Banner with school logo and school name and motto
Banner with school logo and school name and motto
school logo

2024 – 2025

Dental Assisting 

Joanne Romanelli, Academy B Administrator – Ext. 267

Course & Program of Studies

Statement of Purpose

The Dental Assistant program provides students with an overview of dental assisting and gives them experience in the dental field. It provides the educational background and vocational skills necessary for entry-level positions as dental assistants. The skills of a Dental Assistant are diverse and challenging with a wide range of tasks that require interpersonal as well as technical skills. Students receive training in basic and expanded dental functions. The program includes classroom theory and clinical practice. Additional time is spent gaining experience in a variety of dental offices. Sophomore students participate in a community service project by bringing their knowledge to various preschools.

Students also acquire administrative skills; communication skills; and knowledge of dental terminology, anatomy, dental materials, infection control and radiology. The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry has approved the school’s radiography course as an acceptable pathway toward state radiography certification. Students who complete the course and pass a hands-on written exam are recognized as radiography-certified dental assistants. Qualified students receive this certification at the end of their junior year. Students also become CPR certified for the Health Care Provider from the American Heart Association and complete the Five Hour OSHA on-line program.

Upon completion of the program, qualified dental assistant students are certified in Radiography and are able to take the Dental Assisting National Board Examination for Radiation Health and Safety and Infection Control. This program prepares students for employment as dental assistants and for post-secondary education.

Dental students working

Exploratory Program

Freshmen Exploratory is a program that provides students with a basic overview of the dental profession and how a Dental Assistant plays an important role in the care of patients. Students will learn entry level hands-on skills (competencies) such as identifying permanent teeth, and anatomical tooth structures using correct terminology. Clinical procedures will include seating and dismissing the dental patient and instrument identification. Obtaining alginate impressions, pouring and trimming gypsum models for the fabrication of study models will take place in the dental laboratory.

Dental students working

Freshman Program

The Freshmen Dental Assistant Course is a half year program. Students are exposed to the dental profession and importance is placed on becoming part of the dental team. Instruction focuses on the student introduction to basic chairside assisting procedures. Topics covered include greeting, seating and dismissing the patient, preparation of the treatment room, administering disclosing agents, providing oral hygiene instruction and obtaining vital signs. The student pays close attention to OSHA guidelines within the treatment area, and will demonstrate the principles of infection control including hand washing, donning and removing personal protective equipment, use of chemical disinfectants, ultrasonic cleaners, sterilizers and instrument storage.

The dental assistant student identifies tooth anatomy and uses the universal method of tooth identification. Dental charting of conditions affecting the permanent and deciduous dentitions using electronic patient management software will be performed in both shop and administrative skills. The student will practice and promote good oral hygiene and become knowledgeable about the oral disease process and importance of
practicing good nutrition.

Sophomore Program

The sophomore dental assistant course is a 90 day program, which provides the student with the knowledge and practical skills required to perform dental assistant functions. The student will learn to administer chairside assistance for the dentist in the transferring of instruments and proper maintenance of the operating site. These tasks include proper suction tip placement, dental dam application and use of dry-angles and cotton rolls. Students will also place and remove various types of dental matrices. The student is trained to support the dentist as well as the patient in the treatment room. The student practices the current concepts of four-handed dentistry and exhibits practical knowledge of dental equipment and its use. Students will practice routine care and maintenance and maintain and understand the importance of universal precautions to protect patients and themselves.

The dental assistant student identifies dental equipment and instruments for their use, care and sterilization or disinfection. Students will learn to prepare dental materials for restorative procedures such as composite and amalgam restorations. Alginate impressions, obtaining bite registrations and pouring gypsum laboratory models will be performed. Students will have the opportunity to make custom fitted mouth guards and have experience using a variety of laboratory equipment.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have met the standards set by the American Dental Assistants Association and the Vocational Technical Education Frameworks. Students will also prepare for the Infection Control certification exam administered by the Dental Assistant National Board.

Sophomore Related Class 1

Infection Control

The infection control course offered sophomore year as a part of the dental assisting curriculum. Each unit of study will include the introduction of new key terms, chapter learning objectives, lecture and assessments. Each unit will address key components of infection control including microbiology, and disease prevention specific to dentistry, national guidelines, recommendations and regulations affecting the dental practice. Additional components will include environmental health and safety, and office communications regarding infection control techniques in the dental office.

Sophomore Related Class 2

Dental Assistant Medical Terminology

A dental assisting medical terminology course typically covers the fundamental terminology used in dentistry and related healthcare fields. The course aims to familiarize students with terminology specific to dental anatomy, procedures, instruments, and conditions. Topics may include the structure and function of the oral cavity, dental materials, diagnostic procedures, and common dental ailments. Students learn to effectively communicate with dentists, patients, and other healthcare professionals by understanding and using accurate terminology. Additionally, they may gain insights into medical abbreviations and symbols commonly used in dental records and communications. The course often combines lectures, demonstrations, interactive activities, and hands-on practice to reinforce learning.

Junior Program

Students are instructed in the most advanced skills used by a dental assistant, with special emphasis on skills used in the dental specialty practices and the dental laboratory. The students are prepared to become proficient in placing, exposing, processing and mounting both traditional and digital radiographs. Instruction is also focused on oral communication, administrative assistant skills, professionalism, refining basic skills, and direct patient care.

By the completion of the course, students are expected to demonstrate mastery in the areas of patient care and advanced dental assistant skills. This course provides students with the technical skills required to succeed in any dental office setting. Upon successful completion of this course, students will have met the standards set by the American Dental Assistants Association and the Vocational Technical Education Frameworks. Students will also be preparing for the Radiology Health and Safety exam administered by the Dental Assistant National Board.

Junior Related 1

Head & Neck Anatomy

A head and neck anatomy course for dental assisting typically covers the fundamental structures and systems within the head and neck region relevant to dental practice. Course includes basic terminology, anatomical planes, and directional terms used in describing structures of the head and neck, cranial nerve functions, and distributions and study of the skull, including bones of the cranium, facial bones, and their landmarks important for dental procedures.

Junior Related 2

Dental Radiology

Dental Radiology is a course offered to the dental assistant student during the junior year. The course will prepare the student to take the Radiology Health and Safety component of the Dental Assisting National Board examination. Students will study all aspects of dental radiology including the history, physics of radiology, function of the x-ray machine, safety, intraoral and extraoral exposure techniques, radiation biology, film placement and processing, mounting, traditional film and processing solutions, film placement and angulation errors and corrections, as well as film processing errors and corrections.

Senior Program

Dental students are now proficient in the most advanced skills used by a dental assistant. The students are proficient in exposing radiographs. Students participate in the program’s clinical placement rotation, including all dental specialties to further their skills in a professional learning environment. Students are eligible by meeting the guidelines of the Massachusetts Department of Education, interviews at dental offices and participating in the school’s Cooperative Education program. The student is then gainfully employed while having a strong learning environment to further refine their dental assistant skills.

Senior Related 1

Tooth Morphology

Advanced Tooth Morphology is a course offered in the senior year curriculum of the Dental Assistant Program. This course will prepare the dental assistant student to identify normal, individual tooth anatomy and function, as well as abnormalities in individual teeth. Students will study the embryonic stages of tooth development and typical tooth eruption dates of the permanent dentition.

Senior Related 2

Dental Law & Ethics / Nutrition & Dental Health – Elective

Dental law & Ethics course will encompass a broad overview of legal and ethical principles relevant to the dental profession. This curriculum aims to educate students on the legal framework governing dental practice, as well as the ethical considerations that guide professional conduct.

The Nutrition & Dental Health delves into the fundamental principles of nutrition and dental health, equipping students with essential knowledge to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The curriculum will explore the relationship between diet, oral health, and overall well-being. Topics include the importance of balanced nutrition, understanding food groups, dietary guidelines, and the impact of nutrients on dental health. Additionally, students learn about common dental issues, preventive measures, oral hygiene practices, and the significance of regular dental check-ups.

Dental students working


  • Radiology Health and Safe certification with Dental Assisting National Board
  • Infection Control Certification with Dental Assisting National Board
  • Students also become CPR certified for the Health Care
  • Provider from the American Heart Association
  • Students also complete OSHA 10

Career Opportunities

  • Dental Assistant Orthodontic Assistant 
  • Dental Receptionist/Administrative  Assistant 
  • Dental Laboratory Technician

Post-Secondary Education

  • Dental Hygienist 
  • Dental Public Health Hygienist 
  • Dentist 
  • Dental Office Manager