Dental Hygiene Program

Essential Functions of Dental Hygienists


The Utah Tech University Dental Hygiene Program prepares students for safe and competent general practice in the dental hygiene profession. Each program candidate must be able to meet or perform the following essential career functions with or without reasonable accommodation.

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NON-DISCRIMINATION IN ADMISSIONS   Utah Tech University is committed to the principle of diversity. All admission policies shall be applied without regard to race, color, ethnic background, national origin, religion, creed, age, citizenship, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status or gender. In that spirit, admission to the Utah Tech University Dental Hygiene (UTDH) program is open to qualified individuals in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

PREPARED FOR PRACTICE   UTDH recognizes that the award of a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene degree carries with it the full authority of the institution and communicates to those who might seek the services of the bearer that he or she is competent to practice dental hygiene. The degree certifies that, upon licensure, the graduate is prepared to practice all disciplines of the dental hygiene profession. This requires that the student acquire cognitive and technical skills and attitudes determined by the faculty as requisite for the practice of dental hygiene with all of its patient responsibilities.


UNIQUE ASPECTS OF CURRICULUM   The University recognizes the unique cognitive, technical and attitudinal aspects of the dental hygiene curriculum. Students must possess the skills and abilities that will allow them to successfully complete the course of study and receive the full benefit of the educational program. The student is required to direct or perform treatment on the patients of the University as part of the curriculum. The University has responsibility for ensuring the safety of patients and student clinicians. This includes the completion of treatment safely and within a reasonable amount of time. The student must be able to meet or perform the following essential functions with or without accommodation.

ADMISSIONS & PROGRAM CONTINUATION    The University has determined that the functions and skills listed above are essential to the program of instruction and will consider for admission any applicant who has:

      • the ability to perform the functions and skills specified with or without reasonable accommodations, and
      • met the published criteria for admission required for all applicants.

Although the University may not inquire whether an applicant has a disability prior to making a decision on admission, an applicant may disclose during the admissions process a disability for which he or she desires accommodation. If this occurs, the University may request that the applicant provide documentation of the disability to the dental hygiene department chair. Notwithstanding such disclosure, the applicant will be considered based upon the published admissions criteria required of all applicants.



    • Dental Patient:  Students are required to act as dental patients for fellow classmates, which includes the inherent benefits and risks of dental treatment.
    • Photographs:  Students will be photographed at various times throughout the academic program. Photos may be used for advertising purposes.


Capability Standard Examples
Cognitive Perception Ability to perceive events realistically, to think clearly and rationally, and to function appropriately in routine and stressful situations. Students must independently and accurately assess or contribute to the assessment of a client
  • Identify changes in client health status. Prioritize multiple dental activities in a variety of situations.
Critical Thinking:

Careful thought, reasoned judgment. Differentiated from personal opinion and superficial memorization of facts by the ability to obtain and use an appropriate quantity and quality of data for a given situation. Critical thinkers question assumptions, routines, rituals, reconsider “known facts” when new information becomes available and develop new “rules” when old ones fail or become unavailable.

Critical thinking skills demanded of dental hygienists require the ability to learn and reason: to integrate, analyze and synthesize data concurrently. Students must be able to solve problems rapidly, consider alternatives and make decisions for managing or intervening in the care of a client.
  • Able to make effective decisions in the classroom and in the clinical setting.
  • Able to determine previous treatment and explain findings with a client.
  • Develop / contribute to dental care plans that accurately reflect client concerns.
  • Able to make decisions reflective of classroom learning in the clinical setting.

Motor Skills

Capability Standard Examples
Motor Skills Ambulatory capability sufficient to maintain a center of gravity when met with an opposing force as in supporting, and/or transferring a client
  • Position clients
  • Reach, manipulate, and operate equipment, instruments and supplies (e.g. syringes, sterile equipment, monitors)
  • Perform/use electronic documentation
  • Lift, carry, push and pull
  • Perform CPR
Organization Skills Ability to plan routines, to think clearly and rationally, and to function appropriately in routine Able to manage time within a given time period
  • Able to follow program policies and procedures set forth in lecture, lab and clinic
  • Prioritize tasks in a clinic appointment routine (e.g. clinic set up, clean up, infection control protocol, radiology protocol)
  • Attends lecture, lab and clinic on time.
Activity Tolerance Ability to tolerate lengthy periods of physical activity. Able to tolerate repetitious and strenuous work.
  • Move quickly and/or continuously
  • Tolerate long periods of sitting


Capability Standard Examples
Communication Communicate in English with others in oral and written form. Able to communicate with clients and members of the health care team in order to plan and deliver safe care.
  • Utilize oral and written communication skills sufficiently for teaching/learning and for interaction with others
  • Read, understand, write, and speak English with clarity
  • Use appropriate vocabulary
  • Demonstrate good listening skills and focus on client while communicating
  • Explain treatment procedures in a well-organized progression of ideas
  • Aware of non-verbal messages
  • Use of appropriate non-verbal communication
  • Initiate and/or reinforce health teaching
  • Write clear, concise, and accurate progress notes
  • Read and understand the client’s chart
  • Aware of voice volume, using attitudes and tone that are effective in communicating information
  • Document client responses
  • Clarify communications received
Interpersonal Relationships Interact with clients, families, staff, peers, instructors, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds.
  • Establish rapport with clients, families, and colleagues
  • Respond professionally to instructor or peer feedback, positive and negative
  • Respond in a professional therapeutic manner to a variety of client expressions and behaviors


Capability Standard Examples
Hearing Auditory ability sufficient to hear normal conversation and/or assess health needs • Ability to monitor alarms, emergency signals, auscultatory sounds (e.g. B/P, cries for help, telephone interactions, dictation) • Communicates with clients, families and colleagues
Vision Visual ability sufficient for observation, assessment, and performance.of safe dental care.
  • Observes client responses
  • Discriminates color changes
  • Accurately reads measurement on client-related equipment
  • Read medication label
  • Read syringe accurately
  • Able to determine parts of the dental instrument as they are adapted to the oral cavity
  • Evaluate for a safe environment
Tactile Tactile ability sufficient for physical assessment, inclusive of size, shape, temperature and texture.
  • Performs palpation e.g. pulse
  • Performs functions of intra- and extra oral exam, dental and periodontal examinations and/or those related to preventive and therapeutic interventions (e.g. exploring, instrumentation)


Capability Standard Examples
Psychosocial Behaviors Possess the emotional health required for full use of “intellectual” abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt and safe completion of all responsibilities.
  • Demonstrate professional abilities of trustworthiness, empathy, integrity, confidentiality
  • Able to work with groups of people and one-on-one
  • Able to be flexible and change when needed • Learn to function in the face of uncertainties and stressful situations


Capability Standard Examples
Environmental Adaptability Ability to tolerate environmental stressors
  • Work with chemicals and detergents
  • Tolerate exposure to odors
  • Work in close proximity to others
  • Work in areas of potential physical violence
  • Work with infectious agents and blood-borne pathogens

Academic Program

Email: DentalHygiene

Phone: 435-879-4905

Fax: 435-879-4929

Public Clinic

Email: DHclinic

Phone: 435-879-4900

Fax: 435-879-4929

Program Advisor

Cindy Clark

Email: Cindy.Clark

Phone: 435-879-4809

Office: Taylor 258