Dental assistants play a valuable role in any dental care team, often handling a variety
of tasks from assisting with treatment procedures to administrative duties. This 100%
online course will help you gain the technical skills you need to join a dental office
as a clinical dental assistant. Upon successful completion of this course, you will
receive vouchers to sit for the Anatomy, Morphology, and Physiology (AMP), Infection
Control (ICE), and Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) portions of the Dental Assisting
National Board examinations.
There are no prerequisites to complete this course. However, candidates must have
a high school diploma or equivalent to sit for national certification exams.
This course is 100% online. Start anytime.
Cindy Lamkin has been employed in the dental field for over 20 years. She graduated
from the University of South Dakota with a degree in dental hygiene and holds Registered
Dental Assistant and Registered Dental Hygienist credentials. In addition to practicing
clinical hygiene, she has also worked in dental office administration and treatment
coordination. Her career includes general dentistry, as well as specialty practices
of periodontics, endodontics, pedodontics, and orthodontics.
CLINICAL DENTAL ASSISTANT FAQs
Clinical dental assistant jobs vary based on the dental office and the state your
work in. Typical duties include preparing patients for treatment, sterilizing tools,
instructing on proper dental hygiene, passing instruments to the dentist during procedures,
keeping records of treatments, scheduling appointments and processing x-rays.
Most clinical dental assistant training programs can be completed in one year or less.
This does not include the time you will spend working in an externship or similar
position to gain experience in the field. It also does not include the required two
years of work experience you will need to become certified.
To become a Certified Dental Assistant, you will need to pass the three components
of the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Certification Exam and meet the Board’s
work experience requirements. You will need to pass the Radiation Health and Safety,
Infection Control, and General Chairside components of the DANB Certification Exam
as well as complete at least two years of work experience (or a minimum of 3,500 hours accrued over a two to four year period).
Most dental assistants work a full-time schedule of 40 hours per week, however there
are some dental assistants that work part-time. Many of the hours will be worked during
the day, but depending on your dental office, you may be asked to work some evenings
Almost all clinical dental assistants work in dental offices under the supervision
of dentists, though some may find employment with the government or in physicians’
offices. Dental assistants work very closely with dental hygienists. In this position,
you will be on your feet for large portions of the day and wear surgical masks, safety
goggles, gloves, and protective clothing to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
While both roles are important components of the dental staff, an administrative dental
assistant focuses more on the office's administrative tasks, such as greeting patients,
collecting patient information, filling out medical forms, organizing office records,
and other clerical tasks. On the other hand, a clinical dental assistant helps dentists
and dental hygienists with treatment procedures, sterilization and disinfection of
dental tools, patient charting, taking vital signs, processing quality radiographs
(x-rays), and more.