Dental Assisting

2017-18 Edition

Sylvania Campus
Health Technology Building (HT), Room 206
971-722-4236

Health Admissions Office
College Center (CC), Room 208
971-722-4795

pcc.edu/programs/dental-assisting

Career and Program Description

The dental assistant is a member of the dental team, working with and assisting the dentist and hygienist during clinical procedures. Traditional duties and responsibilities include: exposing and developing dental radiographs, mixing dental materials, organizing and preparing treatment rooms, passing dental instruments and materials to the dentist, taking impressions, preparing, placing and removing rubber dams, placing topical anesthetic, fluoride and desensitizing agents, sterilizing instruments, disinfecting dental equipment, comforting patients during dental appointments and educating patients on various dental procedures. Graduates are also prepared to perform the following expanded duties: polish teeth and restorations, fabricate and cement temporary crowns, remove cement, place temporary restorations, place and remove matrix retainers, place sealants, perform temporary denture relines, place retraction cord and various orthodontic duties.

Computer skills are an important asset to a dental assistant. Students should be familiar with basic computer key boarding skills.  Dental computer programs are learned in the office procedures courses.

The Dental Assisting program is a limited entry program with restricted enrollment. The program is limited to 45 students. Applications are accepted from October 1 to April 15. Application forms may be obtained at www.pcc.edu/da and should be submitted along with high school and college transcripts to:

Health Admissions Office
Sylvania Campus, (CC) 208
Portland Community College
P.O. Box 19000
Portland, Oregon 97280-0990

For information call 971-722-4795 or check the website www.pcc.edu/da.

Candidates will be notified of their admission status by late May. 

Degrees and Certificates Offered

One-Year Certificate

Dental Assisting

Accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

Admission Prerequisites

Academic Prerequisites

  • High school diploma or college transcripts showing a minimum 2.0 GPA, or GED.
  • Completion of the following courses or their equivalents, with a "C" or better, is required to be considered for application to the Dental Assisting Program.
    • WR 115 or IRW 115 or higher level writing course (Placement into WR 121 can substitute for the WR 115 and IRW 115 course).
    • Approved college level nutrition course or health course with a nutrition component. Recommended classes include HE 250, HE 295 and PE 295 or FN 225.
    • Placement into MTH 20 or higher.
    • Approved college-level Psychology course. PSY 101 is recommended.
    • MP 111 must be completed prior to enrolling in any Dental Assisting courses.
  • Pass/No Pass grades are not acceptable in prerequisites.
  • The Dental Assisting program is a limited entry program with restricted enrollment.
    • The program is limited to 45 students. Applications are accepted from October 1 to April 15. Application forms may be obtained at www.pcc.edu/da and should be submitted along with high school and college transcripts to:
      • Health Admissions Office
        Sylvania Campus, (CC) Room 208
        Portland Community College
        P.O. Box 19000
        Portland, Oregon 97280-0990
      • For information call 971-722-4795 or check the website www.pcc.edu/da.
        Candidates will be notified of their admission status by late May.

Other Prerequisites

  • 12 hours of shadowing in a dental office or clinic facility that is documented by dentist's signature with the dentist's business card attached.
  • Applicants should have all program prerequisite courses and job shadowing experiences completed by the end of winter term. Courses planned for spring term will not be considered for the current year's application process. It is the applicant’s responsibility to update their information by providing final grades of courses which are in progress at the time of application.
  • All students are required to be immunized against Hepatitis B as well as evidence of immunity to measles, tetanus immunization and current tuberculin skin test (TST). Test must be within previous 12 months. Positive TST will require evidence of normal chest x-ray (supply upon acceptance).
  • A valid (current) Healthcare Provider CPR that includes Adult, Child, Infant and AED is required.

Program Requirements

Academic Requirements

  • None

Other Requirements

  • Criminal Background Check
    • All PCC students enrolled in a health care or child care program, including Dental Assisting, with requirements for practical experience of field training must pass a Criminal History Check (CHC) and a drug screen as a condition of their acceptance into a medical or other facility for training.
    • Students who do not pass the CHC and drug screen are not eligible to complete training at affiliated practicum sites, to sit for licensure or certification exams; or be hired for some professional positions. If you believe that your past history may interfere with your ability to complete the program of study or to obtaining licensure, or certification in your chosen field, you should contact the appropriate state board or program director.
  • The Dental Assisting Certificate prepares the student for job entry with State and National certification in dental radiology, basic dental assisting and expanded function dental assisting.
  • Students enrolled in the Dental Assisting Program perform exposure prone procedures and are required to wear safety glasses, gloves, face masks and protective clothing during all laboratory and clinic activities that produce airborne particulate matter, or expose students to patients during dental procedures. An exposure prone procedure is one in which there is an increased opportunity for the exchange of blood borne pathogens between the patient and the dental health care provider because of the kind of procedure being performed.
  • Safety policies, procedures and protocols are taught and followed according to OSHA regulations and CDC Standards to provide a safe learning and patient care environment. The program policies on blood borne pathogens and infectious disease are available to applicants upon request. Upon acceptance to the program, extensive training in this area will occur.
  • Applicants who have an infectious disease or who are carriers of an infectious disease should seek counsel from their physician and the program director prior to application. The college follows CDC suggested work restrictions for health-care personnel infected with or exposed to major infectious diseases in health care settings, from the CDC’s Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Healthcare Settings–2003 available at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5217a1.htm, Table 1, attached to and incorporated by this reference to this policy.
  • All aspects of the Dental Assisting Program are continually assessed to provide on-going excellence and continuing improvement, and are subject to change.

