Jul 20, 2024  
2021-22 College Catalog 
2021-22 College Catalog [ARCHIVED]

Technical Standards

Technical Standards for Dental Hygiene Students: Essential Abilities

Dental hygienists are licensed oral health professionals who focus on prevention and treating oral diseases - both to protect teeth and gums, and also to protect patient’s total health. They are graduates of accredited dental hygiene educational programs in colleges and universities, and must take a written national board examination and a clinical examination before they are licensed to practice in a particular state. In addition to treating patients directly, dental hygienists may also work as educators, researcher, and administrators.
Source: adha.org. 2008

*The College complies with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Disabilities Act of 1990. Therefore, the College will make reasonable accommodations for participants with disabilities who are otherwise qualified.


  • Clean hard deposits, accretions, and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums, using dental instruments.
  • Feel and visually examine gums for sores and signs of disease.
  • Chart conditions of decay and disease for diagnosis and treatment by dentist.
  • Feel lymph nodes on patient’s head and neck to detect swelling and/or tenderness that could indicate presence of oral cancer.
  • Apply fluorides and other cavity preventing agents to stop dental decay.
  • Examine gums, using probes, to locate periodontal recessed gums and signs of gum disease.
  • Expose and develop x-ray film.
  • Provide clinical services and health education to improve and maintain oral health of school children.
  • Remove excess cement from coronal surfaces of teeth.
  • Make impressions for study casts.
  • Pain management (administration of topical and local anesthesia and nitrous oxide administration)

Tools and Technology Used in This Occupation

  • Dental lasers (not used at Owens Community College) & caries detection aids
  • Dental probes - calculus explorers, caries explorers, Nabers furcation probes, periodontal probes
  • Dental scalers and accessories - Autoscalers; Cavitron equipment, solid hand instruments (scalers); other types of ultrasonic scalers
  • Dental x-ray units - Dental x-ray machines; digital dental x-ray units; panoramic dental x-ray units, portable x-ray units (portable x-ray units not used at OCC)
  • Teeth cleaning devices or accessories - air driven dental polishers; air/water syringes; motor driven dental polishers

Technology Used in This Occupation

  • Accounting software - dental billing software
  • Calendar and scheduling software - Dentrix used at Owens Community College
  • Inventory Management software
  • Other types of software; voice activated software; periodontal charting software (not used at OCC, currently)
  • Word processing software


  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Sales and Marketing - Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.


  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding the written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Time Management - Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


  • Finger Dexterity - the ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand and forearm, or two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Work Activities

  • Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as co-workers, customers, or patients.
  • Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Performing for or Working Directly With the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes receiving clients or guests.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Work Context - This occupation requires

  • one to work with co-workers, patients, etc. Contact would be face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise.
  • one to work with their hands. One must be able to handle, control and feel objects using tools and equipment.
  • one to follow MIOSHA and OSHA guidelines as far as personal protective equipment (PPE’s). All clinical work requires the use of laboratory coats, safety glasses, gloves, masks, closed toed shoes.
  • that the worker performs their job tasks in very close proximity to their patient. Usually within feet of another human being.
  • approximately 80% sitting time or more, depending on the work environment.
  • constant repetitive motion with fingers, hands, and arms with the body usually in a seated position.
  • does expose the worker to diseases or infections presented by the public.
  • frequent decision-making that affect other people, financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization.
  • the worker to be very exact or highly accurate in performing this job.

Work Styles

  • Dependability - requires being reliable, responsible, dependable, and able to fulfill obligations.
  • Attention to Detail - requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Concern for Others - requires being sensitive to others’ needs, feelings, and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Independence - requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Integrity - requires being honest and ethical.
  • Self Control - requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Stress Tolerance - requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Initiative - requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Achievement/Effort - requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Source: O*Net Summary Report for Dental Hygienists. 29-2021.00