Jun 12, 2024  
2023-2024 Course Catalog 
2023-2024 Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


Dental Assistant, Diploma

Location(s): Ankeny

The Dental Assistant program prepares the student, as a member of the dental health team, to assist the dentist in all phases of dentistry. The program includes general and specialty dentistry, chairside procedures, radiology, laboratory and business office assisting.

An integral part of the educational program is clinical experience; this is provided by rotation through various dental facilities.

The program in dental assisting is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation [and has been granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements”]. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. The Commission’s web address is: http://www.ada.org/en/coda.

Note: Criminal background checks will be completed on each student. Criminal convictions or documented history of abuse may delay or prevent students from participating in clinical education experiences. Students unable to participate in clinical education will be unable to complete the Dental Assistant program.

Program Details

Pathway: Health Science & Fitness

More information on this Pathway.

Students start Fall semester

Program Entry Requirements

  1. Complete an application for admission.
  2. Satisfy the assessment requirement by obtaining a minimum ACCUPLACER Next Gen Reading score of 248 or a minimum ACT Reading score of 19.
  3. Obtain a minimum ACCUPLACER Next Gen Writing score of 254 or a minimum ACT Writing score of 19.
  4. Submit proof of high school graduation or GED prior to enrollment.
  5. High school biology or equivalent with a grade of “C” or better is required.
  6. Attend any required information/registration session.
  7. Keyboard skills of 35 NWPM with no more than five errors is strongly recommended.

Graduation Requirements

To earn a Dental Assistant diploma, a student must complete all coursework as prescribed and maintain a 2.0 grade point average.

Semester 3


Graduates may immediately sit for the National Board exam to become a Certified Dental Assistant.

Total Credits Required to Complete this Diploma - 47

Fixed Costs

Tuition……………………………………………………………………………………..$185.00 per credit

The costs for each program are estimates and subject to change.

Varied Costs

Costs Semester1 Semester 2 Semester3
Books (approximate) 1200 200 100
Uniforms/safety glasses/disposables   300   100
DANB & Iowa Dental board exam fees   370  
Transportation to clinical   150 225
Hepatitis vaccine   200    
Student Association Dues     30    
CPR Certification     90    
Physical/Dental exam   355    
Lab Fees, Dental Materials, Radiography, Principles   225 150 (Radiography Clinical Dental Assisting Lab Fees)  

Approximate total for the program: $12,390**

**Program entry requirements are not included in the total approximate cost.

The Dental Assistant program utilizes a background check service, www.certifiedbackground.com, to conduct criminal background/abuse checks and to track immunizations, health records and CPR certification for each student after the iracceptance into the program. Students are responsible for the cost of this service (approximately $58).

What Kind of Work Will You Do?

  • Assist dentist at chairside in delivering care to a patient. This may include seating the patients, adjusting the chair, placing a bib on the patient, operating the x-ray machine, developing and mounting x-rays, mixing filling materials and dental cements, and handing them to the dentist when they are needed.
  • May serve as a receptionist, office manager, bookkeeper, secretary, laboratory assistant or preventive assistant.
  • Might work for a specialist in the dental field such as an orthodontist who straightens teeth, an oral surgeon who removes teeth and performs other surgical procedures on the mouth, or a pedodontist who works on child patients only.
  • Perform intraoral functions as delegated by the dentist within the limits of the State Practice Act.
  • Sterilize instruments and pour plaster and stone models in the laboratory.
  • Infection control and hazardous waste management.

What Skills and Abilities Will You Need?

  • Knowledge of high school biology and ability to type 35 WPM is necessary to be successful.
  • Excellent attendance and promptness are necessary.
  • Perform activities in an organized and detailed manner.
  • Apply knowledge from the biological, physical and social sciences.
  • Take initiative in resolving patient care problems.
  • Communicate easily with patients and coworkers.
  • Good finger dexterity and eye/hand coordination.

What Else Should I Consider about this Diploma program?

  • You will have to put your fingers in the patient’s mouth.
  • Necessary physical and emotional stamina to meet demands of rigorous program.
  • Must provide own transportation to clinical sites.
  • Dealing with the diversity of patients’ personalities and dental problems is challenging and rewarding.
  • You may have to work some Saturdays and evenings.
  • Criminal background checks will be completed on each student. Criminal convictions or documented history of abuse may delay or prevent students from participating in clinical education experiences. Students unable to participate in clinical education will be unable to complete the Dental Assistant program.
  • Average starting salary $30,180 (2014-2015 Placement Report).

Program Competencies

  1. Understand the workplace basic skills of listening, writing, computing, problem solving, interpersonal relationships, and leadership
  2. Demonstrate the ability to operate and maintain equipment and instruments used in the dental office
  3. Communicate how anatomy and physiology, microbiology, oral pathology, pharmacology, and nutrition may affect the oral cavity
  4. Demonstrate four-handed dentistry
  5. Select and assemble proper procedural tray set-ups.
  6. Demonstrate ability to review  patient health history, and obtain vital signs
  7. Assist dentist with assessing patient needs and concerns.
  8. Document procedures, notes, medical information in patient record
  9. Practice appropriate patient management techniques
  10. Administer proper infection control protocols
  11. Utilize proper general and hazardous waste control measures
  12. Communicate effectively with patients and other healthcare/dental professionals
  13. Demonstrate the ability to be flexible and adaptable
  14. Employ office management organizational skills
  15. Maintain business office records
  16. Select and manipulate dental materials for proper use
  17. Maintain inventory control
  18. Perform radiographic techniques and safety measure
  19. Explain, recommend and demonstrate patient oral hygiene care/education
  20. Respond to medical emergencies which may occur in the dental setting
  21. Display time management techniques
  22. Demonstrate ethical conduct
  23. Recognize and support laws and regulations governing  dental professions in the state of Iowa

Nondiscrimination Statement

Des Moines Area Community College shall not engage in nor allow discrimination covered by law against any person, group or organization. This includes in its programs, activities, employment practices, or hiring practices, and harassment or discrimination based on race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, genetic information (in employment) and actual or potential parental, family or marital status. Veteran status in educational programs, activities, employment practices, or admission procedures is also included to the extent covered by law.

Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against may file a complaint through the College Discrimination Complaint Procedure. Complaint forms may be obtained from the Campus Provost’s office, the Academic Deans’ office, the Judicial Officer, or the EEO/AA Officer, Human Resources. ADA questions and concerns may be directed to the Section 504/ADA Coordinator at 2006 S. Ankeny Blvd, Bldg 6, Ankeny, IA 50023, phone 515/964-6857, dso@dmacc.edu. Title IX questions and concerns may be directed to the Title IX Coordinator at 2006 S. Ankeny Blvd, Bldg 1, Ankeny, IA 50023, phone 515/964-6216, Title9@dmacc.edu. Questions or complaints about this policy may be directed to the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, John C. Kluczysnki Federal Building, 230 S. Dearborn Street, 37th Floor, Chicago, IL 60604-7204, phone 312/730-1560, fax 312/730-1576, TDD 800-877-8339 Email OCR.Chicago@ed.gov.

DMACC offers career and technical programs in the following areas of study:
Agriculture, Natural and Environmental Science
Architecture, Engineering, and Construction
Arts, Design, and Visual Communication
Business, Management, and Marketing
Education, Public, and Human Services
Health Science
Hospitality and Culinary
Information Technology
Transportation & Logistics

Entrance requirements for specific programs can be found at https://www.dmacc.edu/pathways/.(2021)