Dental Assisting

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The Dental Assisting curriculum prepares individuals to assist the dentist in the delivery of dental treatment and to function as integral members of the dental team while performing chairside and related office and laboratory procedures.

Course work includes instruction in general studies, biomedical sciences, dental sciences, clinical sciences, and clinical practice. A combination of lecture, laboratory, and clinical experiences provide students with knowledge in infection/hazard control, radiography, dental materials, preventive dentistry, and clinical procedures.

Graduates may be eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board Examination to become Certified Dental Assistants. As a Dental Assistant II, defined by the Dental Laws of North Carolina, graduates work in dental offices and other related areas.

The WCC Dental Assisting program has been granted the Accreditation Status of Approval Without Reporting Requirements by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

Learning Outcomes

  • Apply key concepts of dentistry.
  • Utilize standards of infection and hazard control.
  • Produce radiographs of diagnostic quality.
  • Perform clinical supportive treatments and dental laboratory procedures.
  • Model professional behaviors, ethics, and appearance.

Contact Information

Image of Jennifer Hastings
Jennifer Hastings, MA,CDA
Lead Instructor - Dental Assisting
Phone: 336-838-6253


Course Requirements

    Fall Semester
    • ACA 115 Success & Study Skills

      This course provides an orientation to the campus resources and academic skills necessary to achieve educational objectives. Emphasis is placed on an exploration of facilities and services, study skills, library skills, self-assessment, wellness, goal-setting, and critical thinking. Upon completion, students should be able to manage their learning experiences to successfully meet educational goals.

    • BIO 106 Intro to Anatomy/Physiology/Microbiology

      This course covers the fundamental and principle concepts of human anatomy and physiology and microbiology. Topics include an introduction to the structure and function of cells, tissues, and human organ systems, and an overview of microbiology, epidemiology, and control of microorganisms. Upon completion, students should be able to identify structures and functions of the human body and describe microorganisms and their significance in health and disease.

    • DEN 101 Preclinical Procedures

      This course provides instruction in procedures for the clinical dental assistant as specified by the North Carolina Dental Practice Act. Emphasis is placed on orientation to the profession, infection control techniques, instruments, related expanded functions, and diagnostic, operative, and specialty procedures. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate proficiency in clinical dental assisting procedures.

    • DEN 110 Orofacial Anatomy

      This course introduces the structures of the head, neck, and oral cavity. Topics include tooth morphology, head and neck anatomy, histology, and embryology. Upon completion, students should be able to relate the identification of normal structures and development to the practice of dental assisting and dental hygiene.

    • DEN 111 Infection/Hazard Control

      This course introduces the infection and hazard control procedures necessary for the safe practice of dentistry. Topics include microbiology, practical infection control, sterilization and monitoring, chemical disinfectants, aseptic technique, infectious diseases, OSHA standards, and applicable North Carolina laws. Upon completion, students should be able to understand infectious diseases, disease transmission, infection control procedures, biohazard management, OSHA standards, and applicable North Carolina laws.

    • DEN 112 Dental Radiography

      This course provides a comprehensive view of the principles and procedures of radiology as they apply to dentistry. Topics include techniques in exposing, processing, and evaluating radiographs, as well as radiation safety, quality assurance, and legal issues. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate proficiency in the production of diagnostically acceptable radiographs using appropriate safety precautions.

    Spring Semester
    • COM 120 Intro to Interpersonal Communication

      This course introduces the practices and principles of interpersonal communication in both dyadic and group settings. Emphasis is placed on the communication process, perception, listening, self-disclosure, speech apprehension, ethics, nonverbal communication, conflict, power, and dysfunctional communication relationships. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate interpersonal communication skills, apply basic principles of group discussion, and manage conflict in interpersonal communication situations.

    • DEN 102 Dental Materials

      This course provides instruction in identification, properties, evaluation of quality, principles, and procedures related to manipulation and storage of operative and specialty dental materials. Emphasis is placed on the understanding and safe application of materials used in the dental office and laboratory. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate proficiency in the laboratory and clinical application of routinely used dental materials.

