Usually, when we go to a dental appointment, it’s for our regular teeth cleaning. At least twice a year, the dental hygienist cleans our teeth. However, when the appointment includes procedures such as fillings, tooth pulls, or placement of crowns, you will meet the dental assistant. This is an important role in dentistry – and one that takes specialized training. In the Miami, FL area, students can earn a diploma in the dental assistant program at The Praxis Institute, with campuses in Miami and Hialeah, FL. Here, we discuss how long it could take a prospective student to become a dental assistant.
How Much Education Is Needed in a Dental Assistant Program?
The amount of education required to become a dental assistant varies by state regulations. Some states allow dental assistants to be trained via on-the-job training under the supervision of one dentist. Others require graduation from an accredited educational program, some of which may take two years to complete.
At The Praxis Institute, the dental assistant program with expanded functions can be completed in 11 months. By earning a diploma or degree, graduates are qualified to work in a variety of healthcare settings, or even advance to specialized training. Furthermore, the exposure and experience gained in educational internships and externships can add hands-on skills and lead to greater employability for students.
The Praxis Institute offers students in the Miami area education and healthcare training that prepares them to take the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) certification exam. The knowledge required for this test includes the areas of infection control, radiation health and safety, and anatomy. In addition to these subjects, dental assistant program students learn dental chairside assisting techniques, dental laboratory competencies and skills, and administrative procedures. Students also participate in a valuable externship, where students work in a dental office for a minimum of 120 hours.
How Much Training Is Needed to Become a Dental Assistant?
Students who have performed internships or externships during their healthcare training may be ready to jump into their new roles right away. However, each dental office is run slightly differently, and dentists have preferences in their use of tools, or how they perform procedures. There are also quite a few specializations in the field of dentistry, including oral surgeons, orthodontists, endodontists, and prosthodontists. Some dentists specialize in pediatric patients, as well as other specific patient groups.
In other words, there will be training required for new graduates of dental assistant programs, whether they are becoming accustomed to the individual style of the dentist who employs them or developing skills of a subspecialty within the field of dentistry.
What Are the Typical Duties of a Dental Assistant?
Dental assistants play a key role in dental care. They make sure patients are as comfortable as possible in the dentist’s chair. The sterilization of dental instruments and work surfaces is crucial to the practice of dentistry, and this is another area of responsibility for dental assistants. They work hand-in-hand with dentists during sensitive surgeries and procedures, assisting both the dentist and the patient for maximum efficiency and the best outcomes. They routinely perform X-rays and other imaging techniques, as well as use their skills in laboratory work to form molds of teeth for crowns or implants.
There are also many administrative tasks that dental assistants handle, including scheduling appointments and taking care of billing procedures. Students at The Praxis Institute receive the education and training needed to step into the role of a dental assistant.
Dental Assistant Program Advantages at The Praxis Institute
Students enrolled in the dental assistant program at The Praxis Institute can take advantage of schedule flexibility in the program. For example, all the theory components in the curriculum are offered online. Through distance learning technology, students can learn these modules without coming to the campus locations in the Miami area. The remaining laboratory and hands-on practice elements of the program are offered in classrooms.
Because The Praxis Institute’s Dental Assistant Program is accepted by the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB), students are eligible to apply for the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) certification exam upon graduation. This key certification allows graduates to perform many of the key functions of a dental assistant, such as:
- Taking and recording a patient’s blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration rate, and oral temperature
- Taking intraoral and extraoral radiographs
- Making temporary crowns and bridges
- Making night guards and bleaching trays
- Applying topical anesthetic
- Placing and removing periodontal or surgical dressings
Students also complete an externship at a dental office or facility in the area, allowing them to gain practical experience in a medical setting. With competitive pricing and a thorough curriculum, the dental assistant program at The Praxis Institute offers students healthcare training for this high-demand career.
Apply to The Praxis Institute
If you are intrigued by the idea of working in the field of dentistry, explore the dental assistant program offered by The Praxis Institute at campuses in Miami and Hialeah, FL. With financial aid opportunities for those who qualify, career services for students, and expert faculty, students receive healthcare training that prepares them for a fulfilling career as dental assistants. Contact us today.