December 13, 2015 Patricia Johnson

Dental Hygiene

Associate Degree

Dental Hygiene

The Tunxis Community College Dental Hygiene program provides the skills and knowledge necessary to function effectively as an integral member of the dental health team. The program has an affiliation with University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine and utilizes the facilities of the UCONN School of Dental Medicine, federal, state and local hospitals, and community health clinics. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the examinations for licensure given by National and Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA). Graduates who pass both boards are eligible for a Connecticut license.

Dental Hygiene Information Sessions

Information sessions are open to students who are thinking about applying to one of these selective admission programs.  This is a great opportunity to learn about the admissions requirements directly from the program coordinators and to ask your questions, too.

Dental Hygiene Information Sessions will be held on the following dates:
January 18, 5:00 p.m.
February 10, 10:00 a.m.
April 14, 10:30 a.m.
May 5, 10:00 a.m.

Request a Dental Hygiene Information Session

Career Fields for Dental Hygiene Graduates

Dental hygienists may work in a variety of health care settings such as private dental offices, schools, public health clinics, hospitals, managed care organizations, correctional institutions, nursing homes or in a corporate environment. In addition to the clinical role, dental hygienists may also work in an administrative capacity in any of these locations.

Accreditation and Affiliation

Tunxis Community College’s Dental Hygiene program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation. Since its inception, the Dental Hygiene program has had an affiliation with the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. Members of the University faculty teach many courses in the program’s curriculum.

The Dental Hygiene Program has been granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements”. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at 312-440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Ill 60611.

Licensure for Graduates

Tunxis students have excellent outcomes on the Dental Hygiene National and Regional Clinical Boards which qualifies them to apply for licensure to practice.

Connecticut Department of Public Health


The Dental Hygiene program’s faculty are highly qualified with a wide range of clinical and community experience.

  • Dental classes are held in a state-of-the-art simulated dental clinic and lab facilities.
  • Tunxis Community College is the only public college in Connecticut to provide a degree in Dental Hygiene.
  • Students have many opportunities to participate in community outreach service learning projects on the local, national and international level.

Obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree

Articulation agreements with the University of Bridgeport, Charter Oak State College, and Vermont State Technical College provide students the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in Allied Health or Dental Hygiene.

+ Dental Care Services – Make an Appointment

Tunxis Dental Hygiene Clinic meets at the University of Connecticut Health Center

Evening appointments only from September to May

Dental services are determined after a dental exam and based upon patient/client needs. The procedures may include: prophylaxis, fluoride treatment, x-rays, sealants, nutritional counseling, oral hygiene instructions and oral cancer screenings. All clients in need of additional dental care beyond the scope of dental hygiene practice receive a referral.

All students are supervised by faculty who are licensed dental professionals.

The clinic accepts all patient/clients who meet the educational needs of the program. The dental hygiene clinic accepts direct pay, as well as Medicaid and Husky A and B plans.
To make an appointment in this clinic please call 860.773.1681 Monday through Thursday, during the academic year which is August 25 to May 1.

+ Program Outcomes

The Dental Hygiene Program will utilize the following graduation outcomes in assessing students.  Tunxis Community College dental hygiene students strive for achievement of these abilities as well as traditional grades.

Health Promotion-develops, implements, and evaluates health promotion strategies directed toward assisting individuals as well as diverse populations achieve oral wellness as a component of overall health and awareness.

Process of Care and Evidence-Based Practice-provides care to all clients without regard to economic, social, cultural, religious, or health students, based upon an individualized human need, evidence-based practice which includes assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, education, evaluations, and documentation.

Teamwork-effectively engages in interpersonal activities and teamwork.

Technology-appropriately and effectively uses technology to accomplish assigned tasks.

Oral and Written Communication-delivers oral presentations or written text using appropriate information and/or analysis for the rhetorical situation.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving-identifies the problem or deficit, formulates an argument, explains, and analyzes relationships clearly, draws reasonable inferences, and conclusions that are logical.

