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Dental Assisting

Dental Assisting

Dental Assisting is one of the fastest-growing careers in Massachusetts. The Northeast program offers a comprehensive curriculum aligned with the MA DESE Dental Assisting framework. Students are given the opportunity to gain knowledge of administrative and clinical dental procedures through academic and practical instruction. The students receive clinical experience at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. Upon successful completion of their rigorous curriculum, students are prepared to take the Dental Assisting National Board certification exams in radiology health and safety, infection control, and National Entry Level Dental Assistant.

Graduate students have been employable by:

  • Dental Assistant
  • Orthodontic Assistant
  • Surgical Dental Assistant
  • Dental Products Sales Representative
  • Insurance Claims: Medical Records

Technical and Higher Education Majors 

  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Laboratory Technician
  • Dentist
  • Expanded Functions Dental Auxiliary

College and University Programs

  • Middlesex Community College
  • Regis College
  • University of Bridgeport
  • University of New England
  • Bristol Community College
  • Cape Cod Community College
  • Quinsigamond Community College
  • Springfield Technical Community College
  • NH Technical Institute (NHTI)
  • Forsyth Dental Hygiene Program/Mass. College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences MCPHS

Career Advancement

Some dental assistants become office managers, dental-assisting instructors, dental product sales representatives, or insurance claims processors for dental insurance companies. Others go back to school to become dental hygienists. Dental Assisting is one of the fastest-growing professions and for many is a rewarding life-long career.  Upon graduation from this Chapter 74 approved career-technical program, students are eligible to register with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry as a Registered Dental Assistant.

Post-Grad Certifications

Certification is available through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and is recognized or required in more than 30 States. Certification is an acknowledgment of an assistant’s qualifications and professional competence.  Candidates qualify for the exam by having 3,500 hours of experience as a dental assistant and current CPR certification.

Connections to Work and Higher Education

Weekly externship at Tufts School of Dental Medicine while in Dental Assisting program at Northeast:  working with the undergraduate and postgraduate dental students includes clinical concentration: chairside dental assisting, radiology, patient preparation, expanded functions, and clerical concentration: introduction to dental office management.

Industry Affiliations: SKILLS USA, American Dental Assistants Association

Industry Certifications Available in High School

  • American Heart Association: BLS, CPR, AED Certification
  • American Red Cross: First Aid
  • OSHA for Health Care: Industry Certification
  • Dental Assistant National Board (DANB): National Entry Level Dental Assistant Certification
  • Dental Assistant National Board (DANB): Infection Control Certification (preparation for exam)
  • Dental Assistant National Board (DANB): Radiology Certification (preparation for exam)
  • Massachusetts Registered Dental Assistant: RDA (may register upon graduation)

Grade 9 Exploratory – Course #DAX

Freshman students are introduced to the Dental Assistant profession. They are exposed to clinical and administrative duties of the dental assistant. Dental career opportunities are explored. Skills include safety, clinical, clerical, and dental laboratory competencies. The freshman students study business math as it relates to operating a dental office. This daily class helps prepare the student for the MCAS exam. Students study the identification of teeth and nutrition as it relates to dental health.

Grade 9 Shop – Course #DAXF-16

Students begin their dental assisting curriculum during the 4th quarter. Competencies include roles and responsibilities of the dental assistant, introduction to dentistry, basic clerical and chair side procedures.

Grade 10 Shop – Course #DA2

Sophomore year the dental assisting student will learn both clinical and clerical skills. The clinical aspect is an introduction to infection control procedures, patient exam preparation, and basic operatory management. The clerical focus is on appointment book scheduling, inventory control, and insurance forms. Sophomore students participate in community service by providing Dental Health Education programs to Northeast’s Preschoolers.  Students complete the OSHA Training program.

Grade 10 Related – Course #DA2R

GRADE 10 RELATED- COURSE# DA2R    Sophomore students study dental charting, oral anatomy, tooth morphology, tooth histology, tooth embryology and microbiology.

Grade 11 Shop – Course #DA3

Junior year the dental assisting student will focus on restorative materials, dental instruments used in general dentistry, as well as procedures and techniques used in today’s offices. Students are introduced to analog and digital radiology; competencies are developed in exposing, developing, and mounting x-rays. Three days a week students will experience an unpaid supervised externship at Tufts School of Dental Medicine. The students receive certification in American Heart Association CPR/AED and Red Cross First Aid.  Junior students participate in community service by providing Dental Education programs to local elementary school children.

Grade 11 Related – Course #DA3R

Junior students study head and neck anatomy and the theory and safety practices of radiography.  Juniors also begin work on their Junior/Senior Project.

Grade 12 Shop – Course #DA4

The senior year student concentrates on expanded functions, radiology health and safety and nutrition. Students are given lab practice and written assessments to prepare them for the national credential examinations. Senior year students continue their clinical experience three days per week at Tufts School of Dental Medicine. If eligible, students may participate in Cooperative Education. The administrative concentration is on writing, resume writing, and basic accounting procedures.

Grade 12 Related – Course #DA4R

Senior students study all 9 dental specialties, medical/dental emergencies and pharmacology. Students complete and present their Senior Project.

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