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Dental Assisting

A dental assistant is a part of a dental team tasked with administrative duties and also assists dentists during consultations and medical processes.

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Online Dental Assistant Programs

National American University

A dental assistant is a part of a dental team tasked with administrative duties and also assists dentists during consultations and medical processes. The tasks of dental assistants range from clinical, clerical, and interpersonal. They may also be assigned to handle patient care or laboratory functions.

What qualities should a dental assistant have?

Working in a dental office most of the time, dental assistants are the “office keepers” and usually the first person that patients encounter before meeting the dentist. Because of constant interaction with patients, dental assistants must be good listeners and conversationalists. Of course, dental assistants must also know how to operate and maintain dental equipment. Being attentive and detail-oriented also helps with record keeping.

What is the career outlook of dental assistants in the US?

A career as a dental assistant is rewarding. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, dental assistants earn a median annual salary of $34,500. Employment opportunities are expected to grow 25% faster than most occupations until 2022. Because of continuous research in oral health and hygiene, dental assistants will continue to be an in-demand career in the years to come.

How to Become a Certified Dental Assistant?

Our MyCAA Dental Assistant program offers a quick entry into the workforce and is backed by high levels of job stability. If you’re looking to support your livelihood while helping patients, becoming a certified dental assistant is an excellent choice. Once you have decided to pursue this career path, here are a few things that you need to know in order to become a certified dental assistant:

  • Some states require students to complete a dental assistant program from a technical school or community college. The program usually spans for two years and can be completed in a classroom setting or online.
  • Students who are not required to complete the program can enroll in a dental assistance training program that helps them prepare for the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) certification.
  • Complete a certification exam offered by DANB, a nationally recognized certification organization for dental assistants. Most states require dental assistants to hold the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA®) certification offered by DANB. Students are required to score at least 400 in order to be to be successfully certified as a dental assistant.

Program Description:

The purpose of this program is to familiarize students with all areas of administrative and clinical dental assisting focusing on the responsibilities required to function as an assistant in a dental practice. This program prepares students for entry-level positions as a chair-side dental assistant. This course covers the history of dentistry, introduction to the dental office, the legal aspects of dentistry, introduction to oral anatomy, dental operatory, introduction to tooth structure (primary and permanent teeth), the oral cavity; and other areas.

Program also includes an optional unpaid clinical externship at a local healthcare provider! Additional fees may apply for a background check, drug test and other externship site testing requirements.  Fees will be paid by the student at the time of placement in the optional externship.

Eligible users will get a voucher for Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) Exam – DANB

Eligibility Criteria
There are no eligibility requirements for taking the RHS exam. Therefore, anyone can take this exam.

Program Learning Objectives:

  • List and describe the equipment and materials used by dental assistants.
  • Describe and apply best practices in chairside dental assisting.
  • Demonstrate facility with dental office procedures and operations.
  • Describe best practices for infectious disease control in a dental office.
  • Describe best practices for radiographic imaging in a dental office.

Program Lesson Overviews:

Lesson 1: Room and Patient Preparation

  • Preparing the Treatment Room
  • Seating and Preparing the Patient

Lesson 2: Equipment Preparation and Maintenance

  • Selecting Appropriate Equipment
  • Preparing Trays for Various Procedures
  • Preparing Impression Trays
  • Ensuring Proper Operation of Dental Handpieces

Lesson 3: Materials Preparation and Maintenance

  • Preparing and Storing Impression Materials
  • Preparing and Storing Restorative Materials
  • Preparing and Storing Sedative and Palliative Materials
  • Preparing and Storing Finishing, Polishing, and Cleaning Agents
  • Manipulating and Storing Laboratory Materials
  • Conducting Laboratory Procedures

Lesson 4: Four-Handed Dentistry

  • Practicing Four-Handed Dentistry (Introduction)
  • Positioning Equipment for Access and Visibility
  • Transferring Instruments

Lesson 5: Assistance During Procedures

  • Managing the Patient’s Experience
  • Preparing the Oral Cavity
  • Maintaining the Field of Operation
  • Applying Fluoride and Polishing Teeth
  • Assisting with Anesthesia
  • Performing a Vitality Test
  • Placing and Removing Temporary Cement
  • Controlling Minor Bleeding

Lesson 6: Data Collection and Recording

  • Conducting the Preliminary Physical Examination
  • Charting
  • Aiding Diagnoses
  • Recording Patient Responses to Drugs or Medication
  • Documenting the Treatment Plan

Lesson 7: Emergency Prevention and Management

  • Identifying Medical Conditions That May Trigger Emergencies
  • Utilizing Preventative Measures for Drug Administration
  • Responding to Medical Emergencies in the Dental Office
  • Recognizing Symptoms of and Responding to Dental Emergencies
  • Assembling and Maintaining Emergency Supplies

Lesson 8: Patient Education

  • Managing Oral Health
  • Monitoring Good Nutrition
  • Providing Pre- and Post-Treatment Instructions

Lesson 9: Office Operations

  • Controlling Inventory
  • Maintaining Equipment and Instruments
  • Communicating with Patients and Team Members
  • Scheduling Appointments and Initiating Referrals
  • Managing Financial Records

Lesson 10: Legal Issues

  • Maintaining Confidentiality of Patient Records
  • Obtaining Consent for Routine and Emergency Care
  • Respecting a Patient’s Right to Privacy
  • Dealing with Threats and Non-Compliance
  • Ensuring Compliance with OSHA and CDC Guidelines

