DT The Role of the Dental Assistant
You will receive 1 credit(s) of continuing education credit upon successful completion of this course. The purchase price of this course is $41.00

This course describes the many roles and skill sets of the dental assistant, practice settings and career paths, credentials available, and the ethics and training critical to the role.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to do the following:

  1. Define the many roles of the dental assistant.
  2. Identify the many skills dental assistants must have. 
  3. Identify the many practice settings of dental assistants.
  4. Define the difference between clinical (chairside) assistants, and office managers and administrative assistants.
  5. Identify credentials for dental assistants.
  6. Define a code of ethics.
  7. Describe training for dental assistants and any heath/vaccines they might need as employees at risk for occupational hazards.

Dental assistants are multifaceted members of the dental team. They are involved with virtually all aspects of running a dental practice. They assist at chairside, educate patients, comfort patients, work at the front desk, help the office function efficiently, and more. Dental assistants have many skills, including clinical, interpersonal communications, problem-solving, administrative and technological, office management, and knowledge of current trends in dentistry. They are often the eyes, ears, and voice of the dentist. They may work in a variety of practice settings, including solo practices, group practices, schools, hospital clinics, dental school clinics, and specialty practices such as endodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and prosthodontics. They may work chairside, as office managers, and have a variety of other career opportunities. There are many credentialing opportunities for dental assistants, including licensure, certification, and registration. Dental assistants must work within the legal standards, or laws and regulations of each individual state, known as the dental practice act. They also must adhere to a code of ethics. Dental assistants need training in many areas, including recognizing the symptoms of bloodborne disease, its modes of transmission, and use of universal precautions and personal protective equipment.
  1. Introduction

  2. Practice Settings

  3. Dental Assistants in the Dental Office

    1. Clinical (Chairside) Assistants

    2. Office Managers and Administrative Assistants

  4. Other Career Opportunities for Dental Assistants

  5. Credentials for Dental Assistants

  6. Professional Ethics and Legal Standards

  7. Codes of Ethics and Professional Conduct

    1. ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct

    2. American Dental Assistants Association Principles of Ethics and Professional Conduct

  8. Patients’ Rights

  9. Training for Dental Assistants

  1. American Dental Association. 2004 Survey of Dental Practice: Employment of Dental Practice Personnel. Survey Center, 2004. 
  2. American Dental Association.  2004 Survey of Legal Provisions for Delegating Intraoral Functions to Dental Assistants and Dental Hygienists. Survey Center, November, 2005.
  3. American Dental Association. Protecting Patients’ Rights. Available at: http://www.webcitation.org/5LnKa2moN.  Accessed Jan. 10, 2007.
  4. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Available at: http://www.osha.gov/html/faq-bbp.html#faq3. Accessed Jan. 10, 2007.

American Dental Association is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider.

ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry.