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Dental Assistant Training: A Day in the Life

Students in the Dental Assistant program at Brightwood College receive hands-on training and practical knowledge each day in order to pursue a career in dental assisting. They split their time between traditional classroom settings and hands-on learning labs, where they get to put their knowledge into practice.

Classes are designed to help students develop the skills local employers are looking for, such as performing administrative duties and assisting chairside. Dental Assistant students study under instructors with real-world experience in the field, giving students a unique insight into the top skills and tools necessary to excel as a dental assistant.

In hands-on labs, students learn a variety clinical skills, including how to take impressions of teeth, assist dentists and control infection. Students also undergo training with each dental instrument, so they learn how instruments function and how and when to use them.

After completing classroom training, students practice on dental dummies in the lab. Dental dummies allow students to hone their skills by practicing on life-like teeth. Toward the end of the program in more advanced classes and labs, students may practice on fellow classmates.

Clinical dental assistant skills that students learn include:

  • Assisting chairside

  • Handling dental instruments

  • Controlling infection

  • Planning treatment in eight specialty areas

  • Handling dental emergencies

  • Identifying structures of the oral cavity

  • Teaching patients about good oral hygiene

  • Understanding dental instrument functions

Dental assisting administrative duties students learn include:

  • Taking medical histories

  • Operating computer software

  • Scheduling appointments

  • Making calls

  • Ordering supplies and materials

  • Filing insurance information

  • Processing payments

Class times and labs are designed to make it possible for dental assisting students to balance school with other aspects of their life, like maintaining a part-time job or having a family. Once students complete their classroom and lab training, they move onto an externship.

During their externship, students are supervised by a dentist or dental professional and work in a real workplace setting.

Interested in a career as a dental assistant? Learn more about the Dental Assistant program at Brightwood College.

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Brightwood College does not guarantee employment or advancement.