Dental Hygiene

Advanced Diploma

Program Overview

Note

The Dental Hygiene program is subject to the high-demand admission process. It opens for application on October 1, and closes on February 15, each academic year. On February 15, paper applications are accepted until 4:30 p.m., and online applications are accepted until 11:59 p.m. (Saskatchewan times). All supporting documentation is required by 4:30 p.m. (Saskatchewan time) on March 1.

As a dental hygienist, it’s your job to provide preventive, educational and therapeutic dental hygiene services to a wide range of clients - from the very young to the very old. Whether you work in a private dental practice or for a health district, in an educational system or for a government agency, you’ll need excellent manual dexterity and good people skills.

Problem solving and critical thinking skills are vital, because a big part of your job is effectively assessing clients and providing treatment plans. Lifelong learning is also important, because you’ll participate in continuing education to stay abreast of changes in technology and techniques.

International applicants are not currently considered for admission to this high-demand program.

Dental Hygiene is a nationally accredited three-year advanced diploma program offered at Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Regina Campus. Classroom and lab work combined with clinical experiences and health promotion activities prepare you to deliver a high standard of service in assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation of dental hygiene care. Your studies will focus on:

  • oral health education and promotion
  • clinical practice
  • provision of ethical and professional dental hygiene care

Hands-On Learning in Our Dental Clinic

Hands-on learning in the dental clinic at Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Regina Campus is a great way to integrate classroom learning with real-world practice. Under the supervision of licensed dentists and dental hygienists, get first-hand experience in providing comprehensive dental hygiene care including assessment of oral health, instruction in oral self-care, exposing dental X-rays and more.

Diploma to Degree

This Saskatchewan Polytechnic advanced diploma program will allow graduates to access one-year Dental Hygiene degree completion programs offered by Dental Hygiene baccalaureate programs.

Learning Environment

  • 26 students are accepted each year.
  • As a student, you will experience a combination of classroom and clinical instruction in the on-campus Dental Clinic.
  • Class hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. You will be expected to complete 30-40 hours of homework each week outside of class time. Time management skills are essential.

Career and Salary Information

Your Career

Dental hygienists work in both public and private sectors. General dental practices are major employers, but there also are job opportunities in specialized dental practices, community clinics, health care institutions, educational facilities and government agencies.

Potential Careers

Sample Job TitleNOC Classification1Earning Potential2
Dental HygienistDental Hygienists and Dental Therapists (3222)$66,600 - $105,000

What's the Work Like?

  • Conduct an initial dental assessment and consult with other health and dental  professionals to provide comprehensive client care.
  • Take dental impressions, fabricate mouth guards and whitening trays.
  • Instruct patients regarding oral hygiene procedures.
  • Remove deposits from  the gums to prevent gum disease.
  • Educate clients on oral health diseases such as gum disease and tooth and root decay.
  • Apply fluoride treatment.
  • Take and interpret x-rays.
  • May perform restorative and orthodontic procedures under the direction of a dentist.
  • May supervise dental assistants in their health care functions.

Below is a list of skills (with examples) that are important in this line of work. This section is based on the Essential Skills Profiles developed and available through the Government of Canada.

  • Read letters from dentists and specialists describing patients' conditions and dentist-recommended treatments.
  • Read medical textbooks and pharmaceutical references to learn about medical conditions and identify drug interactions that may limit or preclude certain dental treatments.
  • Refer to the Canadian Dental Hygienist Association Handbook and provincial Dental Hygiene acts to review the Code of Ethics, practice standards, confidentiality requirements, competency standards and continuing education requirements.
  • Read lists such as price codes for dental treatments, directories of dentists and dental specialists, and tables comparing the characteristics of anaesthetics.
  • Scan the labels on medication and chemical containers for concentrations, dosages, warnings, precautions, side effects and directions for use.
  • Interpret radiographs of patients' mouths to identify abnormalities or changes and discuss future treatments with dentists.
  • May write instructions, pamphlets and other materials to inform and educate patients about dental diseases, treatments and care.
  • Record details of discussions with patients on their record forms.
  • Write brief notes and reminders on schedules, calendars and treatment records.
  • Compare costs of treatment options to help patients with limited financial resources choose among treatment alternatives.
  • Take measurements with probes, rulers and measurement guides
  • Estimate the time required to complete dental procedures.
  • Interact with suppliers to explain unusual orders and to learn about the features, costs and benefits of new products such as tooth whitening strips.
  • Speak with patients of all ages and various nationalities to understand their needs, provide dental health instruction, explain treatments and procedures, answer their questions and reassure them.
  • May present results of scientific studies such as the effects of antiseptic mouth rinses on oral health to their peers at professional development events, such as the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association's Annual Conference.
  • Decide what to do when experiencing scheduling problems, when treatments take longer than expected, when patients arrive late for appointments, staff members call in sick or bad weather causes appointment cancellations.
  • Evaluate patients' oral and dental health and identify treatment needs. For example, hygienists examine the anatomy of the mouth and look for calcium deposits, bleeding and infections.
  • May assess the effectiveness of community dental health programs.
  • May analyze and monitor service utilization and dental status statistics to determine if there are changes in children's dental risk level scores.
  • Use word processing software. For example, write referral letters to health professionals, letters to parents and educators and create educational handouts and simple forms such as school visit forms
  • Use database software. For example, use dental management practice software to enter patient data such as dental treatments provided, dental caries noted and patient appointments scheduled.
  • Use communications software. For example, use e-mail to correspond with co-workers and colleagues about patient and professional development matters.