Ethical and Professional Standards- identifies and reflects critically on ethical issues presented in classroom, simulation, community settings, or clinical patient care.  Demonstrates professionalism across the curriculum in all aspects of the program.

+ Health and Licensure Requirements


In addition to the State College immunization requirements, students are required to be immunized for tetanus, hepatitis B, Covid-19, and annual influenza. Students will receive a packet of information at the time of acceptance into Tunxis Community College Dental Hygiene Program.

Criminal Background Checks

Some clinical learning sites require students to undergo a background check for felony convictions.

Students who do not pass the background check may be excluded from the clinical site and may not be able to meet the competencies required for the program.

Medical Emergency Response

Students are required to complete First Aid, Emergency Oxygen, and CPR at the professional level or healthcare provider or BLS.  American Red Cross and American Heart Association two-year certifications are only accepted.  Courses must be completed in August of the year the student begins the dental hygiene program.  Tunxis Community College offers Basic Medical Support every year that meets those requirements.

Clinical Site

Clinical learning experiences are planned as an integral part of the dental hygiene courses and are held at a variety of health care settings, such as hospitals, extended care facilities, and selected community health centers. Students are responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from assigned clinical sites. Clinical experiences may be assigned during daytime, evening, or weekend hours. Assignment of clinical sites is at the discretion of the dental hygiene faculty.

Waiver of Licensure Guarantee

Upon successful completion of the associate of science degree in Dental Hygiene, the graduate is eligible to take the Dental Hygiene National Boards and apply for a license. The completion of the dental hygiene program does not insure a license to practice dental hygiene. Licensure requirements and procedures are the responsibility of the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

Felony Conviction

At the time of application for licensure an applicant will be asked the following question by the Connecticut Department of Public Health: “Have you ever been found guilty or convicted as a result of an act which constitutes a felony under the laws of this state, federal law or the laws of another jurisdiction and which, if committed within this state, would have constituted a felony under the laws of this state? If your answer is “yes,” give full details, dates, etc. on a separate notarized statement and furnish a certified court copy (with court seal affixed) of the original complaint, the answer, the judgment, the settlement, and/or the disposition.”

Other Requirements

As a health care professional/student, you are at an increased risk for contracting blood borne infectious diseases. The School of Dental Hygiene is not responsible for any medical cost associated with you contracting any communicable disease during or prior to your education and/or participation in Tunxis Community College Dental Hygiene Program sponsored functions. If you contract a blood borne infectious disease before or during your enrollment appropriate health experts must be consulted to determine your ability to treat patients.

+ Admissions Requirements

  • Completion of the Admission Test for Dental Hygiene (ATDH).  Exam is administered through the American Dental Association.  Application and guide may be found at : Admission Test for Dental Hygiene and Users Guide.  Exam is $140.00.  The next testing window is scheduled April 1 through May 31, 2023.  Students should release scores to Tunxis Community College Dental Hygiene Program.
  • Applicant must complete Chemistry 111, English Composition 101, Intermediate Algebra, and a 200 level Anatomy and Physiology I, (note Anatomy and Physiology I at Tunxis has Biology 121 as a prerequisite) with a minimum combined GPA in prerequisite courses of 2.7. A minimum of a “C” must be achieved in each prerequisite course.  Pass/Fail is not accepted.
  • Applicant must take science courses within 5 years of applying to the program; and all science courses must be 4 credits with on ground laboratory components. Grades will be averaged for any science course repeated within this time frame.
  • Applicant must attend a dental hygiene information session. Attendance will be verified with a certificate issued by the session presenter.
  • Applicant is encouraged to enroll in the Health Careers Pathway.
  • Applicant is encouraged to complete general education courses prior to applying to the program.

