Mar 03, 2024  
2022-2023 General Catalog Archived 
2022-2023 General Catalog Archived [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Dental Assisting, Diploma

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Total credit hours: 48  See Catalog Addendum  for updated Program of Study

The Dental Assisting curriculum prepares individuals to assist the dentist in the delivery of dental treatment and to function as integral members of the dental team while performing chairside and related office and laboratory procedures.

Course work includes instruction in general studies, biomedical sciences, dental sciences, clinical sciences, and clinical practice. A combination of lecture, laboratory, and clinical experiences provide students with knowledge in infection/hazard control, radiography, dental materials, preventive dentistry, and clinical procedures.

Graduates may be eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board Examination to become Certified Dental Assistants (CDA). As a Dental Assistant II, defined by the Dental Laws of North Carolina, graduates work in dental offices and other related areas.

A Dental Assistant II or CDA can perform all legal expanded functions prescribed by a NC licensed dentist. Some of the many expanded functions a DA II can legally perform are: apply sealants, insert matrix bands and wedges, place cavity bases and liners, place and/or remove rubber dams, place and remove temporary restorations, take impressions and wax bites, remove sutures, expose and process radiographs, perform fluoride application and coronal polish.

The mission of the program is to provide a quality education for the Dental Assisting students to be successful in the program. The faculty and staff will encourage professional and ethical behavior. The program will provide an environment to promote the team concept, lifelong learning, and the development of the skills and attitudes necessary to achieve the student’s goal of becoming a Certified Dental Assistant. The program is offered in the afternoon and evening until the clinical portion of the program. Clinical rotations are offered during daytime typical dental practice hours.

Program Director: Meredith Parker

Program Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this program, the student should be able to:

  1. Perform as a competent entry-level Dental Assistant in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills) and affective (behavior) learning domains.
  2. Demonstrate effective communication skills with clients and coworkers in the role of a dental assistant.
  3. Use critical thinking to recognize, analyze, and solve problems related to dental assisting.
  4. Perform as a dental team member who demonstrates competence in chairside skills necessary to contribute to patient care.
  5. Display professionalism.

Program Requirements


The program in dental assisting is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. 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: (opens in new window).

Admission Requirements 

Students must be admitted to the Dental Assisting program before enrolling in courses with a DEN prefix.

Applicants for admission to the Dental Assisting program must complete the requirements for admission as described in the Dental Assisting Admission Packet. 

NOTE: Meeting all admission requirements does not guarantee placement into the Dental Assisting program.

Clinical Clearance Requirements

A criminal background check, drug screen, and up-to-date immunizations are required by the participating clinical rotation site prior to participation in the clinical component. 

If any clinical site denies a student’s participation in clinical experiences in that clinical site, the student will not be able to progress in the program.

Professional Responsibilities 

As health care providers, the primary professional obligation is service to the public. Patients have the right to expect and receive quality care regardless of his/her circumstance and medical condition. In addition, throughout the dental assisting program, patient confidentiality and HIPAA standards are stressed and practiced.  All students in the dental assisting program at Davidson-Davie will be expected to adhere to these philosophies and policies.

Infection Control Policy Statement

A student in the dental assisting program is at an increased risk for exposure to a variety of diseases, among them Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Because of these risks, students will be expected to follow all infection control/exposure control guidelines that have been established.

Infection control is a priority consideration in dental practice and at Davidson-Davie. With the increased publicity surrounding hepatitis, herpes, and HIV infection; dentists, allied dental personnel, and consumers are becoming more aware that the dental environment is a potential source for one or more of these diseases. Accordingly, infection control in dentistry is undergoing dramatic change and will continue to be a rapidly evolving and dynamic issue as new technology, research information, and legal precedents emerge.

The prevention of cross contamination and transmission of infection to all persons, whether patients, dentists, allied dental personnel or non-clinical staff, is the professional responsibility of all dental personnel. A fundamental principle of an effective infection control program is to exercise care, precautions and effective control techniques that can keep infectious microbes within the manageable limits of the body’s normal resistance to disease. To achieve this goal, and pursuant to its commitment to provide a safe therapeutic environment, the Davidson-Davie Dental Assisting program has adopted policies and procedures which represent a comprehensive and practical infection control program.

Progression Requirements

A student must earn a grade of C or better in all DEN and BIO prefix courses and satisfactory complete all skills assessments to progress in the program.

It is the desire of the Program Director and faculty to see students succeed in the dental assisting program and become dental professionals. In order to be considered safe and competent to provide basic patient care, the dental assisting program has identified six benchmarks that must be achieved to progress to the next. If the student fails to score an 80% on any of the benchmarks listed below, they will be deemed unsafe and asked to leave the program. After each unsuccessful attempt, the student will be required to schedule one-on-one skills practice/remediation time with the course instructor.

DEN 101 - Preclinical Procedures
80% or higher - Medical History and Vital Signs (2 attempts)
80% or higher - Maintaining a Clear Field (2 attempts)
80% or higher - Dental Anesthesia (2 attempts)

DEN 103 - Dental Sciences
80% or higher on Test 1 - Medical Emergencies (2 attempts)

DEN 112 - Dental Radiography
80% or higher on Test 3 - Radiation Health and Safety (2 attempts) 
85% or higher on 1 manikin full mouth series and 1 bitewing survey (four attempts for each) 

* The minimum score for a passing set of dental image series is a standard that is followed by the accredited dental assisting programs in North Carolina, the UNC School of Dentistry radiology instructor training, and the Area Health Education Center dental radiography continuing education courses offered in North Carolina.

Technical Standards

In addition to Davidson-Davie requirements and course objectives, there are professional standards  that encompass communication, motor skills, sensory and cognitive ability and professional conduct that are essential for the competent study and practice this profession. Dental Assisting Technical Standards (PDF opens in new window)  

Curriculum Guide

See below for an example of a full time pathway

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