Dental Hygiene (DipHE)

At Cardiff you can study for an HE Diploma in Dental Hygiene at the only School of Dentistry in Wales.

Dental training

Our aim is to educate professional Dental Hygienists eligible for unsupervised clinical practice (under the prescription of a Dentist) integrated within dental teams. The course has been re-validated by the General Dental Council as recently as 2015.

As a member of a team directed by a dentist, you will be equipped with all the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to prepare you for the working environment of dental hygiene. On graduation, you will be registered with the General Dental Council.

The School of Dentistry is located in the University Dental Hospital on Cardiff University’s Heath Park campus, a 53-acre site shared with the University Hospital of Wales. This is where the majority of clinical teaching takes place on our undergraduate programmes. With around 100 undergraduate students per year, we are still a relatively small dental school. We believe that this facilitates a friendly and supportive sense of community that helps ensure that our students succeed. As evidence of such the NSS 2015 found that 97% of our students agreed that staff were good at explaining things.

Studying at the only dental hospital in Wales you will have the opportunity to serve and manage patients of diverse ages and backgrounds with a wide range of dental disease.

Dental hygienists work closely with other members of the dental team. A dental hygienist can carry out treatments such as scaling and polishing, oral health promotion and preventative fissure sealants for both adults and children.

Clinical skills are developed in the School’s recently refurbished £2.2M clinical skills laboratory, a facility that closely simulates the real clinical experience, allowing you to prepare and practice for patient care. You will have the opportunity to train alongside dental therapists, dental hygienists and dentists learning the same skills. This will support your understanding of how your role fits the dental team environment in preparation for when you qualify.

The dedicated dental library houses an extensive collection of books and journals to aid your learning. You will also have access to an undergraduate IT suite and to a new £1.5M redevelopment of lecture theatres and student social spaces on the Heath Park campus.

You will be taught by a dedicated team of academic clinical staff and consultants within the dental hospital as well as clinical staff working in the primary care environment. The quality of the teaching you will receive has recently been ranked the best in the UK for dentistry (Guardian’s University Guide 2016). The School's courses were given a maximum 100 out of 100 score.

Our students have one the best employability records amongst the UK dental schools. In 2015, 99% of our undergraduate students secured a UK position 6-months post qualification. Key destinations include primary dental practice, hospital dental practice, academic or research posts.

Distinctive features

  • Cardiff University School of Dentistry was ranked 1st in the Guardian University Guide 2016 and the Times Good University Guide 2016, making it the best place to study as a dental care professional in the UK.
  • The Diploma course is delivered in the only dental school in Wales.
  • We offer integrated theoretical and practical components of learning, teaching and assessment.
  • Students benefit from early clinical exposure in year one.

Being a Dental student at Cardiff is great! I thoroughly enjoyed learning all about the weird and wonderful things that go on in the body during our anatomy and physiology lectures, as well as having pre-operative sessions on phantom heads to prepare us for our first patients!

Holly Hurford, Dental Hygiene Diploma

Key facts

UCAS CodeB750
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration2 years
ModeFull time
AccreditationsGeneral Dental Council (GDC)
Typical places availablePlease contact the school for more information.
Typical applications receivedPlease contact the school for more information.
Typical A level offerTwo A-levels at grade C or above, including at least one biology based subject (Biology, Human Biology or Human Physiology and Health etc), or a nationally recognised dental nursing qualification Level 3 (or equivalent), plus one A-level at grade C in a biological based subject.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerPlease contact the School of Dentistry for detailed information.
Typical International Baccalaureate offerPlease contact the School of Dentistry for detailed information.
Other qualificationsAll applicants must have a minimum of five GCSEs (or their equivalent). These qualifications must include: English or Welsh Language at grade B or above and four other GCSEs in any subjects at grade C or above. Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course
Admissions tutor(s)

We offer two closely allied programmes: a Diploma in Dental Hygiene (two year programme) and a BSc in Dental Hygiene and Therapy (three year programme), both of which are modular, running in parallel for their first two years.

Throughout the programmes the teaching and implementation of professionalism is critical. You will be taught aspects of law and ethics in dentistry as well as the practicalities of dental treatments, and to recognise the importance and necessity of your lifelong and professional development.

Your opportunity to engage and motivate patients and provide contemporary clinical treatments make dental hygiene a stimulating career.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by July 2017.

Year one

During your first year you will study biomedical sciences, human disease subjects and oral disease and its prevention. An introductory module to clinical practice takes place in term two with the aim of preparing you for your first patient contact in term three.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Clinical Practice Year 1 DipDHDE710930 credits
Oral Diseases and Their PreventionDE710420 credits
Introduction to Clinical Dentistry (DipDH)DE710820 credits
Human DiseasesDE710320 credits
Biomedical SciencesDE710220 credits
Dental Radiography (Year 1)DE710510 credits

Year two

During year two your course subjects will include dental radiology, oral medicine, and dental public health. The focus will then turn to periodontology (gum disease) and its clinical treatment. During this year you will also be managing your own patients under supervision.

