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.
The Dental Assisting Technology program has a partnership with Southcentral Foundation and offers an at distance site in Anchorage, Alaska.
- 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.
Students on the Pablo campus completing the dental assisting program will become proficient in all areas allowed and defined by the State of Montana Dental Practice Act. Students completing the dental assisting program at the Southcentral Foundation site will become proficient in all areas allowed and defined by the State of Alaska Dental Practice Act.
- Maintain proper infection and hazardous control protocol in the dental healthcare setting
- Perform four-handed dental assisting duties in a safe and ethical manner
- Assist with intra and extraoral examinations, identify and apply concepts of dental terminology, and accurately record patient data
- Identify and apply the concepts of dental ethics and professional communication in relation to the dental team and patients
- Have the knowledge to schedule patients for various treatments, maintain a recall system, order and maintain supplies, complete patient insurance forms, make financial arrangements, and utilize basic dental software
- Perform dental laboratory procedures.
- Expose, develop, mount and evaluate radiographs including conventional, digital, and panoramic radiographic images while using proper safety precautions
- Become advocates and promote healthy lifestyles to reduce health disparities in oral health within Native American communities
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.