    • DEN 103 Dental Sciences

      This course is a study of oral pathology, pharmacology, and dental office emergencies. Topics include oral pathological conditions, dental therapeutics, and management of emergency situations. Upon completion, students should be able to recognize abnormal oral conditions, identify classifications, describe actions and effects of commonly prescribed drugs, and respond to medical emergencies.

    • DEN 104 Dental Health Education

      This course covers the study of preventive dentistry to prepare dental assisting students for the role of dental health educator. Topics include etiology of dental diseases, preventive procedures, and patient education theory and practice. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate proficiency in patient counseling and oral health instruction in private practice or public health settings.

    • DEN 105 Practice Management

      This course provides a study of principles and procedures related to management of the dental practice. Emphasis is placed on maintaining clinical and financial records, patient scheduling, and supply and inventory control. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate fundamental skills in dental practice management.

    • DEN 106 Clinical Practice I

      This course is designed to provide experience assisting in a clinical setting. Emphasis is placed on the application of principles and procedures of four-handed dentistry and laboratory and clinical support functions. Upon completion, students should be able to utilize classroom theory and laboratory and clinical skills in a dental setting.

    Summer Term
    • DEN 107 Clinical Practice II

      This course is designed to increase the level of proficiency in assisting in a clinical setting. Emphasis is placed on the application of principles and procedures of four-handed dentistry and laboratory and clinical support functions. Upon completion, students should be able to combine theoretical and ethical principles necessary to perform entry-level skills including functions delegable to a DA II.

    • PSY 150 General Psychology

      This course provides an overview of the scientific study of human behavior. Topics include history, methodology, biopsychology, sensation, perception, learning, motivation, cognition, abnormal behavior, personality theory, social psychology, and other relevant topics. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the science of psychology.

    Technical Standards

    The Dental Assisting program technical standards have been developed to inform students of the nonacademic essential functions of the program and profession. Examples are not all inclusive.

    Standard Essential Function Examples
    Oral / Written
    • Skills sufficient to communicate information and ideas so others will understand
    • Skills sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds
    • Document relevant patient information (manual or via computer) using correct terminology and spelling
    • Interpret doctor’s orders
    • Record patient responses to treatments
    • Establish rapport with patients, families, and other health care providers
    Mobility / Motor Skills
    • Motor skills sufficient to move the hands and use hands to grasp or manipulate objects
    • Mobility sufficient to perform physical activities that require considerable use of arms and legs and moving the whole body
    • Utilize instruments with patients
    • Maneuver in confined spaces
    • Physical activities may include:
      • Bending
      • Stooping
      • Lifting
      • Reaching
    Physical Strength and Stamina
    • Ability to stand for extended periods of time
    • Ability sufficient to lift and carry up to 30 pounds
    • Stand and walk up to 8-hour shifts
    • Lift and move equipment

    • Sight
    • Sound
    • Taste
    • Touch
    • Smell
    • Visual skills sufficient to see details at close range and manipulate equipment
    • Listening skills sufficient to communicate with others
    • Ability to tolerate various odors
    • Observe patient responses to treatment
    • Identify various instruments
    • Hear equipment/emergency alarms
    • Work with patients with poor hygiene
    Environmental / Occupational Exposure
    • Exposure to communicable and infectious diseases, secretions, blood, and bodily fluids
    • Exposure to environmental hazards
    • Exposure to X-ray radiation
    • Ability to work under high stress situations and respond promptly
    • Possible exposure to HIV, hepatitis, etc.
    • Exposure to X-ray radiation, medicinal preparations, latex, and toxic substances
    • Respond appropriately in emergency to maintain patient safety and care
    Field or Industry Professional Standards
    • Criminal background check
    • CPR certification

    Disability Services Statement

    Wilkes Community College is an ADA compliant institution. WCC does not discriminate based on a disability in the admissions process or in access to its programs, services, and/or activities for qualified individuals who meet eligibility requirements. WCC will provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with documented disabilities who are eligible to receive or participate in college programs, services, and/or activities. If a student believes that he/she cannot meet one or more of a program’s essential functions without accommodations, the student is encouraged to disclose this to Disability Services as soon as possible.

    Admissions Information