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Dental Assistant Training

Undergoing Dental Assistant Training

Dental assistant training is usually not a formal process.  One can get training at a school, but training is also sometimes available on the job depending upon the expected duties of an assistant at a particular location.  However, training is required for certification.  Those who want to receive certification must follow the guidelines set by the American Dental Association and the Commission on Dental Accreditation.  Not only does this training program involve the administrative and clinical procedures typical of an assistant, but it also includes preparations in anatomy, physiology and radiology.

Certification will vary from state to state.  Many may require the prospective assistant to pass an exam administered by a national dental assisting board.  Some states may even recommend dental assistants to have the status of a registered assistant that requires even more training.  In any case, the assistant may also have to be licensed in the state in which he or she works to prove he or she has the qualifications necessary for the job.  However, this process is usually a one time thing while certification is an ongoing process.

One can choose between fast track programming or try to find an associate’s degree program that can accommodate a busy schedule.  A fast track program may last only about nine weeks while a certificate program may take between nine and twelve months.  A degree program may take about two years.  Part-time programs are also available, but of course these programs tend to take longer than average.  The programs combine classroom, clinical and laboratory components to teach students theory as well as practice.  Courses may include chair-side procedures, dental anatomy, dental pathology, dental radiology, dental science, equipment use, four-handed dentistry and pediatric dentistry.

Proper dental assistant training may allow the trainee to work in areas other than the dentist’s office.  He or she may find positions in dental supply manufacturing, hospital dental departments or insurance companies.  No matter where the assistants work, they must remain up to date on the latest advances in technology in a constantly changing field.  Even if an assistant is not looking into formal training, he or she should keep up with all advancements and innovations.