Dental Assisting School Isn’t the End of the Road!

What’s next?

So, you’ve completed a dental assisting training program and you are now a Dental Assistant – what’s next? Well, you have many options. Dental assistant school is by not the end of the road.

Now that you are working as a dental assistant, there are advanced courses you can take to expand your scope of practice. Two of the most common certifications are coronal polishing and dental sealants.

Coronal polishing is perfect if you are doing assisted hygiene or working in a pediatric office. C As you already know, coronal polishing is a procedure used to remove stain and plaque from the enamel surfaces of the teeth after the removal of hard deposits such as calculus from the tooth surfaces. It is nice if a hygienist is running behind. that the dental assistant can jump in and polish and floss for the patient at the end of the appointment. It is important to note that a dental assistant isn’t taking the place of a hygienist in a pediatric setting and only polishing on kids.

A dental assistant cannot scale or remove hard deposits but a dentist or hygienist can. Even children get hard deposits and if not removed can lead to early gum disease. Coronal polishing is a wonderful certification to have. It will make you very marketable or help you get that raise you deserve.

This is typically a continuing education course available at many OceanPointe Dental Assisting Academies that you can sign up for.

Dental sealant certification allows an assistant to be independent and also more productive for the office. It is a great certification to have. Dental sealants help protect a tooth from a cavity. It does not involve any drilling. It is a coating that flows into the deep grooves of a tooth to prevent plaque and bacteria from nestling into these areas causing a cavity. They are most common for children between the ages of 6 and 12. This is because their new adult molars start coming in.

A dental sealant is a 3-step process that requires keeping the tooth very dry prior to applying the sealant in order for it to be effective and successful. It is important that a dentist check the teeth to be sure there is no start of a cavity or discoloration on the tooth that could lead to a cavity prior to application. You never want to seal in decay because it will mushroom under the surface of the sealant leading to a large cavity for the child. This is typically a continuing education course available at many OceanPointe Dental Assisting Academies that you can sign up for.

Other certifications available that you can get without being state board certified include nitrous oxide monitoring. This allows the doctor to leave a patient on nitrous oxide to do an exam on another patient. Someone must be in the room with a patient at all times if they are on nitrous oxide and having this certification allows you to stay in the room by yourself with the patient and supervise them. Nitrous oxide is breathed in through the nose and is used to help a nervous patient relax during a procedure. It is nice because the patient can drive her/himself to and from the appointment as it is completely out of their system at the end of the procedure.

You can go on to become an EFDA or Expanded Functions Dental Assistant taking a State Dental Board approved course. You should gain at least 1-2 years of chairside experience before taking the course. OPDA will be offering an approved EFDA courses in 2023 at various academy locations. An EFDA can place fillings in the mouth and makes around $30.00/hr. starting out. Many assistants choose to go this route due to the significant pay increase.

Continuing education courses are important and required in dentistry each year. This expands your knowledge in the profession so that you can continue to educate your patients about the latest news and technology in dentistry. Check with your OceanPointe Dental Academy location to see which advanced courses they offer or plan to offer.