Dental Assisting

Program Locations: Hastings Campus
Program Level: Diploma, Associate
Department: Health Sciences

Our onsite clinic gives you the experience you need to have a successful career in dental assisting. Through our Dental Assisting program, you’ll learn to take X-rays, prepare patients for treatment, prepare dental materials, perform laboratory procedures and perform coronal polishing. Our graduates meet all requirements for the practice of dental assisting in the State of Nebraska and are eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board examination to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). You’ll also have the opportunity to develop the advanced skills needed to assume additional business office responsibilities in a dental practice.

The Dental Assisting program is accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Dental Days

Meet with dental assisting faculty, admissions, financial aid and housing.

September 17, 6 - 8 p.m.
October 26, 9 - 11 a.m.
November 9, 9 - 11 a.m.
January 28, 6-8 p.m. 
February 22, 9-11 a.m. 
March 29, 9-11 a.m. 

Program Options

Associate of Applied Science

Diploma

program overviewcourse descriptionscourse sequence

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Contact

Program Directory

Program Director

Marie Desmarais, CDA, M.A.T.
877-222-0780 Ext. 2467
402-461-2467
mdesmarais@cccneb.edu

Full-time Instructor

Shelly Steinkruger, CDA, B.S.
877-222-0780
Ext. 2433 402-461-2433
ssteinkruger@cccneb.edu

Program Location

The dental assisting classroom and laboratory/clinic are located in Room 130 in the Dawson Building on the Hastings Campus. Dental assisting clinical rotations (externships) are arranged in dental offices and clinics. General education and business courses are offered at the campuses and centers of Central Community College. Many courses are also available online.

Accreditation

Program Accrediation

The Dental Assisting Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation and by the United States Department of Education. Accreditation approval for CCC’s Dental Assisting Program has been continuous from 1966 until the present. The most recent accreditation site visit was in 2015.

Mission and Vision

Program Mission

  • The dental assisting program provides the educational environment and experiences necessary for a student to prepare for employment as a dental assistant.
  • The program graduate will have the knowledge and skills needed to assist during the delivery of dental care and to perform supportive laboratory and business office procedures in an effective and professional manner.
  • The program graduate will meet all requirements for the practice of dental assisting in the state of Nebraska and will be prepared to take the Dental Assisting National Board Examination. The dental assisting program is accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Vision Statement

The Dental Assisting Program will provide an education that positions graduates to assume an expanded role in the delivery of dental care in Nebraska. We value:

  • Mandatory education for dental assistants
  • Wage and benefits commensurate with responsibility
  • Open communication between all dental entities
  • Continuing education for dental assistants
  • Promotion of dental assisting as a progressive career
  • Accreditation by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Accreditation
Admission Requirements

Program Admission Requirements

INTERVIEW - An applicant must attend a personal advising session with the Dental Assisting Program Director. To arrange an appointment, contact Marie Desmarais at 402-461-2467 or Toll-Free 877-222-0780 Extension 2467 (in Nebraska) or e-mail to mdesmarais@cccneb.edu. The purpose of this session is to meet the faculty, review admission criteria, receive forms, and have questions about the program answered.

IMPORTANT - Enrollment in DENTAL ASSISTING courses is offered on a space available basis. Names are added to the Dental Assisting Program Admissions List in the order that completed applications are received. Spaces in the class are offered on a first-come/first-served basis.

  1. APPLICATION An applicant must complete an application for admission (College Admissions office).
  2. ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS An applicant must provide the following documentation:
    • A high school transcript showing a GPA of 2.0* or better or a GED certificate. 
      *A cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better on twelve (12) advisor-approved college credits may be used to replace a high school GPA.
    • Documentation of placement test scores** (Accuplacer® , ACT® , or Compass®)
      effective 7/7/2016 ACCUPLACER® ACT® COMPASS®
      Reading Skills 74 18 80
      Writing Skills 84 18 74
      Math Skills Arithmetic: 75 or
      Elem. Algebra: 31
      17 Pre-Algebra: 48
      ** The name of an applicant whose test scores do not meet required minimums will be placed on the program admissions list with a status of “pending.” To change the status to full admission, the applicant may re-test to achieve the required score or complete the appropriate skill-building course with a grade of “C” or better. After July 1, a pending space may be offered to the next applicant on the admissions list.
  3. ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS: An applicant must submit a signed Dental Assisting Program Essential Functions Release. A form will be provided.
  4. IMMUNIZATION RECORD; (Form is provided.) Complete the form and attach copies of actual records or obtain healthcare provider’s signature on the form. The influenza vaccine is seasonal and is not required for admission to the Dental Assisting Program.
  5. JOB SHADOWING: IMPORTANT: An applicant is required to meet with the Program Director BEFORE proceeding with the job shadowing activity. An applicant must provide proof of sixteen (16) hours observation (job shadowing) in a dental office. A form will be provided. Applicants who have dental assisting work experience need only supply written verification of employment.

Submitted documents will be reviewed and the applicant will be notified by postal mail or e-mail of his/her admission status. Program enrollment is limited; early completion of the admission process is strongly encouraged.

A student may take General Education courses and business courses for the AAS degree prior to admission into the Dental Assisting Program or enrollment in DENT courses.

A student enrolled in the Dental Assisting Program will incur expenses for textbooks, student-in-practicum insurance, CPR certification, immunizations, clinic clothing, shoes, safety glasses, and certification examination fees. A detailed list will be provided.

IMPORTANT: If applying for financial aid, contact the Financial Aid office on the Hastings Campus.

Clinical Experience/Externship

Clinical Experience/Externship

The importance of clinical experience cannot be overemphasized in the health occupations. Students on clinical experience assignments have a valuable opportunity to:

  • observe how a dental office functions,
  • work with experienced dental professionals,
  • observe and assist with dental treatment procedures, and
  • apply the knowledge and skills learned in class.

The following policies will apply:

Placement – Selection of an office for clinical experience is made by the clinical coordinator according to program guidelines. Formal legal agreements are made between the college and the dental office.

Availability - Sites for clinical experience are limited. If demand is greater than availability, students will be assigned to available positions based on date of admission to program.

Compensation – As a student, you will be in the office to receive practical experience. You will not be paid as an employee. The clinical externship is a college course so tuition and fees will be charged. 1-4

Attendance – Students must be on duty in assigned dental offices during all open office hours. Wear clean, white shoes. Hair must be clean, neatly combed, and styled off the collar away from the face. Wear only moderate makeup and limit jewelry to a watch and small earrings. No rings should be worn. Teeth and mouth must fresh. Breath mints are acceptable but DO NOT CHEW GUM! Avoid heavy perfumes.

Eye Protection – A student must provide his/her own OSHA-approved safety glasses or goggles and they MUST be worn at all times when working in the treatment rooms and laboratory of a dental office. Immunizations – All immunizations must be current. (See Admission Requirements).

Confidentiality – Students must hold in strictest confidence all things seen or heard in the dental office pertaining to the dentist, the patients, or the staff members. This means that NO information is discussed outside the office. Failure to respect confidentiality laws could result in embarrassment or a lawsuit. Respecting the privacy of others will also safeguard the student’s professional reputation.

CPR Certification – Students must present a current CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) card prior to the Program Director prior to clinical placement.

Conduct in the Office – Students will observe office policies and customs regarding snacks, phone calls, etc. Smoking or use of other tobacco products in or on office premises is forbidden for dental assisting students on a clinical assignment, regardless of office policies. When in doubt about anything, it is best to refrain.

Childcare – Students with childcare responsibilities must arrange for reliable daycare and backup daycare.

General Education Classes – It is the student’s responsibility, when necessary, to make arrangements with General Education instructors to be excused from their classes.

Rules and Regulation

Rules and Regulations

Immunizations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that health care workers, including dental assistants, be immunized against hepatitis B. Immunization is acquired through a series of three (3) injections over a period of seven (7) months. Student must provide a signed Immunization Record as part of the program admission process.

Professional Attire & Appearance (including Body Art)

Dental assisting students are required to dress in the program-designated clinic uniform at all times when working in the treatment rooms, laboratory, darkroom, and sterilization center areas of the dental assisting educational facility and on clinical externship assignments.

  • Dental assisting students shall display no more than one earring per earlobe when in uniform.
  • No other pierced jewelry or body art shall be visible.

Insurance

All Health Sciences students who are involved with patient care (including clinical experience) are required to carry student in practicum insurance purchased through the college. The cost is $12 per year and is assessed with tuition.

Attendance

  • Students are required to attend all class sessions.
  • If unable to attend, the student must notify the instructor prior to the regularly scheduled class time.
  • Final course grades may be reduced by up to 10 points for deficiencies in attendance.

Cause for Dismissal

  • Behavior All students will be held to the standards of behavior set forth in the current CCC Student Handbook.
  • Academic All students will be held to the Standards of Progress in the online CCC College Catalog.
Cause for Dismissal

Cause for Dismissal

  • Behavior All students will be held to the standards of behavior set forth in the current CCC Student Handbook.
  • Academic All students will be held to the Standards of Progress in the online CCC College Catalog. 
Policies for Written Evaluations

Program Policies for Written Evaluations Retakes

  1. There will be no retakes for grading purposes. If an evaluation grade is below 75 percent, the student is required to retake the evaluation to demonstrate that the information has been learned.
  2. The retake must be completed within one week, but not on the day the test is returned.
  3. The student is responsible for scheduling the retake with the instructor.

 

Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes – Dental Assisting Diploma

  1. Practice professional and ethical standards
    • Demonstrate professional appearance and conduct.
    • Adhere to standards of confidentiality of patient information.
    • Make ethical choices regarding clinical and personal conduct.
    • Comply with local, state, and federal regulations governing the practice of dentistry and dental assisting
  2. Provide clinical support in a dental environment
    • Assist a dentist during treatment procedures by maintaining the operating field, transferring instruments, and preparing dental materials.
    • Provide pre-operative and post-operative patient care and instruction.
    • Produce diagnostic dental radiographic images.
    • Apply current infection control techniques to prevent cross-contamination.
  3. Perform laboratory and business office supportive functions.
    • Produce diagnostic models, working models, whitening trays, athletic mouth guards, and custom impression trays.
    • Observe lab safety and infection control requirements.
    • Maintain laboratory equipment and facilities.
    • Communicate effectively using oral and written communication.
    • Market and promote a dental practice in a professional and positive manner.
    • Schedule patient appointments to maximize productivity of the dental team.
    • Manage accounts receivable and payable.
    • File third party payment claims.
    • Maintain organization and confidentiality of patient records.

Student Learning Outcomes – Dental Assisting AAS

  1. Practice professional and ethical standards
    • Demonstrate professional appearance and conduct.
    • Adhere to standards of confidentiality of patient information.
    • Make ethical choices regarding clinical and personal conduct.
    • Comply with local, state, and federal regulations governing the practice of dentistry and dental assisting.
  2. Provide clinical support in a dental environment
    • Assist a dentist during treatment procedures by maintaining the operating field, transferring instruments, and preparing dental materials.
    • Provide pre-operative and post-operative patient care and instruction.
    • Produce diagnostic dental radiographic images.
    • Apply current infection control techniques to prevent cross-contamination.
  3. Perform laboratory and business office supportive functions.
    • Produce diagnostic models, working models, whitening trays, athletic mouth guards, and custom impression trays.
    • Observe lab safety and infection control requirements.
    • Maintain laboratory equipment and facilities.
    • Communicate effectively using oral and written communication.
    • Market and promote a dental practice in a professional and positive manner.
    • Schedule patient appointments to maximize productivity of the dental team.
    • Manage accounts receivable and payable.
    • File third party payment claims.
    • Maintain organization and confidentiality of patient records.
  4. Practice advanced skills required for management of the dental business office.
    • Perform basic business office functions.
    • Maintain complete and accurate financial record for a dental practice.
    • Understand basic business management theory.
    • Use computers to perform business office tasks.
    • Manage clinical records effectively.
Grading

The grading scale for all Dental Assisting (DENT) courses is as follows:

A+ 98-100
A 93-97
B+ 90-92
B 85-89
C+ 82-84
C 77-81
D+ 74-76
F 68, below

Final course grades may be reduced by up to 10 points for deficiencies in attendance, professional appearance, class participation, and conduct.

All general education, business and dental assisting courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better to meet graduation requirements.

Confidentiality Policy

Confidentiality Policy

Health sciences students are allowed access to patient health information as part of a required externship/practicum. This is permitted as “use or disclosure of protected health information (PHI)” for health care operations. Section 164.601 of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act defines “health care operations” in a manner that includes the education/training of health care providers and professionals. Students must participate in required training activities (program and clinical site) and must adhere to all privacy policies and procedures.

ADAA Principles of Professional Ethics

American Dental Assistants Association Principles of Professional Ethics

  • Each individual involved in the practice of dentistry assumes the obligation to maintain and enrich the profession.
  • Each member may choose to meet this obligation according to the dictate of personal conscience based on the needs of the human beings the profession of dentistry is committed to serve. The spirit of the Golden Rule is the basic guiding principle of this concept.
  • The member must strive to maintain confidentiality and to exhibit respect for the dentist/employer.
  • The member shall refrain from performing any professional service that is prohibited by state law and has the obligation to prove competence prior to providing services to any patient.
  • The member shall constantly strive to upgrade and expand technical skills for the benefit of the employer and the consumer public.
  • The member should additionally seek to sustain and improve the local organization, state association, and the American Dental Assistant Association by active participation and personal commitment.
Dental Assistant Credentials

Dental Assistant Credentials

State of Nebraska: Regulations governing the practice of dentistry in the State of Nebraska mandate that dental assistants must show proof of completing an approved course of study prior to performing the following functions:

  • exposing dental radiographs (Dental Radiography)
  • polishing the crowns of teeth (Coronal Polishing)

The dental assisting curriculum at Central Community College is State Board of Dentistry-approved and upon completion of your program you will receive certificates of your qualifications in radiography and coronal polishing. Beginning January 2018, an optional credentialing opportunity will be available to dental assistants in Nebraska. This credential is: Licensed Dental Assistant.

National Certification: The Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB) grants certification and permission to use the title “Certified Dental Assistant” (CDA) after successful completion of the certification examination. Certification is a voluntary national credential that is recognized in all 50 states. Annual renewal requires completing twelve clock hours of approved continuing education. Separate examinations are available in three specialty areas: Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA), Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Assistant (COMSA), and Certified Dental Practice Management Assistant (CDPMA). Additional information regarding certification will be provided in dental assisting classes.

Safety Procedures

Dental Assisting Program Safety Procedures

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors. PPE policies are for the protection of the individual. It is critical to your safety that proper PPE is used. Failure to do so is a serious violation of approved College safety practices.

  1. Eye Protection Required:
    • Safety glasses with side shields are required at all times when working on a patient by both instructors and students.
      • Each student is required to purchase approved safety glasses.
      • Prescription glasses are typically not safety glasses.
      • Prescription glasses with side shields or protective eyewear worn over prescription glasses are required.
    • The college will provide eye wash stations.
  2. Hand Protection Required:
    • Each student is required to wear gloves as specified by the instructor. Non-latex (nitrile) gloves are used to avoid allergy concerns.
    • Gloves are used to protect both the student and patient.
      • If any rips or tears occur, wash hands immediately with soap and warm water and put on a new pair of gloves.
      • A new pair of gloves will be used for each patient.
      • Wash hands between patients.
    • The outside of the protective gloves will be treated as a contaminated area.
      • Never put hands close to mouth, nose, or eyes while wearing protective gloves.
      • Always remove gloves and wash hands before going on a break, smoking, or eating.
      • Contaminated gloves will be disposed with regular trash.
  3. Foot Protection Required:
    • No specific foot protection is required. However, the student should purchase a sturdy shoe designed for long periods of standing in a style that covers and protects the entire foot.
  4. Hearing Protection Required: NA No type of hearing protection is required as a standard in this program. Instructors will always be aware of any situations that might occur requiring hearing protection.
  5. Body and Leg/Arm Protection Required: 
    • Each student is required to wear a proper facemask as specified by the instructor. A facemask is required to protect the student from aerosol spatter.
    • You must provide proof of completion of at least the first two stages of hepatitis B immunization prior to beginning clinical experience. Other immunizations, including tetanus, must be current.
    • Each student is required to pay for the vaccination series.
    • Each student is required to purchase and wear clinic clothing as specified by the instructor.
    • Each student is responsible for laundering his/her clinic clothing according to program policies.
    • Respiratory Protection Required: NA No type of respiratory protection is required as a standard in this program. Instructors will always be aware of any situations that might occur requiring respiratory protection.

General Safety Precautions

  1. Do not lean on or against equipment.
  2. Avoid horseplay in the work area at all times.
  3. Each student is responsible for laundering his/her lab coat according to program policies.
  4. Any exposure to blood or other body fluids should be reported immediately to an instructor.
  5. Proper procedures and safety precautions are always required to prevent a laceration from an instrument or other “sharps” object.
  6. Do not use any equipment unless properly trained and have been authorized by an instructor.
  7. Have a thorough understanding of the potential hazards and proper procedures to prevent exposure to blood or other body fluids.
  8. Treat all fluids from a patient as contaminated waste.
  9. Be familiar with the concept of “Standard Precautions” and consistently practice these precautions.

Clothing and Personal Protective Equipment

  1. Specified clinic clothing must be worn.
  2. A facemask and eye protection are required to protect the student from aerosol spatter.
  3. Comfortable shoes that protect the top of the foot must be worn.
  4. Gloves will be worn when working with a patient. New gloves will be used for each patient.

Housekeeping

  1. Aisles should be kept clear at all times to avoid tripping or other hazards.
  2. Working on wet surfaces can cause a severe slipping hazard. When walking on wet surfaces, walk slower and take smaller steps. All spills or wet areas should be cleaned promptly to avoid slipping.

First Aid

  1. Get first aid immediately for any injury.
  2. First aid kits are available in the program area and throughout campus.
  • What will it cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • What careers can I have?
What will it cost?

At 2018-19 tuition and fee rates, completing the 61 credits required for the Dental Assisting degree costs

Nebraska residents - $6,100

Non-residents - $8,784

These costs are for tuition and fees only for the program of study as listed in the CCC online catalog. It does not include the cost of foundations courses, retaking courses or taking courses in addition to those required for the degree. It does not include the cost of books, supplies, tools, computers or other items that may be required.

2018-19 Tuition and Fees (cost per credit) Tuition Fees Total
Nebraska Resident $88 $12 $100
Non Resident $132 $12 $144

View College Costs

How long will it take?

Finish in 2 years by completing 15-16 credits a semester for 4 semesters

The length of time to complete a program is based on a student taking only the courses required for the program as listed in our online catalog. It does not include the cost of foundations courses that may be required based on COMPASS, ASSET or ACT scores, retaking courses or taking courses that are not required by your program of study

Your adviser will develop a plan of study to meet your personal needs.

What careers can I have?

Check out Career Coach to learn about job openings, pay and careers.