Dental Assisting Program (Certificate)
About the Program
An educationally qualified Dental Assistant is responsible for working directly with the Dentist during the provision of patient treatment. Tasks include seating patients in the operatory, passing instruments to the Dentist during dental procedures, sterilizing instruments, taking impressions of teeth for study models, polishing clinical crowns, exposing and processing x-rays, providing assistance in the office with tasks such as scheduling patients, ordering supplies, etc. There are many specialized roles available for the formally trained dental assistant such as dental receptionist/business assistant, office manager, patient coordinator, chairside and expanded functions assistant, as well as a surgical or infection control assistant.
The Santa Fe College Dental Assisting program is an ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation certificate level program. The curriculum includes basic dental sciences and didactic theory in current concepts of dentistry. Time commitment to classes and clinics averages 37 hours per week. Students gain clinical experience in the Santa Fe Dental Clinic, University of Florida College of Dentistry, as well as other institutional and private facilities. Program graduates are eligible to take the National Certification Examination sponsored by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Upon completion of the program, graduates are certified in all legally delegable expanded functions permitted by the Florida Law. Consistently, one-hundred percent (100%) of the students who complete the program are employed in the profession or continuing their educational goals.
The Dental Assisting program also has:
- A career ladder option in which Assisting courses count toward the Dental Hygiene degree
Santa Fe College initiated the Dental Assisting program in 1970 and added a Dental Hygiene program in 1977. Both programs have enjoyed full accreditation from the American Dental Association since inception. The Dental Programs have received varying levels of Federal funding throughout their history including Special Improvements in Allied Health, and, Expanded Functions for Dental Auxiliaries.
Instructional efforts are progressive and innovative including the evolution of a career ladder for entry into the Dental Hygiene Bridge Program along with multiple dental specialty rotations. Dental Assisting is a 10 month certificate program. Dental Assisting Program entry availability and requirements are explained in the information packet link located at the top of the page or on the Health Sciences Counseling Office web page.
Graduates from Santa Fe's Dental Assisting Programs are employed across the United States in private practices, public health facilities, educational institutions, dental related research, dental insurance companies, and sales corporations.
The philosophies of the program are as follows:
- To prepare students to assume the responsibilities of a health care professional and co-therapist in the practice of dentistry.
- To provide instruction which develops competencies in all of the professional services required of a Dental Assistant and Hygienist and prepare students to continue to develop and maintain professional competencies.
- To instill in students a commitment to provide quality services to all patients without discrimination.
- To stimulate interest and encourage students to participate in the development of the professions of Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene, through continuing education, research, and involvement with the professional organizations.
- To nurture the development of ethical and professional behaviors.
- To provide an atmosphere where growth and development flourishes and mutual respect exists between faculty and students participating together in the learning process.
- To provide curricula content which contains the most relevant, current, and accurate theoretical and clinical knowledge.
- To sequence curricula to allow for the most logical progression of content presentation, learning, and clinical skill development.
- To structure curricula to utilize a case-based teaching format, thereby facilitating the transfer of didactic material to clinical practice.
- To ensure that the curriculam provide learning experiences which reflect and meet the criteria of national boards/certifications and state regulatory agencies.
- To strive to meet community and individual needs through innovative curriculum development.
- To recognize the continuously changing needs of society for dental services, and to prepare the student to provide needed services regardless of the patients' age, sex, race, national origin, religion, marital status, social or economic status, and physical or mental disability.
- To encourage faculty and students to demonstrate behaviors which reflect the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct.