search for


A Study on Similar Names of Basic Science for the Curriculum of Dental Hygiene
Int J Clin Prev Dent 2024;20(2):47-56
Published online June 30, 2024;
© 2024 International Journal of Clinical Preventive Dentistry.

Na-Hee Kim, Byung-Gook Kim

Department of Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea
Correspondence to: Na-Hee Kim
Received June 15, 2024; Revised June 17, 2024; Accepted June 18, 2024.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Objective: We examined similar names for 9 basic dental hygiene subjects, aiming to standardize for easier student comprehension and course selection at the start of the semester.
Methods: The study examined 9 basic subjects across 54 dental hygiene universities with similar names, from Sep-Dec 2023. Data was collected from university websites and non-exposed universities were investigated through requests for cooperation. Universities with the most openings for each subject were compared and analyzed.
Results: A survey on universities offering similar basic subjects identified 14 names for oral health education, 120 universities per subject. For oral anatomy, there were 12 names in 91 schools, oral physiology had 12 in 90, oral pathology had 7 in 84, oral microbiology had 17 in 83, oral tissue embryology had 14 in 83, health care laws had 14 in 79, oral health statistics had 15 in 62, and oral health administration had 5 in 14.
Conclusion: The names of similar subjects to basic university subjects ranged from as small as 5 to as many as 17. I hope that basic data will be used to minimize or standardize learning, enabling beneficiaries to quickly understand new subjects and register for courses at the beginning of the semester, rather than relying on instructors.
Keywords : dental hygienists, investigation and analysis, university, oral health education, oral pathology

Dental hygiene education began at Yonsei University’s Dental College in 1965 [1] and established its basic framework with the establishment of a specialized associate’s degree program in 1977. The education duration increased to three years in 1994, leading to a period of quantitative growth and qualitative development, and a new turning point was marked by the establishment of a four-year bachelor’s degree program in 2002 [2]. Dental hygienists are individuals who assist dentists in clinical settings such as dental clinics, dental hospitals, or public health medical institutions, and perform tasks related to the prevention and treatment of periodontal diseases and oral care guidance [3].

Moreover, they perform the following tasks related to the prevention and hygiene management of dental and oral diseases: fitting and removing orthodontic arches, fluoride application, diagnostic intraoral radiography at health institutions or medical institutions, temporary filling, fitting temporary appliances, removing attachments, removing calculus and other deposits, and dental impressions [4,5]. Dental hygiene (science) departments at universities educate students in basic and clinical subjects to train dental hygienists and provide necessary practical training. Dental hygiene departments have also operated educational curricula to strengthen dental clinical competencies as the national and social demand for dental hygienists has increased, and the Korean Dental Hygienist Education Council and the Association of Dental Hygiene Professors have developed clinical performance improvement and specialty clinical education environment changes and subject-specific learning goals, presenting them as dental hygiene department curriculum learning goals [5].

The basic fields approach dentistry based on natural scientific principles and laws, covering fundamental knowledge required for the duties of dental hygienists. However, standardization of the curriculum is operated differently according to the school, and different course names such as clinical dental hygiene, clinical dental hygiene practice, scaling theory, comprehensive dental hygiene, and preventive dentistry are used depending on the school’s situation [1]. The curriculum is a means to achieve educational goals, consisting of educational planning that organizes necessary materials in an educational perspective according to the learner’s level, and is organized systematically. In addition, university curricula must have a sufficient understanding of how educational content will be utilized in the field and how it will contribute to the development of the field [6].

There is a tendency to excessively combine subjective major names in basic subjects. The number of subjects in the basic curriculum ranges from 5 to 17. By choosing nine subjects, learning is minimized and standardized, allowing beneficiaries to quickly understand and register for courses at the beginning of the semester, rather than relying on instructors.

Therefore, this study investigated the similar names used by each university among the main basic subjects of public oral health, oral microbiology, oral pathology, oral health education, oral health statistics, oral physiology, oral tissue development, oral anatomy, and health and medical law, which are essential knowledge for dental hygienists and can be utilized in the field. This is because the main basic subjects currently being offered at each university are very mixed with similar names, which may cause confusion in the learning goals of students, the beneficiaries. The purpose of the study is to understand the current dental hygienist curriculum being operated at each university and select areas that need to be improved to improve the integrated curriculum needed in the activity field.