Lesson 11: Introduction to Infectious Diseases

  • Understanding Infectious Diseases
  • The Impact of Disease Transmission
  • Promoting Immunization

Lesson 12: Infectious Disease Control

  • Preventing Cross-Contamination
  • Maintaining Aseptic Conditions
  • Sterilizing Instruments
  • Disinfecting the Workplace, Equipment, and Supplies

Lesson 13: Occupational Safety

  • Following OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Regulations
  • Following OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard Regulations
  • Incorporating Engineering and Workplace Controls
  • Applying Appropriate First-Aid Procedures
  • Documenting and Reporting Incidents

Lesson 14: Radiographic Techniques and Equipment

  • Understanding Radiographic Techniques
  • Selecting Radiographic Equipment
  • Acquiring Radiographic Images

Lesson 15: Radiographic Imaging

  • Radiographic Exposure
  • Intraoral Imaging
  • Extraoral Imaging
  • Digital Radiography
  • Evaluating Radiographic Images

Lesson 16: Radiographic Precautions

  • Preventing Cross-Contamination
  • Understanding ADA/CDC and OSHA Guidelines

Lesson 17: Patient Management During Radiography

  • Addressing Patient Concerns
  • Managing Special-Needs Patients

Lesson 18: Radiographic Film Processing

  • Working with Processing Solutions
  • Working with Film Processors
  • Taking Necessary Precautions

Lesson 19: Radiographic Image Mounting and Labeling

  • Mounting Radiographic Images
  • Indentifying Anatomical Structures in Radiographic Images
  • Preparing Radiographic Images for Viewing and Duplication

Lesson 20: Radiation Safety for the Patient

  • Operating Radiographic Equipment Safely
  • Protecting the Patient from Unnecessary X-Radiation

Lesson 21: Radiation Safety for the Operator and Other Staff

  • Protecting the Operator and Other Staff from Unnecessary X-Radiation
  • Monitoring Individual X-Radiation Exposure

Program Classroom Link:

Externship Details:
40 Hour Externship

Students must achieve an 85% grade or better on all course quizzes, module exams and final exam and complete a minimum of 50 course hours throughout the e-learning program.  Additionally, to be eligible for the clinical externship process students must pass a background check and a drug screen to be placed in a healthcare facility.

Students who participate in a clinical must be able to submit the following if required by their site (which is collected by CCI’s externship coordinator):

  • Background check (Federal and/or state)
  • Drug Screen
  • Immunization record (or be able to obtain any immunizations required)
  • 2 step TB test
  • Flu Shot
  • CPR certification

National Exams details:

Dental Assistant National Board
Radiation Health and Safety Exam (RHS)
Infection Control (ICE)
General Chairside Assisting (GC)

Pathway I: 
1. Graduation from a CODA-accredited dental assisting or dental hygiene program, AND
2. Current CPR from a DANB-accepted provider

Pathway II: 
1. High school graduation or equivalent, AND
2. Minimum of 3,500 hours of approved work experience, AND
3. Current CPR from a DANB-accepted provider

Pathway III: 
1. Former DANB CDA status, or graduation from a CODA-accredited DDS or DMD program, or graduation from a dental degree program outside the U.S. or Canada, AND
2. Current CPR from a DANB-accepted provider

Program System Requirements:

To ensure the most enjoyable user experience, we recommend using a computer or mobile device and an Internet connection. The following requirements are divided according to the device for your convenience. If you would like a free upgrade to the recommended softwares, you can easily download the latest version by clicking on the name.

Windows Mac iOS Device Android
Minimum 1 GB RAM, 2.4 Ghz processor with Internet connection (we recommend a broadband connection) MacOS 10.5 or above iOS 5.1.1 or later
(optimum performance ensured at iPad 3 & 4)
Android 2.2 or later
Sound Card with speakers or headphones Sound Card with speakers or headphones Headphones Headphones
Monitor connected to a video card with driver equivalent to, or newer than, SVGA (1024×768) Monitor connected to a video card with driver equivalent to, or newer than, SVGA (1024×768) N/A N/A
The following browsers are recommended:

Internet Explorer 8 – 10
The following browser is recommended:

The following browser is recommended:

The following browsers are recommended:

Adobe Acrobat Reader Adobe Acrobat Reader Adobe Acrobat Reader Adobe Acrobat Reader
Quicktime N/A N/A Quicktime
Adobe Flash Player N/A N/A N/A
Adobe Shockwave Player N/A N/A N/A


Basic Internet and computing skills are required to use this course. These might include the following:

  • Using a browser
  • Downloading a free browser from the Internet
  • Downloading a browser plug-in, such as a video player
  • Posting to a discussion forum/board
  • Downloading and saving a file to your computer
  • Uploading a file by browsing your computer to locate a file
  • Entering your responses in a web-form, such as an online quiz
  • Sending emails to your instructor or peers

Career Information:

Occupation Job Summary Entry-Level Education 2012 Median Salary
Dental Assistants Dental assistants have many tasks, ranging from providing patient care and taking x rays to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work. Post secondary non-degree award $34,500
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This is a self-paced program supported by an experienced mentor. Our mentors are subject experts with several years of experience in their respective fields and have the necessary educational training and credentials required to work as an expert. In case of any queries or questions regarding course content, course material, certifications, industry questions or on the progress of the student’s training and advancement, you can contact us on the information mentioned below.

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Dental Assisting

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