Start a new career in the field of dentistry with our Dental Assisting Program. Our Diploma program is designed to prepare you for a career in a dental office by combining classroom and lab skills training with an externship that gives you real-world experience in an actual dental office. With our Dental Assisting training, you can receive training in chairside dental care, office administration and laboratory procedures.
Dental Assistants are an important member of the dental care team. They help increase the efficiency of the dentist, allowing them to provide quality oral healthcare. With small class sizes that provide individual attention to each student, convenient class schedules, industry-experienced instructors, and career services to help you secure a new job, Platt College is ready to help you start a new career in Dental Assisting.
Training to Become a Dental Assistant
Our Dental Assisting program can prepare you for a job with a dental office or in a clinic as a receptionist, insurance clerk or chairside assistant. Some of the classes that you will be expected to take include:
- Dental History, Law and Ethics, Dental Team and Specialities
- Dental Accounting and Insurance
- Preventative Dentistry and Infection Control
- Tooth Morphology and Microbiology
- Clinical Dental Assisting/Dental Radiology
During your classroom lessons and externship, you can learn how to use, and the proper care of, dental equipment necessary for your new career. Some of the equipment you may handle include:
- X-ray software
- Dental forceps
- Steam cleaning equipment
- Tongue forceps
Towards the end of your Dental Assisting program, your externship will place you in an actual dental office working with the staff to gain valuable experience. You will put to use the skills you learned during your Dental Assisting training and development. Prior to starting the externship, you will be required to pass the Radiation Safety course and acquire a valid Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) permit. For more information on these permits, contact our Admissions department.
Our program is designed to give you the skills to prepare you to enter the job market as a Dental Assistant. The Career Services team can assist you in marketing yourself for the right career opportunity.
What Does a Dental Assistant Do?
Dental Assistants are a very important part of the dental team, supporting both the administration of the office and engaging in clinical duties. While the role of a Dental Assistant can vary by state and the dental office they work in, the role requires you to possess both interpersonal and technical skills. Dental Assistant duties can be broken into three categories – administrative duties, clinical duties, and chairside manner.
- Schedule and confirm appointments
- Make appointment reminder calls
- Assist patients with billing and payments
- Answer the telephone
- Order medical supplies
- Maintain patient records
- Manage the list of insurance payers
- Produce claims and statements
- Generate required office reports
You may work with the office manager on a daily basis to ensure the administrative functions of the dental office remain up-to-date. You may also be required to use Practice Management Software (PMS) to help keep the office running efficiently.
- Assist the dentist during a variety of dental procedures
- Help provide direct patient care in all dental specialties including oral surgery, pediatric dentistry, orthodontics and periodontics
- Handling dentist instruments
- Using equipment, such as suction hoses, to aid the dentist
- Taking and developing dental x-rays
- Taking impressions of patient’s teeth for study casts
- Sterilizing instruments
- Lab tasks as assigned, such as preparing material for impressions
By providing assistance to the dentist, the Dental Assistant ensures that the patient receives the best oral healthcare possible. You provide support to the dentist by handling routine tasks, leaving the dentist available to perform procedures on other patients and preparing new patients for their examination.
Sometimes patients visiting the dentist are nervous. Providing proper chairside manners help them relax. You will provide them with a positive, comfortable environment. Being a good communicator is an important part of your Dental Assistant duties.
- Help patients feel comfortable before, during and after their dental procedure
- Record or update their medical history
- Take the patient’s blood pressure and pulse
- Provide oral hygiene and care instructions after a check-up or procedure
- Teach oral hygiene techniques to maintain oral health, such as proper tooth brushing and flossing
Dental Assisting Professional Requirements
Our Dental Assisting program prepares you for a job as a Dental Assistant. In 40 or 48 weeks, you can be ready to start your new career in a dental office.
