I have brought the strong foothold that I gained in class to my new job as an Orthodontic Assistant, and I’m reminded daily that one of the best decisions I’ve made was the day I decided to register for the ACC DA program.

Dental Assistant (X-Ray & Infection Control Certified) (non-credit)

Job Description

Dental assistants perform a variety of patient care, office, and laboratory duties. Dental Assistants sterilize and disinfect instruments and equipment, prepare and lay out the instruments and materials required to treat each patient, and obtain and update patients’ dental records. Assistants make patients comfortable in the dental chair and prepare them for treatment. During dental procedures, assistants work alongside the dentist. They hand instruments and materials to dentists and keep patients’ mouths dry and clear by using suction hoses or other devices. They also instruct patients on postoperative and general oral healthcare.

Dental assistants prepare materials for impressions and restorations, and process dental x-rays 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. Many states are expanding dental assistants’ duties to include tasks such as coronal polishing and restorative dentistry functions for those assistants who meet specific training and experience requirements. 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, and order dental supplies and materials. Dental assistants must work closely with, and under the supervision of, dentists. Dental assistants are an important part of the oral healthcare team with dental hygienists and dentists. They are usually employed by private and group practices, public health clinics, mobile dental clinics, military service, dental schools and even insurance companies.

Program Description

This program prepares students to enter the field as a Dental Assistant. The program of study includes: dental assisting techniques, oral anatomy, dental radiology, dental sciences, dental materials, dental sciences, dental records, and an optional opportunity to participate in a Dental Clinical Externship. The method of learning in this program will be lectures, case studies, hands-on clinical practice, guest speakers and dental industry representatives from today’s dental field delivering the most current and up-to-date findings within the dental field. ACC has a full chairside dental classroom laboratory, where students will be learning all relevant chairside techniques.

Dentists may allow dental assistants to take x-rays if they have demonstrated successful completion of the RHS portion of the Dental Assistant National Board (DANB). Although it is not required for the Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) components of the DANB, this course will prepare students to sit for the Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) and the Infection Control (ICE) portion of the Dental Assistant National Board (DANB) exams. After obtaining the Infection Control and Radiology components, students then are eligible to work in the field and accumulate the required hours needed to take the third and final portion of the CDA certification.

Please be aware that students with previous convictions may find it difficult to secure employment within a healthcare setting.

This program is CT SNAP & CT WIOA approved.

Admission Requirements

Students must be 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or GED to enroll in this course. Students must be able to perform multiple motor tasks simultaneously. They must possess fine and gross motor skills sufficient to handle equipment and provide safe and effective client care; keen sense of touch; steady arm and hand movements while manipulating objects or assisting the dentist and/or clients. Students must be able to push and pull equipment.

Time Commitment

This 9 month program includes 264 hours of classroom instruction. An additional 14 hour Essential Job Skills & Career and Development course is required. There is a 180 hour OPTIONAL clinical externship.

OPTIONAL: Dental Assistant Clinical Externship (180 hours)
You will work with a coordinator to complete your externship for the Dental Assistant course with local dental offices. Externships can be limited in availability. Once registered, individuals will be placed on a list in order of date of registration. As externship opportunities are identified, individuals must demonstrate core competencies to be placed in the field.

Employment Outlook

Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of job opportunities for Dental Assistants across specialties earn a median salary of $40,080.

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Program Coordinator

Jessica Poirier