Module: Ethics IV (revised 2016)
Program Competency: Practice in accordance with the state rules and regulations that govern the practice of dental hygiene 
Course Competency:  Professional Development/Ethics/Professionalism
Students will establish a personal code of ethics and professionalism that governs their practice of dental hygiene

Primary Resources: Tennessee Board of Dentistry website:
Supplemental Resources: Kimbrough, Ethics, Jurisprudence, & Practice Management in Dental Hygiene, 3rd Ed. Chapter 5

Key Terms:                            


Professional responsibility

Board examination Board of Dentistry
Scope of Practice

Statue of limitations

Peer review

License renewal


Practice act

Learning Objectives

  1. Differentiate between rules and regulations and statues (laws), 

  2. Determine differences in dental hygiene and assisting duties,

  3. Summarize the dental hygiene scope of practice according to Tennessee Rules and Regulations,

  4. Determine rules and regulations in your state for:  licensure requirements, name and address changes, renewals, continuing education, suspension or revocation of license, retirement of license, and moving to another state,

  5. Distinguish what you can and cannot do under general supervision,

  6. Determine reasons dentists and dental hygienist's can lose their licenses to practice,

Learning Activities

  1. Guest speaker from the Board of Dentistry,

  2. Students will look up 5 assigned questions from the rules and regulations of the state law of which they wish to practice for class discussion,

  3. Download the Application for Licensure as a Dental Hygienist in the state,

  4. Fill out and bring to class a Transcript Request form found on the college's website,

  5. Read the Criminal Background Check requirements on the BOD website,,

Problem Solving

  1. Your dentist has a vacation scheduled for two weeks and he has asked you to work on patients.  He has not followed the rules and regulations stipulated by your state and expects you to see patients that were not contacted, some haven't been in the office in over the seven months, and need root planning and scaling done.  What do you do?

  2. One of your co-workers, Jan has been coming in from lunch late and smells of alcohol.  She does a very good job in her dental assisting for the dentist and you know that it is a matter of time before she makes a mistake or harms her patient's.  Should you inform the dentist?  Should you confront Jan first and see if she will seek help?  What do you do if she refuses?

  3. One of your co-workers has been caught by the dentist using N202 and has been warned that she will be dismissed if she uses it again.  On Friday afternoon you stop by the office and pick up something you had left that morning and find her passed out on N202.  How do you handle this problem?  What is your obligation in this situation?