Dental Assistant

Contact Hours:
800
Semester Credits:
26
Instructional Weeks – Full Time:
32
Average Time to Complete – Full Time:
8 Months

Diploma Program

Program Overview

The purpose of the Dental Assistant program is to provide students with sufficient theoretical knowledge and practical skills to perform efficiently in a professional capacity in an entry-level position. This program includes courses covering management skills, appointment scheduling, laboratory procedures, maintenance of patient records, chairside assistance, instructing patients in proper oral hygiene and assisting in the selection, placement and removal of rubber dam, sutures, and periodontal packs. The Dental Assistant is a valuable member of the dental healthcare team. The Dental Assistant’s responsibilities may include preparing patients for procedures, maintaining treatment planning records, exposing and processing dental x-rays with patients, reviewing oral hygiene and postoperative care instructions, performing laboratory work, and managing such essential functions as inventory control, infection control, and OSHA compliance. The Dental Assistant may also be called on to assist in the business office with filing records, preparing insurance reports, maintaining records on the computer, and scheduling appointments. A diploma will be issued upon successful completion of the program.

    Skills Proficiency

    Students must be able to perform certain skills to work as a Dental Assistant. These skills are learned in the clinical (lab) portion of the program. The program is divided into one-half lecture/theory and one-half lab. The lab portion involves the practical application of theory and the procedural portion. All lab activities and competencies are demonstrated first by the instructor; then they are evaluated and graded by the instructor. Hands-on instruction using the actual dental instruments and equipment allows for facilitation of transferring theory to practical experience. Students will perform certain procedures on each other as well as on typodonts. All students must participate. All students must pass clinical competency skills before moving on to the next term or going to their externship. The student must pass competencies with a minimum grade of 2.0. Students must be present for all lab activities and proficiencies.

    CPR Certification To be eligible for American Heart Association (AHA) certification, students must attend all scheduled hours of CPR lecture and pass practical checkoffs and a written exam. A student who is tardy or misses a lecture must repeat the lecture, even if the student passes the checkoffs and written exam. If CPR is offered during another shift in the same term, the student may attend that lecture. If not offered during that term, the student will receive an incomplete for the course until the lecture is repeated. AHA requires that students pass the CPR written test with a grade of at least 84 percent. If below 84 percent, they may retake the exam once. The original test score will be used to calculate the course grade. If the test is retaken and failed a second time, the student must repeat the entire course of CPR instruction. If a student is absent for the entire course, it is his or her responsibility to contact the instructor to find an appropriate session or class to attend. If the student does not do so, he or she may not graduate.

    EffectiveSeptember 1, 2006, to apply to become a Registered Dental Assistant, a student must complete a mandatory short course approved by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE). An approved provider list can be found on the TSBDE website: www.tsbde.state.tx.us. By law, a Dental Assistant must be registered with TSBDE in order to take x-rays at a dentist’s office.

    Registration and certification requirements for taking and passing this examination are not controlled by Concorde, but by outside agencies, and are subject to change by the agency without notice. Therefore, Concorde cannot guarantee that graduates will be eligible to take this exam, at all or at any specific time, regardless of their eligibility status upon enrollment.

    Program Objectives

    Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible to:

    • Utilize proper sterilization techniques and infection control procedures as required by OSHA.
    • Advise patients on dental care as directed by the dentist.
    • Perform administrative front office duties.
    • Utilize principles of dental radiology to position, expose, process, and mount dental radiographs after certification.
    • Sit for the exam offered by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE) for their Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) certification.
    • Respond to medical emergencies, including basic life support.