Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2021
Units: 3
Hours: 3 lecture per week (36 total per quarter)
Advisory: Not open to students with credit in D H 64.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • As a capstone project for graduation from the dental hygiene program the student the student will create a final e-portfolio which demonstrates their competency in the four dental hygiene competencies: Dental Hygiene Process of Care, Health Education Strategies, Infection & Hazard Controls, Legal & Ethical Principles.
  • Given a legal/ethical dilemma the student will apply the Six-Step Decision Making Model and analyze the evidence, legal facts, ethical principles involved and details of the dilemma to reach an appropriate decision.


The study of ethics, jurisprudence, business practices, finance, management, and policy creation for oral health care professionals, programs and businesses. This course examines current societal and professional issues and their impact on dental hygiene business practices and management. The course covers the following areas: planning, strategy and leadership, legal and ethical issues affecting businesses in the oral health care sector, financial statements, and personnel considerations. The course prepares students to take the California Dental Hygiene Law & Ethics exam, required for licensing as a Registered Dental Hygienist. Intended for students in the Dental Hygiene Baccalaureate Degree Program; enrollment is limited to students accepted in the program.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Recognize and analyze pertinent ethical issues when given dental hygiene case studies and describe ethical resolutions to these problems.
B. Evaluate the legal responsibilities and scope of practice of the licensed dental hygienist under the Dental Practice Act.
C. Analyze dental practice situations where malpractice might occur and discuss risk management strategies.
D. Appraise the importance of advocacy, communication and leadership skills of dental hygienists to enhance their role of practitioner as well as the advanced roles of researcher, manager, change agent, consumer advocate, and health promoter/educator.
E. Assess current issues related to the business practices in dentistry and the implications of these issues to the profession of dental hygiene.
F. Evaluate the management process and analyze its impact on organizationally performance.
G. Interpret and evaluate financial statements as part of business decision making.

Course Content

A. Ethics
1. Ethical theories
a. Utilitarian
b. Deontology
c. Virtue ethics
2. Factors that influence ethical decision making
3. Ethical case study analysis
4. ADHA Code of Ethics
5. ADA Code of Ethics
B. Jurisprudence
1. Civil law and dentistry
a. Contract law
b. Tort law
c. Negligence
d. Liabilities in dentistry
1) Breach of contract
2) Maligning a patient
3) Permitting a hazard
4) Technical assault
5) Malpractice
2. Standards of care
a. Informed consent
b. Abandonment
c. Referral
d. Reasonable results
e. Patient privacy
f. Instructions to patients
3. California Dental Practice Act: allowable duties and licensing
a. Licensure
b. Allowable duties
c. Supervision
d. Violations of the Dental Practice Act
1) BDE's authority to discipline licensees
2) Unprofessional conduct
3) Quality of care
4) Patient relations
5) Drugs
6) Fraud
7) Record keeping
8) Employment and auxiliary issues
4. Other laws and regulations concerning dentistry
a. Medical waste management
b. Radiation safety
c. Hazardous waste management
d. Cal-OSHA
C. Risk management
1. Patient records
a. Guidelines for record entries and documentation
b. Altered records
c. Ownership of records
d. Safeguarding records
e. Retaining records
2. Risk prevention
a. Professional behavior
b. Communication
c. Safe and comfortable environments
d. Mutual respect
e. Patient complaints
D. Dental hygiene business and career options
1. Roles of the dental hygienist
a. Practitioner/clinician
b. Educator
c. Change agent
d. Marketing and sales
e. Research
f. Manager
g. Consumer advocate
h. Public health
2. The resume and employment interview
a. Preparation
b. Appropriate questions to be asked
c. Locating sources of employment
d. An employment contract
e. Employee/employer rights
E. Current issues in health care business
1. Alternative practice models
2. Future trends in oral healthcare
3. Affordable Care Act
4. Access to care issues
5. Disparities
6. Financial barriers
7. Government programs and assistance
8. Geographic and organizational barriers
9. Social and cultural barriers
F. Management and leadership
1. Leadership vs. management
2. Negotiations
3. Interviewing
4. Employment contracts, compensation, benefits
5. Employee evaluations
6. Public relations
7. Advocacy
G. Finance and marketing
1. Successful marketing
2. Financial planning for business
3. Financial statements
4. Financial ratios, trends and cash flows for decision making
5. Planning process and setting objectives

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. Internet access when taught as an online or hybrid course.
B. Library with dental and bioethical journals.
C. Multimedia classroom.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Preparation of a professional employment resume
Written ethical/legal critical analysis
Ethics and jurisprudence examination
E-portfolio submission and final review of DH competency portfolio
Participation in online discussion forums
Business plan and financial statement evaluation

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Electronic discussions/chat
Individual and and collaborative activities in and out of class

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Bowen, D., and J. Pieren. Darby and Walsh Dental Hygiene Theory and Practice, 5th ed.. 2019.

State of California Publications. State of California, Dental Practice Act, current edition. .

Beemsterboer, Phyllis. Ethics & Law in Dental Hygiene, 3rd ed.. 2016.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Weekly reading assignment in relevant textbooks, peer-reviewed journal articles and current periodicals.
B. Resume and cover letter.
C. Write paper on problem solving an ethical/legal dilemma.
D. Evaluate business case studies, related to medicine and dentistry.
E. Analyze a financial statement.
F. Work with a independently or in a small group to prepare and present a business plan.
G. E-portfolio submission on dental hygiene law and ethics.


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