The course will span 3 academic years, inclusive of 2 semesters per year and a summer period. This will allow the student to be exposed to the theoretical and scientific foundation of the profession and also become skilful in clinical practice within the professional environment of the teaching hospital, in a timely and structured manner as follows:
1st year: students will receive knowledge on the normal functioning and general pathology of the human body, dental public health and oral health education. The latter will include nutritional and oral hygiene counselling and community dental health program planning, implementation, and evaluation. The principles of education and the methodology of oral health education are skills that are directly applicable and transferable to other areas of general health of our nation.
In parallel, they will also learn and perform basic clinical skills in a dental skills laboratory and observe patient treatment in a dental setting. This preparatory groundwork will allow the individual to start practising in summer on selected healthy patients to provide oral prophylaxis.
2nd year: students will further develop intellectually by receiving knowledge focused on oral and dental disease. By the second year the student will be exposed to patients with more advance oral disease so as to further develop their clinical skills within the university dental teaching clinic.
3rd year: in the final year of the course, the student will be tutored on ethical and legal issues, clinical governance, and critical appraisal of dental and medical literature as a preamble to the writing of a dissertation.
On the clinic front, the student will consolidate their clinical skills by being exposed to the medically compromised patient. The intellectual and clinical knowledge obtained in the first two years of the course will serve as a basis for the management of these compromised patients. This year will allow the individual to attain and refine their intellectual and clinical proficiency so as to allow the candidate to seek direct employment after completion of their studies.
The primary objective of the course is to re-establish the profession of dental hygiene on a national level. More specifically the course will provide a sufficient body of knowledge to enable dental hygienists to undertake their prescribed work with care, safety and responsibility and to recognise the full scope of their remit.
Therefore the objectives of the dental hygiene course are to familiarise students with:
1. Concepts of oral and general health and disease.
2. Notions of public health and oral health education.
3. Legal and ethical rights of patients.
4. Health and safety precautions in the clinical environment.
5. Critical thinking and writing skills using evidence based methodology.
6. Scientific and clinical research procedures in dental disease using evidence based methodology.
7. Clinical practice skills, including patient education, in the field of dental hygiene.
8. Clinically acceptable indices used in treatment records in the field of oral health.
9. Concepts of clinical governance in a dental practice.
10. Modes of gathering and maintaining clinical records in the clinical environment.
By the end of the programme of study, the student dental hygienist will be able to:
1. Describe the theories of oral and general health and disease.
2. Demonstrate the importance of public health and oral health education.
3. Safeguard patients' legal and ethical rights in a clinical and community based setting, using legal and ethically acceptable policies.
4. Ensure health and safety precautions of patients under their care in clinical settings using clinically acceptable policies.
5. Demonstrate critical thinking skills by evaluating current research literature using evidence based methodology.
6. Perform and educate patients on basic and advanced oral prophylaxis techniques in clinical and/or community based settings.
7. Report basic clinical data of patients in treatment records by using clinically acceptable indices.
8. Conduct clinical auditing of patient care, and improve the quality of care of patients, using clinically acceptable policies.
9. Analyse basic clinical data and interpret and explain clinical records during practical sessions and examinations.
Course intended for
The course is intended for local and foreign students who are interested in the dental profession. Students applying for this course should be capable of combining skills, understanding and professional values especially in clinical settings.
Career opportunites and access to further studies
Career opportunities exist within the private sector and in the government health services.