Dental Assisting One-Year Certificate

Minimum 45 credits. Students must meet all certificate requirements.

Course of Study

The coursework listed below is required. The following is an example of a term-by-term breakdown.

First TermCredits
DA 110§Clinical Procedures I3
DA 111§Clinical Procedures I (Lab)2
DA 116§Introduction to Dental Assisting2
DA 117Infection Control1
DA 120§Dental Radiology I2
DA 121§Dental Radiology I (Lab)2
DA 130Dental Materials I1
DA 131§Dental Materials I (Lab)2
DA 140AIntegrated Basic Science I2
Second Term
DA 112Clinical Procedures II1
DA 113Clinical Procedures II (Lab)3
DA 118Expanded Duties I1
DA 122Dental Radiology II1
DA 123Dental Radiology II (Lab)2
DA 132§Dental Materials II1
DA 133Dental Materials II (Lab)2
DA 142Integrated Basic Science III2
DA 150§Dental Office Procedures I2
Third Term
DA 114Clinical Procedures III1
DA 115Clinical Procedures Lab III5
DA 119Expanded Duties II1
DA 125Dental Radiology III (Lab)2
DA 135Dental Materials III (Lab)2
DA 152§Dental Office Procedures II2
 Total Credits: 45
§

Course cannot be substituted with another course.

DA 110. Clinical Procedures I. 3 Credits.

Introduction to clinical dental assisting including operatory preparation, sterilization/disinfection procedures, dental equipment, tray set-ups and restorative dental procedures.

DA 111. Clinical Procedures I (Lab). 2 Credits.

Laboratory training and experience in basic dental assisting functions and responsibilities. Students progress to assisting dentists in the dental clinics.

DA 112. Clinical Procedures II. 1 Credit.

Covers intermediate concepts of the clinical aspect of dental assisting duties and responsibilities. Includes an introduction in dental specialties. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 113, DA 122, DA 123, DA 132, DA 142, and DA 150.

DA 113. Clinical Procedures II (Lab). 3 Credits.

Continued clinic and laboratory experience. Students spend 1 (one) day per week assisting dental students at the Oregon Health Sciences University Dental School.

DA 114. Clinical Procedures III. 1 Credit.

Covers advanced concepts in the clinical aspect of dental assisting. Continues exploration in dental specialties. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 115, DA 119, DA 125, DA 135, and DA 152.

DA 115. Clinical Procedures Lab III. 5 Credits.

Covers advanced clinical training and practical experience in clinical dental assisting duties and responsibilities. Continues exploration and application of dental specialties. Includes chairside dental assisting procedures in both the PCC Dental Clinic and in a dental office externship. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 114, DA 119, DA 125, DA 135, and DA 152.

DA 116. Introduction to Dental Assisting. 2 Credits.

Covers medical emergencies, pharmacology and ethical standards established by the dental professions and legal responsibilities of the dental assistant and the dentist as established by the Oregon Dental Practice Act. Provides a correlation between treating the whole patient (pharmacology and emergency treatment) and providing standard of care treatment and proper documentation for industry. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 110 , DA 111, DA 120, DA 121, DA 130, DA 131, DA 140A, DA 117.

DA 117. Infection Control. 1 Credit.

Covers the essential elements and implementation of infection control and occupational safety in a dental healthcare setting. Requirement: Admission to the Dental Assisting Program. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 110, DA 111, DA 116, DA 120, DA 121, DA 130, DA 131, and DA 140A.

DA 118. Expanded Duties I. 1 Credit.

Study of the function and procedures beyond the scope of general dental assisting as allowed by the Oregon Dental Practice Act. Includes amalgam polishing and margination, rubber dam placement and removal.

DA 119. Expanded Duties II. 1 Credit.

Continues clinical training and practical experience in expanded function dental assisting duties as allowed by the Oregon Dental Practice Act. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 114, DA 115, DA 118, DA 125, DA 135, and DA 152.

DA 120. Dental Radiology I. 2 Credits.

Introduces the uses of digital and film radiographic images in dentistry. Includes the history of radiation discovery, physical and chemical properties of processing chemicals and film, biological effects of X-ray in tissues, and safety principles. Requirement: Admission to the Dental Assisting Program. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 110, DA 111, DA 116, DA 121, DA 130, DA 131, and DA 140A.

DA 121. Dental Radiology I (Lab). 2 Credits.

Provides an opportunity to practice radiographic techniques on manikins and correlate activities to the DA 120 lecture. Requirement: Admission to the Dental Assisting Program. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 110, DA 111, DA 116, DA 120, DA 130, DA 131, and DA 140A.

DA 122. Dental Radiology II. 1 Credit.

Continues the examination of the philosophy and principles of dental radiography with review and preparation for national and state certification examinations. Prerequisite/Concurrent: DA 112, DA 123, DA 132, DA 133, DA 142, DA 150, and DA 118.

DA 123. Dental Radiology II (Lab). 2 Credits.

Continues exploring the practice of radiographic techniques on manikins and clinic patients under direct supervision. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 112, DA 113, DA 118, DA 122, DA 132, DA 133, DA 142, and DA 150.

DA 125. Dental Radiology III (Lab). 2 Credits.

Provides advanced x-ray clinical experience including extra-oral and x-rays for children and edentulous patients. Includes radiographic experience during private practice internships. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 114, DA 115, DA 119, DA 135, and DA 152.

DA 130. Dental Materials I. 1 Credit.

Introduces dental materials and laboratory equipment used in the dental office. Covers the physical and chemical properties, manipulation, and uses of gypsum products, restorative materials, and impressions materials. Includes an overview of crown and bridge preparation procedures. Requires admission to the Dental Assisting Program. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 110, DA 111, DA 116, DA 120, DA 121, DA 131, DA 140A, and DA 117.

DA 131. Dental Materials I (Lab). 2 Credits.

Provides laboratory experience and skills development in dental assisting materials and laboratory equipment. Covers the proper and safe handling of dental materials including gypsum products, restorative materials, impressions materials, dental cements, dental bases and provisional crown fabrication during manipulation and application. Requirement: Admission to the Dental Assisting Program. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 110, DA 111, DA 116, DA 117, DA 120, DA 121, DA 130, and DA 140A.

DA 132. Dental Materials II. 1 Credit.

Covers intermediate concepts of dental materials. Includes the processes and materials used during the construction of fixed and removable prosthesis. Introduces dental materials used in various dental specialties. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 122, DA 113, DA 118, DA 122, DA 123, DA 133, DA 142, and DA 150.

DA 133. Dental Materials II (Lab). 2 Credits.

Covers intermediate laboratory skill development in dental assisting materials and laboratory equipment. Includes the processes and materials used during the construction of fixed and removable prosthesis. Introduces dental materials used in various dental specialties. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 112, DA 113, DA 118, DA 122, DA 123, DA 132, DA 142, and DA 150.

DA 135. Dental Materials III (Lab). 2 Credits.

Covers advanced laboratory skills development in dental assisting materials and laboratory equipment. Includes applying knowledge, technology, and skills from dental office externships. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 114, DA 115, DA 119, DA 125, and DA 152.

DA 140A. Integrated Basic Science I. 2 Credits.

Covers basic principles of oral anatomy plus study of tooth form and function. Introduces dental numbering systems and charting and some conditions manifested in the mouth (oral pathology). Prerequisite: Acceptance into the Dental Assisting program. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 110, DA 111, DA 116, DA 120, DA 121, DA 130, and DA 131.

DA 142. Integrated Basic Science III. 2 Credits.

Covers specialized study of the structures of the head and neck with emphasis on the oral cavity including study of Oral Pathology. Prerequisite: DA 140A. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 112, DA 113, DA 118, DA 122, DA 123, DA 132, DA 133, and DA 150.

DA 150. Dental Office Procedures I. 2 Credits.

Provides an overview of procedures associated with reception desk responsibilities and dental office management. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 112, DA 113, DA 122, DA 123, DA 132, DA 133, and DA 142.

DA 152. Dental Office Procedures II. 2 Credits.

Covers oral and written communication, computer skills and job search techniques related to dentistry. Recommended: typing/keyboarding skills. Prerequisite/concurrent: DA 114, DA 115, DA 119, DA 125, and DA 135.

DA 9406. Dental Assisting Practicum. 1-5 Credit.

Upgrading for dental assistants who have been out of the field for a prolonged period of time, or who feel their skills are out of date.