Materials and Methods

1. Subject of study

A two-year professional bachelor’s course called dental hygienist was opened in 1977, and since 1994, the period of education has increased to three years, resulting in quantitative growth and qualitative development. After the establishment of a four-year bachelor’s degree course in 2002, a new turning point has been reached [2], and dental hygienist education is being conducted at 82 universities in 2020. Of these total universities, 54 universities surveyed the curriculum of 47 junior colleges and 7 universities.

2. Research method

This study investigated the 9 basic subjects required for dental hygiene education that were opened in the curriculum disclosed on the website of each university (college) of dentistry (hygiene) and/or the curriculum with the cooperation of the university from September to December 2023, including their similar names. And the basic subjects secured as survey data were investigated and classified up to similar names respectively, and the university with the most open similar subjects in each subject was identified, and the university with the most opening including similar names in each subject was identified.

3. Data analysis

The collected data were analyzed using IBM SPSS program (ver. 23.0; IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA) by identifying the university with the highest number of openings among the similar names of each basic subject and the university with the highest opening including similar names in each subject. The frequency analysis of the university that selected the subject name with a single name that was most opened among the basic subject names was performed, and the statistical significance level was set at p<0.001.


1. Investigation of the most frequently opened basic subjects for dental hygiene education

The study found that among the 9 primary basic subjects for dental hygiene education, the most frequently opened subjects with single names were as follows: (Table 1, Figure 1, 2) oral pathology (80.95%), oral physiology (65.55%), oral microbiology (60.24%) and oral histology (60.24%), oral public health statistics (45.16%), health medical law (44.3%), oral public health administration (42.85%), oral anatomy (32.96%), and oral public health education (29.16%).

Table 1 . Current status of basic courses for training dental hygienists

NoSubjectOpen universitiesSelectionsRatio (%)
1Oral microbiology835060.24
2Oral pathology846880.95
3Oral health education1203529.16
4Oral health statistics622845.16
5Oral health administration14642.85
6Oral physiology905965.55
7Oral tissue embryology835060.24
8Oral anatomy913032.96
9Health care laws and regulations793544.30

Figure 1. Current status of basic courses for training dental hygienists.

Figure 2. Maximum selected percentage of basic subjects offered.

2. Investigation of similar names for basic subjects

The study also investigated the universities that have opened the basic subjects, including their similar names. The number of similar names for oral public health education was 14, and the number of universities that offered each basic subject was 120. Other subjects with similar names and the number of universities that offered them were: oral anatomy with 12 similar names (91 universities), oral physiology with 12 similar names (90 universities), oral pathology with 7 similar names (84 universities), oral microbiology with 17 similar names (83 universities), oral histology with 14 similar names (83 universities), health medical law with 14 similar names (79 universities), oral public health statistics with 15 similar names (62 universities), and oral public health administration with 5 similar names (14 universities) (Table 1, Figure 1, 2).

Figure 3 illustrates the number of universities that have opened basic subjects, including their similar names. It shows that oral public health education, with 14 similar names, was the most commonly offer subject, with a total of 120 universities offering it. In contrast, oral public health administration had the fewest similar names (6) and the fewest number of universities offering it (14). Figure 4 displays the total number of similar names for each subject, with oral microbiology having the highest number (17) and oral public health education having the lowest.

Figure 3. Universities with the most openings including similar names for each basic subject.

Figure 4. Similar subjects for each basic subject.

3. Distribution of similar names for each basic subject, the number of universities opened, and the most similar names

Figure 5-13 for standardization, we present the distribution of similar names, the number of universities offering each basic subject, and the most common similar names. In Figure 5, the most common names for oral anatomy were oral anatomy, oral anatomy and practice, and head and neck anatomy. In Figure 6, the most common names for oral histopathology were oral histology, oral histology and practice, and oral histology. In Figure 7, the most common names for oral pathology were oral pathology, oral pathology and practice, and general and oral pathology.

