file a report of the alleged Title IX Violations promptly with the Title IX Coordinator, Dean for the School of Access, Development, and Success.


To Report a Serious Emergency Dial 911 from any campus phone or 911 from mobile phones; then dial 711 (Campus Safety & Security) from a campus phone.

For specific CVCC emergencies guidelines, please refer to the CVCC Emergency Guidebook


Quickly get all persons behind a locked door, close blinds, lock all windows/doors, and turn off lights. Sit against an interior wall away from windows and doors (hide). Keep cell phones ON in silent mode or vibrate. Do not leave the locked area until notified by a known CVCC administrator or by law enforcement that the emergency is over.

Seek Shelter (tornados, hurricanes, etc.)
Move to hallways and/or other inner rooms. Stay away from windows and doors. Sit on floor facing the inner wall and shield head with hands. Remain in shelter until notified by CVCC administration or by emergency personnel that the danger is over.

Building Evacuation
Leave the building immediately and proceed to a parking lot location at least 300 feet from the building. Do not delay to retrieve books or other personal items. Do not use elevators. Do not touch suspicious objects. Stay clear of the building once outside. Faculty should take class rosters if possible and account for all students at evacuation locations. Report any special assistance needed to CVCC faculty/staff or to emergency personnel. If you are aware or suspect someone is trapped in a threatened building, notify CVCC faculty/staff or emergency personnel. Remain at your building evacuation location until further instructions are provided by CVCC administration or by emergency personnel. In case of bomb threat, avoid using cell phones and wireless devices; this may detonate the bomb.

Smoke, Fire or Hazardous Materials
Activate the nearest fire alarm. Before attempting to fight a fire, notify someone nearby. Never attempt to fight a fire larger than wastebasket size. Close doors and windows to isolate the problem if the situation permits. If trapped in a building during a fire, use wet towels or cloths to protect you from flames and smoke. Stop/drop/roll if your clothes catch on fire. Do not open doors that feel hot. Always stay between the fire and an exit. Stay low to the floor as you try to exit.

Personal Emergencies
Unless you feel threatened, stay with the victim until emergency personnel arrive. Avoid contact with bodily fluids. Stay calm and try to minimize panic. If the person is conscious, ask if he/she is a High School student (if so, include this information in your 911 call).

Emergency Procedures Revised: April 4, 2012

Cell phone backup to 711 Campus Safety & Security:

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