About This Program

The Dental Assisting Program is a three term (one year long) program that begins each year at the end of August and runs Fall, Spring and Summer.  If you are interested in enrolling in this program on a full-time or part-time basis, apply to DMACC as soon as possible. There is currently no wait list for Dental Assisting. Part-time is also available, but not encouraged. It will make the program two years in length.

Please call or email Sheri Husak 515-964-6467 slhusak@dmacc.edu for more information. Sheri is the program advisor for prospective students; she will help you with any questions you might have concerning enrolling. If you have questions concerning the program, contact the Program Director, Lori Brown at lmbrown@dmacc.edu.

Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene Classes
The Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene programs have two courses in common. DHY 161 Oral Radiology and DHY 221 Dental Materials. If a student in the Dental Assisting Program successfully completes these two courses, these courses would also be applied to the Dental Hygiene curriculum under certain guidelines. Thus, if entering the Dental Hygiene Program, these courses would be eliminated from the course requirements. Successfully completing the Dental Assisting Program prior to entering the Dental Hygiene Program has proven to be of benefit by creating a groundwork that becomes an asset to the student's success. Many Dental Hygiene graduates have first completed the Dental Assisting Program.

What Else Should I Consider about the Dental Assistant 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 patient's personalities and dental problems is challenging and rewarding.
  • You may have to work some Saturdays and evenings.

What Kind of Work Will I Do?

  • Give chairside assistance to the dentist while working on 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.

What Skills and Abilities Will I Need?

  • Knowledge of high school biology and ability to type 35 WPM is necessary to be successful.
  • Excellent attendance and promptness is 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.

Median wage for full-time dental assistant is $36,940 annually, (Iowa Workforce Development 2017)

Location: Ankeny