Length and Start Date

Start Date(s): September

View latest program status info

Length:

108 weeks


Year 1 - 32 weeks; Year 2 - 36 weeks; Year 3 - 40 weeks

Locations

  • Regina

Admissions

Admission Requirements

  • Grade 12 with a minimum overall average of 70% in English Language Arts A30, English Language Arts B30, Biology 30, Chemistry 30, and one of Foundations of Mathematics 30 or Pre-Calculus 30*
  • English Language Requirement

*Previous Saskatchewan mathematics requirement also accepted:

  • One of Math A30, B30, C30, or Calculus 30

Note

  • Standard First Aid and CPR Heartsaver 'C' AED or equivalent are required prior to entry into the Dental Hygiene program and must be current to the year of the program.
  • Accepted applicants are required to provide evidence of 2015 WHMIS Globally Harmonized System (GHS) certification upon admission into the program. Recertification will be required every three years to remain current. The cost of WHMIS certification is your responsibility.

Admission Method

High Demand

High-demand programs consistently have more applicants than spaces available at each Saskatchewan Polytechnic location at which they are offered. High-demand programs have admission requirements plus additional selection criteria. The application period for high-demand programs is October 1 to February 15, each academic year. All supporting documentation is required by 4:30 p.m. (Saskatchewan time), March 1.

See Admission Processes for more information about this method of admission.

Selection Criteria

  • Phase I for High School Graduates: The admission average is calculated from final marks in high school courses required for admission to the program. The high school average will be compared to any grade point average(s) (UGPA) presented for a minimum of 30 passed post-secondary credits from a recognized post-secondary institution - and the highest average considered for admission. Such applicants must be in good academic standing with the institution. If transcripts from more than one post-secondary institution are submitted, the highest UGPA will be considered against the high school average. Applicants are then ranked in the order of the highest averages.
  • Phase I for Current High School Students: The admission average is calculated from final marks provided by March 1. Conditional admission may be granted on this basis. Current high school students must order transcripts to be sent directly to Saskatchewan Polytechnic at the end of Semester 1 and the end of Semester 2 of the grade 12 year. The final grade 12 mark will be used where the course is completed. The final grade 11 mark will be used only in the absence of the grade 12 mark in the same subject.
  • Phase II: Additional selection criteria will be applied to those with the highest averages in Phase I:
    • Admission Average = 70%
    • Candidate Portfolio = 20% *
    • Relevant Post-secondary Education = 10%


* Saskatchewan Polytechnic must receive your Candidate Portfolio by April 15.

For more information about the admission requirements and selection criteria for this program, refer to the Dental Hygiene Frequently Asked Questions.

For required information on preparing your application, refer to the Dental Hygiene Program Portfolio Guide.

You may find it helpful to print extra copies of the Validation Form for Work/Volunteer Experiences.

Tuition and Fees

Estimates are based on current rates and are subject to change. Amounts for a program may vary by campus. Totals shown here include all mandatory fees as well as approximate cost for books and supplies. Visit the Tuition and Fees web page for a complete breakdown of tuition and fees for this program.

 

2020/21 Academic Year

Year 1 - $6,720
Year 2 - $13,020
Year 3 - $13,125

Get Credit for What You Know

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

Saskatchewan Polytechnic recognizes that adults learn in many different ways. This includes acquiring knowledge and skills through life and work experience or non-formal training.  See links below to more information about PLAR and detailed PLAR candidate guides for courses in this program.


Transfer Credit

Many Sask Polytech students benefit from transferring course credit. You may be eligible to transfer credit to Sask Polytech or to another college or university.

Graduates of this program may be eligible for block transfer of 60 credit units into the Bachelor of Science Post Diploma program or 30 credit units toward BSc (PD) with Majors in Applied Mathematics, Computing Information Systems and/or Human Science.
Graduates of this program is granted a maximum of 84 transfer credits into the Bachelor of Health Science.
Graduates of this program may be accepted in to the Faculty of Arts or the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina or the First Nations University of Canada with 60 credit hours of block transfer.

Student Awards

Thanks to the generosity of donors and alumni, Saskatchewan Polytechnic gives away more than $2 million in student awards during the academic year.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic offers student awards for every certificate and diploma program at every campus. Not all student awards are based on marks - some are based on financial need or things like community or volunteer involvement.

More about scholarships

Accreditation

Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada

The Dental Hygiene program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada. When you graduate, you’re eligible to write Canadian and American national certification exams. You’ll also be eligible for licensure by the Saskatchewan Dental Hygienists' Association.

Additional Information

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