Dental Hygiene Domains and Competencies

Adopted December 2014, Implemented fall 2015

Resources: ADEA 2011 Competencies for Dental Hygiene Education & ADHA Proposed Domains for Dental Hygiene Education


Includes integration of basic (including genetics and pharmacogenetics), behavioral and clinical science knowledge that can be applied to patient care and functioning in all six roles of a dental hygienist.

PC3: Recognize the relationships among systemic disease, medications, and oral health that impact overall patient care and treatment outcomes.

PC4: Identify patients at risk for a medical emergency, and manage the patient care in a manner that prevents an emergency.

C14: Manage medical emergencies by using professional judgment, providing life support, and utilizing required CPR and any specialized training or knowledge.


Includes skills in patient assessment, dental hygiene diagnosis and dental hygiene therapies and counseling to foster oral and systemic health. Includes the dental hygiene process of care.

Assessment (Sub Category PC)

PC1: Systematically collect, analyze, and record diagnostic data on the general, oral, and psychosocial health status of a variety of patients using methods consistent with medicolegal principles.

PC2: Recognize predisposing and etiologic risk factors that require intervention to prevent disease.

Dental Hygiene Diagnosis (Sub Category PC)

PC5: Use patient assessment data, diagnostic technologies, and critical decision making skills to determine a dental hygiene diagnosis, a component of the dental diagnosis, to reach conclusions about the patient’s dental hygiene care needs.

Planning (Sub Category PC)

PC6: Utilize reflective judgment in developing a comprehensive patient dental hygiene care plan.

PC9: Obtain the patient’s informed consent based on a thorough case presentation.

Implementation (Sub Category PC)

PC10: Provide specialized treatment that includes educational, preventive, and therapeutic services designed to achieve and maintain oral health. Partner with the patient in achieving oral health goals.

Evaluation (Sub Category PC)

PC11: Evaluate the effectiveness of the provided services, and modify care plans as needed.

HP2: Respect the goals, values, beliefs, and preferences of all patients.

HP3: Refer patients who may have physiological, psychological, or social problems for comprehensive evaluation.

C9: Apply quality assurance mechanisms to ensure continuous commitment to accepted standards of care.

C12: Initiate a collaborative approach with all patients when developing individualized care plans that are specialized, comprehensive, culturally sensitive, and acceptable to all parties involved in care planning.

Restorative/Expanded Functions (Sub Category PC)

PC-R1: Apply principles of anatomy, instrumentation, and restorative dentistry to achieve a quality outcome for restorative procedures performed by the dental hygienist.

PC-R2: Apply principles of anatomy, and occlusion to determine clinically acceptable restorative procedures performed by the dental hygienist.


Works within the oral care system and with the broader health care system to promote and foster optimal health. Includes leadership, advocacy, research and business management skills as well as skills of a change agent to integrate oral health into health systems.

Planning (Sub Category PC)

PC7: Collaborate with the patient and other health professionals as indicated to formulate a comprehensive dental hygiene care plan that is patient-centered and based on the best scientific evidence and professional judgment.

HP1: Promote positive values of overall health and wellness to the public and organizations within and outside the profession.

HP2: Respect the goals, values, beliefs, and preferences of all patients.

HP6: Utilize methods that ensure the health and safety of the patient and the oral health professional in the delivery of care.

CM1: Assess the oral health needs and services of the community to determine action plans and availability of resources to meet the health care needs.

CM2: Provide screening, referral, and educational services that allow patients to access the resources of the health care system.

CM3: Provide community oral health services in a variety of settings.

CM5: Evaluate reimbursement mechanisms and their impact on the patient’s access to oral health care.

CM6: Evaluate the outcomes of community-based programs, and plan for future activities.

CM7: Advocate for effective oral health care for underserved populations.

PGD2: Develop practice management and marketing strategies to be used in the delivery of oral health care.

C2: Adhere to state and federal laws, recommendations, and regulations in the provision of oral health care.


Communication skills with patients, peers, and other health care professionals and health care teams to foster health and health behavior. In addition to oral communication, the dental hygienist must possess a high level of written communication skill and the ability to effectively communicate with technologies. Includes intraprofessional and interprofessional communication and collaboration skills.

Planning (Sub Category PC)

PC8: Make referrals to professional colleagues and other health care professionals as indicated in the patient care plan.

HP6: Utilize methods that ensure the health and safety of the patient and the oral health professional in the delivery of care.

CM4: Facilitate patient access to oral health services by influencing individuals or organizations for the provision of oral health care.

CM7: Advocate for effective oral health care for underserved populations.

C4: Use evidence-based decision making to evaluate emerging technology and treatment modalities to integrate into patient dental hygiene care plans to achieve high-quality, cost-effective care.

C8: Promote the values of the dental hygiene profession through service-based activities, positive community affiliations, and active involvement in local organizations.

C10: Communicate effectively with diverse individuals and groups, serving all persons without discrimination by acknowledging and appreciating diversity.

C11: Record accurate, consistent, and complete documentation of oral health services provided.

C13: Initiate consultations and collaborations with all relevant health care providers to facilitate optimal treatments.


Inculcates the values and ethics needed to function as a leader in oral health care and oral health promotion.

PGD1: Pursue career opportunities within health care, industry, education, research, and other roles as they evolve for the dental hygienist.

PGD3: Access professional and social networks to pursue professional goals.

C1: Apply a professional code of ethics in all endeavors.


Use of knowledge of research methods, critical evaluation of the research, and evidence based skills in carrying out the roles of the dental hygienists in the clinic, community and health systems. Evaluation (Sub Category PC)

PC12: Determine the outcomes of dental hygiene interventions using indices, instruments, examination techniques, and patient self-reports as specified in patient goals.

PC13: Compare actual outcomes to expected outcomes, reevaluating goals, diagnoses, and services when expected outcomes are not achieved.

C3: Use critical thinking skills and comprehensive problem-solving to identify oral health care strategies that promote patient health and wellness.

C5: Assume responsibility for professional actions and care based on accepted scientific theories, research, and the accepted standard of care.

C6: Continuously perform self-assessment for lifelong learning and professional growth.

C7: Integrate accepted scientific theories and research into educational, preventive, and therapeutic oral health services.

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