Dental Assisting Technology
The Dental Assisting Technology program trains students to become dental assisting professionals, involved citizens, and to be an asset to and compliment the dental healthcare team. The program emphasizes skills such as patient communication, critical thinking, clinical charting, and job readiness including practice interviewing and preparing a dental assisting resume. A unique feature of this program is an on-site dental clinic in which students gain experience working with dentists and patients; students begin clinical activities such as performing infection control procedures as soon as the second week of school. The program requires students to complete 300 hours of clinical externship through the on-site dental clinic, private dental offices, IHS, and tribal health clinics.
- Certificate of Completion. Upon completion of the certificate a student is NOTa Certified Dental Assistant, but is eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board Exam to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).
- Dental Assisting Endorsementmay be offered to students who successfully complete 23 credits of training and meet the requirements as an entry-level dental assistant as defined by the US Department of Labor. This does NOT qualify a student to take the Dental Assisting National Board Exam to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).
Background checks are mandatory for national exams.
The dental assistant will become proficient in all areas allowed and defined by the State of Montana Dental Practice Act. Upon completion of the program the student should be able to:
- Assist chairside, maintain proper asepsis, and utilize instruments, equipment, and moisture control in all aspects of dentistry. This includes assisting with anesthetic, performing rubber dam application, sealant, fluoride, coronal polish, and oral hygiene instruction.
- Identify and apply concepts of dental terminology, record patient medical and dental history.
- Identify and apply the concepts of dental ethics in relationship to dental team. culturally and professionally.
- Have the knowledge to schedule patients for various treatments, maintain a recall system, order and maintain supplies, complete patient insurance forms, and make financial arrangements.
- Perform laboratory procedures including taking impressions, pouring and trimming study models, constructing custom trays, bleaching trays, and mouth guards, temporary restorations, and manipulate intermediary materials using aseptic technique.
- Expose, develop, mount and critique radiographs including conventional, panoramic and digital Radiographic images.
The dental assisting technology program prepares students for entry-level work in the dental profession. Students who graduate from this program may gain employment as general chairside dental assistants, dental hygiene assistants, or as dental assistants in specialty offices. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) examination to become a Certified Dental Assistant.
Experienced dental assistants in the State of Montana earn approximately $20.00 per hour according to a 2018 salary survey conducted by DANB. Entry-level jobs in the profession range from $13 -$15 per hour starting pay. Students who complete this program have found employment with local and regional dentists, in Indian Health Service facilities across the nation, have returned to school for additional dental training, or have received degrees in related professions such as nursing, environmental science, or social work.
The program in dental assisting is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements”. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. The Commission’s web address is: http://www.ada.org/en/coda.
Policies and procedures have been developed related to bloodborne and infectious disease. These policies, which may be obtained from the department, are available to applicants for admission and patients.
Dental Assisting Technology Department Directory
Contact a specific faculty or staff member here.