dentist at work, anesthesia injection

Dental Assisting

Our Dental Assisting Program offers students extensive training which will allow them to develop the skills needed to perform a variety of dental office procedures and laboratory techniques as well as the knowledge associated with medical and dental terminology, anatomy & physiology, with an emphasis placed on head and neck anatomy, dental law and ethics, and patient rights.

This program is offered in a hybrid training format, a combination of distance education and on-campus classes, with students on campus for approximately fifteen hours per week. This allows the institution to give each student personal attention and face time with their peers, instructors, and administrators, while maintaining flexibility for completing online courses off campus. And, with American Institute’s hybrid approach, an instructor is available to help students even when they are not on campus in person by using a learning management system that both students and instructors can access online. The distance education portion of the Dental Assisting program is available to students via any high-speed internet connection. Our online learning management system allows students to log in for lectures, ask questions, and do homework assignments according to their own schedule. Faculty, administration and students can utilize live chats or video chats in an individual setting or with all students at once. Questions can be posted for the instructor to respond, which allows for enhanced communication – a key to the success of students in the hybrid program. Read more about the Dental Assisting Program in the school catalog by clicking on the location you’re interested in from the menu above, and downloading a copy.

Call us today at 888-387-5260 or contact us and we’ll send you more information.

What you’ll do as a Dental Assistant

Dental assistants typically do the following:

  • Work with patients to make them comfortable in the dental chair and to prepare them for treatments and procedures
  • Sterilize dental instruments
  • Prepare the work area for patient treatment by setting out instruments and materials
  • Help dentists by handing them instruments during procedures
  • Keep patients’ mouths dry by using suction hoses or other equipment
  • Instruct patients in proper dental hygiene
  • Process x rays and do lab tasks under the direction of a dentist
  • Keep records of dental treatments
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Work with patients on billing and payment

Assistants who do lab tasks, such as making casts of a patient’s teeth, work under the direction of a dentist. They might prepare materials for a cast of teeth or create temporary crowns.

All dental assistants do tasks such as helping dentists with procedures and keeping patient records, but there are four regulated tasks that assistants may also be able to do, depending on the state where they work.

  • Coronal polishing
  • Fluoride application
  • Topical anesthetics application

Coronal polishing, which means removing soft deposits such as plaque, gives teeth a cleaner appearance. In sealant application, dental assistants paint a thin, plastic substance over teeth that seals out food particles and acid-producing bacteria to keep teeth from developing cavities. Fluoride application, in which fluoride is put directly on the teeth, is another anti-cavity measure. For topical anesthetics application, some dental assistants may be qualified to apply topical anesthetic to an area of the patient’s mouth, temporarily numbing the area.

Not all states allow dental assistants to do these tasks. Each state regulates the scope of practice for dental assistants and may require them to take specific exams or meet other requirements before allowing them to do these procedures.

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