In year two you will also have the opportunity to attend clinical placements at local ‘outreach’ dental clinics, providing treatment to the dental public in situations closely allied to the general practice arena. In some of these areas you will work alongside dental students in a teamwork approach to patient care.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Patient ManagementDE720420 credits
Dental Radiography and Radiology 2DE720110 credits
Clinical Practice 2 DipDHDE720740 credits
Preparation for PracticeDE720820 credits
Dental Public HealthDE720910 credits
Oral Medicine & Oral PathologyDE721020 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

Teaching on the programme is integrated, so you will learn the scientific and pathological processes underlying oral and dental disease at the same time as you acquire the clinical skills to manage patients appropriately. We use a variety of methods to enrich your learning experience. These include lectures, small-group seminars and tutorials, direct clinical teaching and e-learning packages. You will be encouraged to research topics and on occasions to present work to your peers.

Knowledge, skills and professional attitudes are assessed both formatively and summatively throughout the course, using a range of assessment tools. Assessment tasks include written examinations and assignments, clinical case reports, practical skills tests, projects, portfolios, competency assessments, online assessments, oral presentations and clinical examinations.

How will I be supported?

You will receive the support of personal tutors based at the School of Dentistry. When on placements, you will be supported by an experienced clinical lead.

General communication will be delivered via Learning Central, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, to which all students have access. Notes from lectures and other course material, as well as online assessments, will be available on Learning Central. Our SMS Service also allows important information to be sent directly to mobile phones.

The School of Dentistry operates an inclusive curriculum policy. This means that, for most academic assessments, reasonable adjustments can be made in line with recommendations from Student Support. High professional standards are expected, and although reasonable adjustments will be met as far as possible, the School will need to consider the requirements of the General Dental Council. If you have concerns regarding adjustments you may need, we are happy to discuss the nature, implications and potential solutions as part of the pre-application process.

Feedback

Formative feedback is provided following assessment tasks and during clinical encounters both verbally and as digitally recorded written feedback. Students are encouraged to use personalised feedback to inform their future learning. Assessments at each level are scheduled at appropriate stages, and are identifiable within an assessment blueprint.

How will I be assessed?

The assessment schedule is designed to demonstrate that you have: 

  • attained the standards required by Cardiff University for the award of a Diploma of Higher Education in Dental Hygiene;

  • achieved the required level of competency to become an independent practising dental hygienist/therapist having met the registration standards expected by the General Dental Council (GDC).

This will be measured across four domains identified by the GDC: clinical, communication, professionalism, management and leadership (Preparing for Practise 2015).

For further information please visit the GDC website: www.gdc-uk.org

What skills will I practise and develop?

  • Clinical Skills. You will develop the clinical skills required to graduate as an independent practising dental hygienist.
  • Team-working. You will undertake a variety of group-based activities, working in pairs and alternating between operating and assisting. This develops your ability to work collaboratively. We ensure that you work closely with the wider dental team, including: NHS consultants, dental care professionals, dental nurses, dental technicians and administrative staff.
  • Communication skills. You will develop the ability to communicate effectively throughout the course, from formal lectures to interaction with individuals from different backgrounds. You are expected to demonstrate this ability through a commitment to a reflective practice ePortfolio.
  • Self-directed learning. You are expected to commit a substantial amount of time to self- directed learning, using the vast information resource provided. Your ability to drive your learning and development will be vital in continued personal and professional development.
  • Information technology.  Skills will be developed through Computer Aided Learning, Word Processing, Statistical Packages, Presentation software, information skills and the computer-based patient booking and electronic record system SALUD.

Upon graduation, as a result of engaging fully with the course, you will be able to:

  • fulfil the requirements and curriculum presented by the General Dental Council;
  • understand the main disciplines relevant to the role of dental hygienists;
  • promote team working skills with an appreciation of working in a multi-cultural environment;
  • deal with clinical situations and the management of patients;
  • contribute to the dental workforce;
  • demonstrate critical independence, intellectual integrity and practical skills in the context of safe clinical practice;
  • demonstrate competency at the range of procedures identified by the GDC.

Our students have one the best employability records amongst the UK dental schools, in 2015 99% of our undergraduate students secured a UK position 6-months post qualification. Key destinations include Primary Dental Practice, Hospital Dental Practice, Academic or Research posts.

On qualification, clinicians register with the General Dental Council and are able to work in various areas of the dental sector: general practice; community dental clinics; teaching hospitals and dental schools as well as opportunities in the armed forces.

Jobs

  • Specialist dental practice
  • Community dental practice
  • Medical research posts

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

The places on this course are funded by the Welsh Assembly Government. The bursary will cover the tuition fees. Students must meet specific funding criteria before being eligible for admission. For more information please see our NHS funding pages.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

This course does not currently accept students from outside the UK/EU.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

You do not need any specific equipment.

In years two you will have the opportunity to attend clinical placements at local outreach dental clinics, providing treatment to the dental public in situations closely allied to the general practice arena. In some of these areas you will work alongside dental students in a teamwork approach to patient care.


Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.