The Dental Assisting program at Platt College trains you to be a second pair of hands for the dentist, requiring good manual dexterity, reliability and the ability to work well with others. You will be required to work in a well-lighted, clean environment wearing protective gear such as gloves, masks, eye shields and protective clothing. You may also need to understand and follow the safety procedures of your dental office to minimize any risk associated with the use of the x-ray equipment and other dental instruments.
In order to become a Dental Assistant in the state of Oklahoma, you are required to obtain upon the completion of your coursework and prior to your externship:
- A Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) permit from the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry. As a student in the Dental Assisting program, Platt College will pay the initial Dental Permit application fee. Renewals of the permit will be the student’s responsibility.
- Complete an Oklahoma Board of Dentistry approved course of study in radiation safety and protection, a minimum of seven hours, submit written verification of the competent clinical experience to the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry and apply for the Radiation Safety permit. As a student in the Dental Assisting program, Platt College will pay the initial Dental Permit application fee. Additional attempts of the Radiation Safety course will be the student’s responsibility.
- Current certification in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
Is Dental Assisting a Good Career For Me?
How do you know if a career in Dental Assisting is good for you? Here are some things to consider:
- You need to be a good listener as you will deal with patients every day, some who are very nervous about sitting in the dentist’s chair.
- You need to be compassionate and a calming presence to your patient’s so they can relax before the dentist sees them.
- You’re a natural people person who enjoys meeting new people, both young and old.
- You have a strong work ethic and go into your chosen career knowing that you can have tough days and long hours but take it in stride.
- You are reliable, organized and good at multitasking, helping the officer manager ensure the office doesn’t fall apart.
- You enjoy doing a variety of things, from escorting patients to the exam room to taking x-rays to cleaning instruments.
- You have career advancement opportunities available to you with additional training.
If this sounds like you, then training as a Dental Assistant is a good career choice.
How Much Money Do Dental Assistants Make?
According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey, Dental Assistants currently earn a median salary of $37,630 per year or $18.09 per hour. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,170, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $53,130*. These wages can vary based on the dental office, clinic or setting you are working in.
The Platt College Dental Assisting program prepares you for an entry-level position. Additionally, you might be eligible for a variety of benefits, such as vacation or sick time, flexible working hours, insurance and a stable work/life balance. Each dental office is different so it is a good idea to weigh all your options when presented with a position so that you accept an offer in an office you will be successful in.
Dental Assistant Career Outlook
The Dental Assisting is growing fast and according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey, expected growth in the field is 19% growth between 2016 and 2026*. This growth is much faster than the overall projected for all occupations.
Why is there such a growth in the dental field? People are more conscious of their oral health and schedule preventative dental care for routine cleanings. This is driving up the demand for dentists and dental assistants. Plus, dentistry is ever-changing thanks to discoveries in science and technology. New techniques and methods are being explored by dentists, which means more opportunities for you to advance your Dental Assisting career.
Where Can Dental Assistants Work?
Dental Assistants have the ability to work anywhere in the country and around the world. Most dentists hire two or more dental assistants for their practice, giving you the opportunity to find a job in just about every city or town. Dental assistants can work in:
- A solo or group dental office
- Dental offices specializing in orthodontics, endodontics, pediatric dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and more
- Public health settings, such as schools and clinics focused on oral health in the community
- Hospital dental clinics
- Dental school clinics, vocational schools, technical schools and more, assisting other dental students
- Dental insurance companies
- Dental product sales representatives
Oklahoma Dental Assisting Program Locations at Platt College
Are you ready to enroll in our Oklahoma Dental Assisting program? You can find classes at:
Get Started Today!
Turn your passion for helping people into a career with our Dental Assisting program. Our small classes, industry-experienced instructors, and externships make it easy for you to gain the skills you need to be successful in this growing field. To get started, call us at 877-392-6616 or request information to speak with an Admissions Representative, who can answer your questions about our Dental Assisting Program.
Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended the programs at Platt College are available at http://www.plattcolleges.edu/content/program-disclosures.
Programs vary by location.
High school diploma, GED or equivalent required.
See school catalog for specific programmatic admissions requirements.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Dental Assistants, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm