Dental administration programs are offered by some 2-year community and vocational colleges for individuals interested in working in the front office of a dental practice. In addition to office skills, students take courses in special terminology, dental laws and dental anatomy and gain practical experience working in a dentist office. Some schools provide instruction in dental assistant procedures, such as instrument transfer and charting.
Course topics will include the following:
- Dental materials
- Lab procedures
- Infection control
- Medical insurance
List of Dental Administration Courses
Dental Terminology Course
Students learn to identify both primary and permanent teeth by number, name and position in the mouth. They are also taught how prefixes and suffixes are applied to basic terms to create the dental vocabulary, which is needed for recordkeeping, billing and communication with staff and patients.
Dental Anatomy and Physiology Course
This course surveys the human body, with a focus on the mouth, head and neck. In particular, students are expected to have an understanding of facial muscles, nerves and blood vessels as well as the structure and function of the sinuses, temporomandibular joint and pharynx.
Ethics and Law in Dentistry Course
The dental profession not only follows state and federal laws, but also a professional code of ethics. To become well-versed members of the dental community, students examine these parameters in detail through discussions that include the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) infection control guidelines, professional association ethical standards and case law studies.
Dental Office Bookkeeping Course
Banking processes, accounts receivable and payable, collections and payroll are among the topics covered. Students may be asked to create a virtual dentist office using QuickBooks or other software and to demonstrate the use of spreadsheets and 10-key operations.
Dental Office Procedures Course
Office procedures may be covered in a series of related courses, from beginning to advanced. Students first learn to use multiline phone systems, schedule appointments and manage patient recall. Filing and handling of patient records are also important basics. Next, students tackle the ins and outs of dental insurance and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Finally, advanced office operations are presented, including managing patient financial arrangements, marketing and creating office manuals. Some schools include bookkeeping within this series rather than offering a separate course.