Special Admission Requirements Dental Hygiene Associate Degree Program:

In addition to the academic admission requirements for Dental Hygiene, and for continual progression in the program, the
following essential functions are also expected of all students with or without accommodations. Students must be able to fulfill
these essential functions of the job without endangering patients or other healthcare workers. Students with Disabilities may be
eligible for accommodations.

Students must have the following abilities:

  • proficiency in their use of the English language and must possess effective oral and written skills in order to accurately
  • transmit appropriate information to patients/clients, faculty, colleagues, and other healthcare workers
  • gross and fine motor skills sufficient to lift, position, and operate equipment
  • interpersonal skills such that they are capable of interacting with individuals, families and groups from a variety of social, economic and ethnic backgrounds
  • the physical mobility necessary to move from place to place in small spaces as well as full range of motion, manual and finger dexterity
  • physical endurance that enables them to stay on task for a prolonged period while sitting, standing or moving
  • a high degree of hand-eye coordination
  • auditory ability and other sensory skills must be sufficient to monitor and assess the health needs and diagnose the oral conditions of patients as well as maintain patient safety
  • visual acuity and adequate spatial perception
  • intact proprioception (the ability to sense pressure/force)
  • present a professional appearance, attitude, and performance level, maintain personal health and be emotionally stable

Application Process for Admission

The applicant must submit ALL of the following by the  February 1 Deadline:

  • All college transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation: professional or academic in nature
  • A personal statement: Please provide a comprehensive biographical sketch of no more than 250 words that includes information to assist the Admissions Committee in “getting to know you better.” Examples of information that might be included in your biographical sketch include but are not limited to: details regarding dental hygiene procedures you have observed, a description of community service projects in which you have participated, and information concerning your interests, abilities and attitudes that have motivated you to make the commitment required for a career in dental hygiene.”
  • Proof of a minimum of 4 hours of shadowing a licensed dental hygienist.

In addition to the admission requirements prior to the start of the first semester of the program:

  • Applicant must complete a General Psychology, a 200 level Anatomy and Physiology II, Microbiology, and DHY 205  Nutrition for Health Professionals with a grade of C or better. A minimum of a “C” must be achieved in each prerequisite course.  Pass/Fail is not accepted.  Students must complete First Year Experience or obtain a waiver.
  • If these courses are in progress at the time of interview, applicant must provide mid-terms grades for evaluation.
  • Final acceptance of the applicant is contingent upon successful completion of these courses.
  • Consideration is given to the number of college courses successfully completed.

Admission Requirements and Prerequisite Courses

Prerequisite Course Name Credits
General Biology I 4
Composition 3
First Year Experience 3
Concepts of Chemistry 4
Intermediate Algebra 3
Anatomy and Physiology I 4
Anatomy and Physiology II 4
Microbiology 4
Nutrition for Health Professionals 3
General Psychology I 3

Dental Hygiene Special Admissions for High School Graduates

The Tunxis Dental Hygiene Program will accept high school graduates to begin the three year sequence of courses.  The applicant must meet the following admission’s criteria:

  • High School Diploma
  • SAT scores: Math 530 or greater, English reading score of 25+.  SATs need to be taken within two years of application.
  • High School GPA 3.5 or greater including successful evidence of Biology and Chemistry with a B+ or greater.
  • Two letters of recommendation.

All applicants must take prerequisite courses in the sequence provided and maintain a C or better.  If a student does not maintain a C in each course, the student will not be guaranteed automatic acceptance into the Dental Hygiene Program, but may apply for the regular selective admission’s process.

Successful graduates from the program are eligible for licensure examinations administered by the Commission on Dental Competency Assessment and the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations.  Students are encouraged to contact the Department of Public Health in intended state of licensure.

Program Coordinator: Dr. Patricia Johnson

Becoming Connecticut State Community College
STUDENTS: The Community Colleges are undergoing a merger with a plan to become Connecticut State Community College in fall 2023; please work closely with your advisor/program coordinator to select your courses accordingly. Get more details about this merger.