Dental Hygiene Education

In Nova Scotia dental hygiene education is accomplished through a three year diploma or four year degree program at Dalhousie University. This includes a pre-professional university year where foundation sciences are completed. Following this a two year intensive curriculum delivers a course of study which will support evidence-based practice such as: 

  • Foundations studies: Writing, sociology, psychology, statistics
  • Biomedical sciences: biology, chemistry, histology, general pathology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, nutrition)
  • Dental Sciences: head and neck anatomy, oral anatomy, embryology, oral pathology, dental radiography, biomaterial sciences
  • Clinical practice
  • Periodontics
  • Population health - health promotion
  • Behavioural Foundations – counselling, education
  • Ethics
  • Professional issues and Health Law
  • Case Studies – introduction to evidence based decision making
  • Dental Specialties
  • Restorative Techniques
  • Exceptional Clients
  • Table Clinics
  • Fear, Pain and Anxiety Management

Many students enter the Diploma Program having already completed an undergraduate degree. The Bachelor of Dental Hygiene (BDH) Program offers an additional year where student take a series of courses which build upon the knowledge base of the diploma program. Students have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge in the areas of applied research, teaching methodologies, health policy and entrepreneurship. The BDH program allows students to choose elective studies in their particular area of interest.

In addition members of the College who hold a practicing license must complete a Self Initiation Course. This allows dental hygienists to practice within their full scope in any practice setting and sets a standard of practice for dental hygiene in the province.

Dental hygienists who wish to use oral anaesthetics by injection must complete a course of study approved by the College Council.

Some dental hygienists in education, administration, research and public service complete graduate degrees in related disciplines at the master and doctorate levels. There are no graduate degrees in the specific discipline of dental hygiene offered in Canada.

Under the Dental Hygienists Regulations dental hygienists must maintain professional competence by completing the continuing competency requirements of the CDHNS.

 

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