Nature of Work
Dental assistants are competent in the technical areas of preventative dentistry; four-handed dentistry; chair-side assisting with emphasis in diagnostics, operative, fixed prosthodontics, pediatric dentistry, orthodontic procedures, endodontic procedures, and surgical and expanded functions; dental practice management; and dental radiology.
Dental assistants perform a variety of patient care, office, and laboratory duties. They sterilize and disinfect instruments and equipment, provide appropriate instruments and materials required to treat each patient, and obtain and update patients' dental records. They also instruct patients on postoperative and general oral healthcare.
Dental assistants may prepare materials for impressions and restorations and expose and process dental radiographs as directed by a dentist. They also may remove sutures, apply topical anesthetics to gums or cavity-preventive agents to teeth, remove excess cement used in the filling process, and place dental dams to isolate teeth for treatment.
Dental assistants with laboratory duties make casts of the teeth and mouth from impressions, clean and polish removable appliances, and make temporary crowns. Those with office duties schedule and confirm appointments, receive patients, keep treatment records, send bills, receive payments, file insurance, and order dental supplies and materials.
The multi-service profession provides diversified employment opportunities for dental assistants, including general dentistry; group practice; specific dental specialties such as oral surgery, endodontics, orthodontics, prosthetics, periodontics, and pedodontics; dental school clinics; and federal, state, and community clinics. Dental assistants held about 303,200 jobs nationally in 2012. Employment is expected to grow by 25 percent from 2012 through 2022.
Credentials You Can Earn
The Higher Education Act requires all colleges and universities to notify students and prospective students of the all program costs for which they will be responsible. Students will be responsible for the following expenses:
- Nonrefundable application fee ($25)
Outside Vendor Fees Prior to Beginning DENA Courses
- Hepatitis B Immunization ($200)
- Mumps, Measles, Rubella Immunizations ($25)
- Varicella Immunization ($25)
- Tetanus Shot ($25)
- Tuberculosis Skin Test ($25)
- Physical Examination (Approximately $100)
- Uniforms (Approximately $250)
- Tuition ($89 per credit hour)
- Accident Insurance Fee ($4 per term)
- Campus Supply Fee ($40 per term)
- Instruction Fee ($55 per term)
- Parking Fee ($20 per term)
- Campus Safety Fee ($25 per term)
- Radiation Monitor Fee ($25 per term)
- Registration Fee ($50 per term)
- Student Activity Fee ($30 per term)
- Technology Fee ($105 per term)
Throughout the Program
Background Checks and Drug Screenings (Approximately $100 per required check/screening)
- Textbooks (Approximately $600)
- Supply Fee (Varies — See course descriptions for exact amount)
Outside Vendor Fees at Program Completion
- General Chair-Side National Board Examination ($250)
- Infection Control National Board Examination ($250)
- Radiology Health and Safety National Board Examination ($250)
These expenses are based on costs in effect at the time this catalog was published. Prices are subject to change.
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