Figure 5. Currently using names opened for oral anatomy.

Figure 6. Current status of oral tissue embryology similar names.

Figure 7. Current status of oral pathology similar names.

Figure 8. Status of oral physiology similar names opened.

Figure 9. Current status of oral microbiology similar names.

Figure 10. Status of opening similar names for oral health administration.

Figure 11. Current status of oral health statistics similar titles.

Figure 12. Status of opening of similar names for oral health education.

Figure 13. Status of establishment of similar names in health and medical regulations.

Figure 8. status of oral physiology similar names opened in oral physiology, anatomy physiology, physiology, dentistry and oral anatomy and physiology, human anatomy physiology and practice using as Figure 9. The current situation of oral microbiology has similar names in oral health administration such as oral health administration, public oral health administration, and dental administration practice. This is shown in Figure 10. Similarly, in health statistics, there are names like oral health statistics, health statistics and practice, oral health research and health statistics, and dental hygiene research and statistics. In Figure 11, the names include oral health education, oral health education and practice, oral health education practice, introduction to education, education dental hygiene community practice, oral health education practice project, and health education methodology.

Figure 12 in oral health education, oral health education and practice, oral health education practice, Introduction to education, education dental hygiene community practice, oral health education practice project, health education methodology I used it. Figure 13 in health care laws and regulations, medical related laws and regulations, health and medical laws and regulations, oral medical laws and regulations, health care laws and ethics, clinical health care laws and regulations, dental hygiene ethics and health laws was being used as.


With the recent development of the digital field of dentistry and medicine, the introduction of the use of digital devices in dental hospitals and clinics is expanding [7]. The application of digital devices in dentistry has been shown to show a 100% more positive preference than the existing impression method in terms of increasing the accuracy of the results, shortening the time, and sensitivity felt by the patient during oral impression acquisition [8]. Modern society is characterized by globalization, informatization, and diversification, and the explosive increase in knowledge has led to specialization and globalization. In these situations, a new curriculum is required for effective learning, and education dealing with realistic situations is required to bridge the gap between school education and real society. The medical community has also raised the problem that the knowledge and skills required in the real world are separated from school education, and education dealing with practical situations and tasks is needed to solve them [9]. In foreign countries, research papers have already been published to form an integrated medical school curriculum with interest in the integrated curriculum in the medical community [10-13].

Recently, the Korean medical community is also trying to make changes to pursue the excellence of medical education, introducing and disseminating an integrated curriculum as a reformative curriculum [14].

considering the nature of the study, a small number of studies have been conducted in the position that the integrated curriculum is still an effective method of constructing a curriculum in dental life and death educational institutions comparable to medical schools and nursing colleges [15].

It is true that there have been many developments in this study as dental hygienist education has been in progress for about 38 years specifically as the duration of the class increased, the school system changed, and junior colleges are conducting intensive major courses, and the subjects for dental hygienists taken by the national examination have been progressively improved to cultivate dental hygienists. In this process, it was classified into basic and clinical subjects, and the distribution of the number of questions by national subject was adjusted and developed. However, it seems that our efforts for standardization of basic subjects for each university were insufficient in the absence of NCS. As shown in this study, similar names for each basic subject are very diverse, and since there are many mixed names focused on the instructor’s own major, the identity of a single subject from the perspective of students seems very low. Considering the problems of this perspective, I hope that a concise and clear subject that meets the level of students who be responsible for educational demand will be presented.

Because, if you look at the case of the names of each basic subject that is not simple and clear in Figure 5-13, you can see oral facial anatomy, histology and embryology, dental and oral anatomy and physiology, dental anatomy, embryology and histology, oral anatomy, embryology and histology, dental and oral anatomy and physiology, dental and oral hygiene community practice, and public oral health administration.

