The practice of dental hygiene can be physically demanding. Students should be in good physical condition and be able to perform the following essential functional requirements.

Motor Skills

  • Perform CPR.
  • Lift and carry up to ten pounds.
  • Retrieve dental supplies from storage areas at different heights.
  • Reach overhead equipment to a height of five feet.
  • Rotate and reach laterally, standing or sitting.
  • Perform for a prolonged period without breaks, e.g., typical shift of eight hours.
  • Manipulate mechanical and patient care equipment, i.e., dials, switches, push buttons, keyboards, syringes, and blood pressure equipment.
  • Maneuver in tight quarters, common to dental offices.
  • Use dental instruments with precision and control in confined areas.
  • Pick up items of very small and varying diameters.
  • Wear protective equipment such as surgical gloves, lab coats, face masks, face shields, and protective eyewear.
  • Function in an environment where latex is present.
  • Exhibit sufficient motor function to examine a patient diagnostically.
  • Carry out OSHA infection control procedures using cleaners and chemicals.

Sensory Skills

  • Differentiate among subtle shades of gray used in radiographic image formation.
  • Discern changes in color, texture, and shape of oral tissue.
  • Respond to requests and direction.
  • Perceive and interpret tactile vibrations appropriately.
  • Elicit information from a patient by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic modalities.
  • Observe demonstrations at a distance and close at hand.
  • Have appropriate depth perception from a distance of 18 inches with or without corrective lenses and be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships.

Intellectual Skills

  • Integrate, analyze, evaluate and synthesize data.
  • Possess the intellectual abilities required to carry out reasoning, analysis, problem-solving, critical thinking, and self-evaluation.
  • Effectively communicate (verbally and in writing) with patients, faculty, and team members in English.
  • Be aware of possible exposure to hazards such as dental materials, radiation, blood and body fluids.

Behavioral Skills

Students should possess the emotional health and mental stability necessary to:

  • Demonstrate respect and caring for patients, peers, staff, and faculty in a professional and ethical manner
  • Demonstrate respect for the diversity of cultures among patients, college personnel and peers
  • Demonstrate a team approach in carrying out responsibilities in all settings
  • Endure physically-taxing workloads
  • Function effectively under stress and adapt to changing environments
  • Be able to accept criticism and respond by appropriate modification of behavior
  • Demonstrate collegiality among faculty, staff and peers
  • Exercise good judgment
  • Respect the confidentiality of patient privacy