1. Q. What are the differences between a dental hygienist, a dental assistant and a dental laboratory technician?
A. As a member of the allied health professions, a dental hygienist cleans teeth and provides services directly to patients to promote optimal oral health and appearance, and to prevent and arrest dental disease. Dental hygienists practice in health-oriented settings (public and private) as clinicians, health promoters, educators, consumer advocates, researchers, administrators and change agents. Formal higher education and qualifying exams are required. A dental assistant is trained to assist the dentist while the dentist performs services for the patient. They provide supportive services under the supervision of the dentist. Formal education is available and desirable, but is not legally required in Oklahoma. A dental laboratory technician makes and repairs crowns, bridges, dentures and a variety of dental appliances to the specification of a dentist. Generally, a laboratory technician does not provide direct patient care. Formal education is available and desirable, but is not legally required.
2. Q. Is the program accredited?
A. Yes. Tulsa Community College Dental Hygiene Program is accredited through the Commission on Dental Accreditation, American Dental Association.
3. Q. Does acceptance to TCC or taking the required prerequisite courses guarantee admission to the dental hygiene program?
A. No. There are a limited number of positions available in the program, only 14. Admission is on a selective and competitive basis.
4. Q. How many credit hours are required to complete a dental hygiene Associate in Applied Science degree at TCC?
A. The total requirements for general education and dental hygiene are 88 + semester hours. The specialized dental hygiene courses require two years of full-time enrollment to complete with a summer component. There is approximately 23 to 30 credit hours of prerequisite course work.
5. Q. If I take the general education courses ahead of time, can I complete the program in a shorter time?
A. No. Even though you must take some general education courses prior to entering the program, it will still take you two years to complete the dental hygiene courses. They are all sequenced, each building upon the previous courses, and are not offered out of sequence.
6. Q. Should I talk to a TCC career counselor regarding the requirements for the dental hygiene program?
A. Yes. It is highly recommended that you make an appointment with a TCC career counselor. The counselors at the Metro Campus are more familiar with the program, since the program is located on this campus.
7. Q. If I have earned college credit, do I still need to submit a high school transcript?
9. Q. What if I do not have a high school degree?
A. GED scores are accepted in lieu of a high school transcript.
10. Q. Are there any physical requirements needed for the Dental Hygiene Program?
A. Yes. You must be able to safely and properly complete all tasks and activities involved in the class, laboratory and clinical aspects of this program. Doctor verification is required.
11. Q. Are there any age, sex, or race restrictions or requirements?
12. Q. May I take the program on a part-time basis?
A. No. The required general education courses may be taken on a part-time basis but the Dental Hygiene Program is offered only as a full-time program.
13. Q. May I take the program at night?
A. No. The dental hygiene courses are offered primarily in the daytime. The basic education courses are generally offered at night, as well as in the daytime.
14. Q. When does each entering class begin?
A. Students admitted to the dental hygiene program begin course work the summer following acceptance into the program.
15. Q. Will I be exposed to risks or hazards?
A. Yes. Like other allied health professionals, you may be exposed to infectious patients, bloodborne pathogens and other substances. Proper procedures for radiation safety, sterilization, infection and disease control, and personal protection are taught and incorporated in the program.
16. Q. I must work while going to school. How should I arrange my schedule to accomplish both?
A. Working while in this program is strongly discouraged. The less you have to work, the better your chances for successful completion of the program. The program is scheduled as a full-time college academic program with a rigorous curriculum.
17. Q. How much time per week will I actually spend in classes?
A. This will vary with each semester. Because of the laboratories and clinics, 35 to 40 hours per week are frequently necessary.
18. Q. Is housing available at TCC?
A. No. Each student must arrange for his/her own room and board.
19. Q. After admission to the Dental Hygiene Program, are there grade requirements to stay in the Program?
A. You must achieve a "C" or better in each dental hygiene course in order to proceed onto the next course in the two-year program.
20. Q. Is financial aid available for dental hygiene students?
A. Financial assistance is available for many students in the form of loans, grants, scholarships, a fee-waiver, work-study, etc., depending upon need, academic performance, funds available and student classification. Contact the TCC Financial Aid Office for details and assistance.
21. Q. Will I be a licensed dental hygienist upon successful completion of this program?
A. Licenses are not conferred on graduation. You must take a comprehensive written National Board Examination, the clinical examination, and written examination on the State Dental Act administered by the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry. Upon successful completion of all examinations and payment of fees, you will be granted a license to practice as a Registered Dental Hygienist in Oklahoma.