A dental hygienist is a professional dental technician who can perform eight tasks [4] while assisting dentists [3]. In this study, the nine major basic subjects opened by each university to cultivate dental hygienists include public oral health, oral microbiology, oral pathology, oral health education, oral health statistics, oral health statistics, oral physiology, oral tissue development, oral anatomy, and health care laws. However, because of analyzing the current situation of basic subjects opened in each university (Figure 5-13), similar names are opened in a wide variety of ways, so students, who are educational consumers, sign up for classes, and it is believed that they will cause low understanding of the subjects and confusion in the learning process. Table 1 marked the number of subjects opened by each university, the number of similar names, and the ratio of similar names for the subjects opened. As a result, among the results of a survey of the names of the nine major basic subjects for fostering dental hygienists, the most common subjects opened by universities were oral pathology (80.95%), oral physiology (65.55%), oral microbiology (60.24%), oral tissue generation (60.24%), oral health statistics (45.16%), health care laws (44.3%), oral health administration (42.85%), oral health education (32.96%), and oral health education (29.16%). In addition, among the most opened basic courses, the most opened universities are oral health pedagogy (120 schools), oral anatomy (91 schools), oral physiology (90 schools), oral pathology (84 schools), oral microbiology (83 schools), oral tissue development (83 schools), health care laws (79 schools), oral health statistics (62), and oral health administration (14 schools). Cases opened by only 14 universities in the field of oral health are subject to consideration from various angles and I hope they will be subject to research.

Therefore, this study investigates and analyzes the similar names of basic courses opened in each university’s dental hygiene department, so it is easy for students to understand the names of basic courses in the university’s curriculum.


The names of basic courses for dental hygienists should be standardized concisely and clearly, at the level of students, and efforts to standardize basic courses without NCS have not been established, so they should improve students’ understanding and help them perform their duties.

Conflict of Interest

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

  1. Kang HS, Kim SJ, Kim YN, Kim HJ, Kim HS, Park GJ, et al.: Dental hagiology. 6th ed. Gomoonsa, Seoul, 2012.
  2. Jeong HJ, Aiko H: Current status of dental hygiene and comparison of some curriculums in Korea and Japan. J Korea Acad Ind Cooper Soc 11: 4896-906, 2010.
  3. Korea Statistics, professional and technical human resource classification [Internet]. Ministry of Health and Welfare, Sejong. cited 2024 Jun 15,
  4. National Health Insurance Service, act on medical engineers, etc [Internet]. Ministry of Health and Welfare, Sejong. cited 2024 Jun 15,
  5. Kang KH, Kwon H, Kim D, Kim M, Kim S, Kim S, et al.: Oral prophylaxis. Cheonggumunhwasa, Seoul, pp.18, 2010.
  6. So SJ: Development of the curriculum for the department of library and information science of junior college. J Korean Soc Libr Inf Sci 34: 21-45, 2000.
  7. Park HR: Changes in the perceptions of digital intraoral scanners before and after training dental hygienists [thesis]. Ewha Womans University, [Seoul], 2014.
  8. Yuzbasioglu E, Kurt H, Turunc R, Bilir H: Comparison of digital and conventional impression techniques: evaluation of patients' perception, treatment comfort, effectiveness and clinical outcomes. BMC Oral Health 14: 10, 2014.
    Pubmed KoreaMed CrossRef
  9. Park BS: The effects of problembased learning on the academic achievement in elementary school social studies [thesis]. Kongju National University, [Gongju], 2001.
  10. Jacobs HH: Interdisciplinary curriculum: design and implemen-tation. ASCD, Alexandria, 1989.
  11. Drake SM: Planning integrated curriculum: the call to adventure. ASCD, Alexandria, 1993.
  12. Hanssen E: Talking about books: creating literate communities. In: Short KG, Pierce KM, eds; eds, ed. Heinemann, Portsmouth, pp.199-209, 1990.
  13. Willis S: Making integrated curriculum a reality. Assoc Superv Curric Dev 37, 1995.
  14. Noh YH, Kim KS, Park HS, Kim KS, Bae KM, Ahn EW, et al.: Three kinds of problem-based learning formulas experienced in Konkuk University College of Medicine. Korean J Med Educ 12: 191-205, 2000.
  15. Jung YR: Development and implementation of PBL package focusing on the roles of dental hygienists [thesis]. Konkuk University, [Seoul], 2003.

June 2024, 20 (2)