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Career Diploma - Dental Assistant

The Dental Assistant Career Diploma Program at Penn Foster College is designed to teach students both clinical and dental office procedures and techniques to prepare them to work in this field. Read on to get more detailed information about this online program.

Official Program Name:

Dental Assistant Career Diploma

School Offering Program:

Penn Foster College

Program Level:

Career Diploma

Program Description:

Details about dental materials, specialties, terminology, and office administration procedures are among those covered in Penn Foster College's Dental Assistant Career Diploma program. Course topics likely to be addressed include tooth structure and types of teeth, preventive techniques, the cavity classification system, dental instruments and their uses, common dental emergencies, dental x-ray procedures, and sterilization and disinfection practices. Two dental materials courses discuss amalgam, impression materials, inlays, bite registration, and composite material, while a series of dental specialty courses focus on endodontics, periodontics, pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, prosthodontics, and oral and maxillofacial surgery. Some courses address the office aspects of dental assisting and cover filing and bookkeeping systems, patient recall and follow-up, customer service, and the elements of the Practice-Web Dental Software program such as appointment scheduling, payment arrangements, Perio Chart creation, patient account management, and insurance claim processing.

Program Materials Supplied by Penn Foster College:

Students of the Dental Assistant Career Diploma program are supplied with such learning aids as diagrams, mixes, gloves, mouth mirror, rubber material, cotton rolls, bur samples, and air/water syringe and evacuator tips; after graduating, students receive a copy of the textbook Complete Review of Dental Assisting. An online library, career guidance, access to student services via e-mail, phone, and message board, and an online community are also offered.

Learning Format:


Financial Aid:

Penn Foster offers low tuition with 0% interest and affordable monthly payments.

Tuition, Financial Aid & Start Dates

Since every student is different, there isn't a "one size fits all" for school information. Start dates and tuition often vary between selected programs, and financial aid opportunities are unique to each student's circumstances. Complete the form to the right to get the most up-to-date and accurate information based on your selected program and circumstances.

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Required Courses for a Dental Assistant Career Diploma:

Program and course requirements are subject to change. Contact Penn Foster College to confirm the most accurate information before enrolling in a program.

  • Starting Your Program
  • Introduction to Dentistry and the Dental Assistant
  • Dental Terminology and Anatomy
  • Preventive Dentistry and Nutrition
  • Cavity Classification and Charting
  • Dental Law and Ethics
  • Dental Operatory: Patients, Instrumentation, Moisture Control
  • Disease Transmission, Pathology, and Dental Emergencies
  • Infection Control
  • OSHA Regulations
  • Radiology 1
  • Radiology 2
  • Pharmacology and Anesthesiology
  • Dental Materials, Part 1
  • Dental Materials, Part 2
  • Dental Specialties 1: Endodontics/Periodontics
  • Dental Specialties 2: Pediatric Dentistry/Orthodontics
  • Dental Specialties 3: Prosthodontics/Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Communicating in the Dental Office
  • Business Administration for the Dental Assistant
  • Becoming a Professional
  • Practice Management Software

Post-Graduation Opportunities

Furthering Your Education:

In many cases, a diploma could be adequate to begin working as a dental assistant; however, some graduates of the Dental Assistant Career Diploma program might enroll in an associate's degree program. They would typically enter an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting program, which could offer further studies in dental anatomy, dental practice management, and dental materials. A degree might be necessary for those who aspire to become dental office managers or who simply wish to expand their skills in dental assisting.

Career Paths:

Those awarded Penn Foster College's Dental Assistant Career Diploma might have developed the clinical and clerical skills required to become a dental assistant. Graduates could seek to fill this role in dental offices, dental clinics, oral surgery practices, or group dental offices. They might assist dentists with patients, such as preparing trays or materials, taking x-rays, and educating patients on proper dental hygiene, and oversee office responsibilities including answering the telephone, setting appointments, filing records, and entering patient information into electronic records systems.

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