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Essential Functions of Dental Hygienists

Essential Functions of Dental Hygienists

Essential Career Functions

The Dixie State 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.


Cognition & Communication

  • Active Learning:  Goes beyond superficial memorization to understand the implications of new information for both current and future decisions.
  • Active Listening:  Give full attention to understand others, ask questions as appropriate, and offer appropriate feedback based on auditory information.
  • Problem Solving: Use reasoning to evaluate and incorporate learned material and apply concepts to new problems and unanticipated complications in a realistic way.
  • Synthesis of Learning: Combine classroom and laboratory learning into safe and competent clinical practice. Participate and contribute to the learning environment.
  • Attention to Detail: Observe patients to gain information for patient history, perform an accurate patient assessment, and focus treatment plan on preventative therapies.
  • Time Management:  Completing tasks including safe and complete patient treatment in a reasonable amount of time; plans ahead to make better use of treatment time.
  • Oral Communication:  Talking to others to convey information effectively including teaching patients about at home oral care and conversing with classmates and instructors.
  • Written Communication: Effectively express thoughts and actions via writing assignments and patient chart notes using appropriate vocabulary.
  • Emotional Health: Mental awareness to exercise good judgement, develop appropriate relationships with others, and communicate effectively in times of stress or anxiety.
  • Critical Thinking: Solve problems rapidly, consider alternatives, and make decisions independently for managing or intervening in the care of a patient.

Sensory & Motor Skills

  • Visual Perception: Identify precise details at close range (2-3 mm) to safely assess and perform oral care. Current visual acuity is excellent or correctable. Recent eye exam highly recommended.
  • Auditory Perception:  Ability to listen to spoken communication, hear normal conversations, and monitor audible alarms.
  • Hand & Finger Dexterity:  Ability to perform precisely coordinated fine muscle movements of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Motor Skills: Using both hands independently, manipulate dental instruments in class, laboratory, and clinic for extended periods.
  • Body Posture: Ambulatory capability sufficient to maintain stable and proper sitting position for patient treatment including repetitious/strenuous neck, back, arm, hand, and finger motions.

Additional Expectations
  • Dental Patient:  Students are required to be 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.