Dental Assistant

Dental Assistant
Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting
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Dental Assistant Overview

From the moment a patient walks through the door, dental assistants are there to assist in the delivery of quality oral health care and are valuable members of the dental care team. They coordinate care and information between the dentist, patient, and front office staff to ensure patients are treated well and the practice runs smoothly. When the dentist is working on the patient, assistants are often standing by, providing tools and materials to assist the dentist during a variety of treatment procedures.   

Dental assistants must have a strong foundation in the fundamental areas of dental assisting including: radiographic, clinical and administrative procedures.  Depending on the office, state regulations and preferences of the dentist, assistants play a larger clinical or administrative role.

On any given day, dental assistants can be found in the lab, office area, or treatment area. Assistants are trusted with patient information and medical records, taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays), taking impressions of patients' teeth and teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health.  In addition the dental assistant performs office management tasks that often require the use of a personal computer.

Strong communication skills and professionalism ensure the dental assistant with a rewarding job in a growing health care career.


Program Requirements

Core Curriculum

36 semester credit hours

Course IDCourse NameCredits
DEN100Dental Anatomy 3
DEN105Introduction to Dental Assisting 1
DEN110Dental Fundamentals 2
DEN120Clinical Science 2
DEN125Community Health 1
DEN200Dental Chairside Assisting 2
DEN200LDental Chairside Assisting LAB 2
DEN206Dental Materials 2
DEN206LDental Materials LAB 1
DEN211Dental Radiology 2
DEN211LDental Radiology LAB 2
DEN215Clinical Dental Procedures 2
DEN215LClinical Dental Procedures LAB 1
DEN220Dental Practice Management 1
DEN225Clinical Rotation I 4
DEN225SSeminar I 1
DEN230Clinical Rotation II 3
DEN230SSeminar II 1
MED104Medical Terminology 3

Arts and Sciences*

21 semester credit hours

*Arts and Sciences courses listed may not be substituted.
Course IDCourse NameCredits
BIO101Human Anatomy & Physiology I 3
BIO104Human Anatomy & Physiology II 3
COM115Principles of Communication 3
ENG110College Composition 3
HUM205Culture and Diversity: Exploring the Humanities 3
MTH120College Mathematics 3
PSY105Introduction to Psychology 3

Self-Integration and Computer Literacy

6 semester credit hours

Course IDCourse NameCredits
COR191Career Orientation1
FOR110Essentials for Success3
CIS108Computer Applications2

Total of 1,260 contact hours

Program Description

Medical Careers Institute’s program provides students with a strong foundation in the fundamental areas of dental assisting including:

  • Radiographic procedures
  • Clinical procedures
  • Administrative procedures

Dental Assistant duties typically involve:

  • Preparing patients for examinations
  • Patient interviews and charting histories
  • Taking vital signs
  • Assisting with laboratory procedures and minor surgeries
  • Dealing with insurance companies
  • Billing and record keeping

Included in this instruction is an externship so that the Dental Assistant student can experience a real world environment firsthand. 

Possible Career Track

Upon completion, graduates with an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting could possibly pursue a career in an entry-level position in the following offices:

  • Dental Office
  • Hospital Dental Department
  • Dental Supply Manufacturer
  • Insurance Company
  • Acquire knowledge and skills necessary to provide a safe environment for patients and dental staff.
  • Illustrate competency in the parts and sciences pertinent to dental assisting.
  • Attain skills in chairside, clinical, practice management, radiographic and laboratory procedures.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the American Dental Assisting Association's Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional conduct and its importance to the profession of dental assisting.
  • Demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully complete the Dental Assisting National Examination.
  • Participate in dental community events and learning opportunities. 
Program Guide