Dental Hygiene students get a clean bill of academic health
Photos and Story by James Hill
PORTLAND, Ore. – Good news for teeth everywhere 19 highly qualified dental hygienists are coming your way. The Dental Hygiene program, located at PCC’s southwest Portland Sylvania Campus, graduated 19 students from its program in June. In June, they passed the Western Regional Board clinical exam at Oregon Health Sciences University with an average score of 92 percent. "I’m so proud of our graduates and the hard work they put in," said Josette Beach, director of dental programs. "I’m also proud of the faculty and the support that the institution has given us." The Western Regional Board clinical, which tested students from eight Western states, puts them into a real dentist’s office situation with a live patient. The exam, which tests the student’s treatment skills, takes four hours as they clean a portion of the patients teeth as examiners judge the work. Once students pass all of their other boards, they get certification through the Oregon State Board of Dentistry. The dental hygienist is a licensed dental health professional specializing in periodontal therapy and maintenance (bone and gums around teeth) with an education in the biological sciences and humanities as well as clinical skills. Specific duties include cleaning teeth, complete oral health assessments, taking, developing and interpreting X-rays, applying topical fluorides and sealants, nutritional counseling, oral hygiene education, local anesthetic and nitrous oxide sedation and periodontal therapy. Areas of employment open to dental hygienists include private dental offices or clinics, public health agencies, armed forces and teaching in educational institutions.