Request Information

Medical & Healthcare Programs ►Dental Assisting Certificate Program with Clinical Externship


Program includes National Certification & an Externship Opportunity



The Dental Assisting Profession

The Dental Assisting Program prepares students for entry-level positions in one of the fastest growing healthcare professions – Dental Assisting. With the national increase in healthcare-related services, and the national shortage of healthcare professionals, the need for dental assistants is growing substantially. With a growing workforce over 300,000 strong, a career in dental assisting ranks as the fourth fastest growing occupation in the healthcare technician field. To meet our nation’s growing medical demands, recent studies indicate that over 400,000 assistants will be employed by 2018.


The Dental Assisting Program

The program prepares students for entry-level positions as a chair-side dental assistant. This course covers the history of dentistry, introduction to the dental office, the legal aspects of dentistry, introduction to oral anatomy, dental operatory, introduction to tooth structure (primary and permanent teeth), the oral cavity; and other areas. The purpose of this program is to familiarize students with all areas of administrative and clinical dental assisting focusing on the responsibilities required to function as an assistant in a dental practice. This course covers the following key areas and topics:

  • Introduction to the dental office and history of dentistry and dental assisting
  • Legal aspects of dentistry including policies and guidelines
  • Introductory oral anatomy, dental operatory, and dental equipment
  • Introductory tooth structure including primary and permanent teeth
  • The oral cavity and related structures
  • Dental hand-pieces, sterilization, and other areas

Dental Assisting Detailed Course Information:

  • The dental assisting profession and the history of Dental anatomy and physiology
  • Tooth charting, tooth surfaces, and classification of restorations on a tooth
  • Parts of the jaw, areas of the mouth, oral health and preventions of dental disease
  • Infection control in dentistry and occupational health and safety
  • Patient information and assessment
  • Foundation of clinical dentistry
  • Dental radiology
  • Single crown restoration, bridge, implant, partial denture, and full denture
  • Dental equipment, accessories and the treatment room, hand pieces & accessories
  • Dental cements and impression materials; Assisting in comprehensive dental care
  • Coding of radiology services and the use of ICD-9-CM codes
  • Dental administration and communication skills


Lesson Checklist

Each lesson includes a prescribed checklist of activities for successful completion of the lesson.This includes lesson objectives, readings, and recommended assignments. Although assignments are optional, the instructor will grade and provide feedback on submitted assignments.


Course Materials
  • Pearson's Comprehensive Dental Assisting


Module/Lesson Structure

The Dental Assisting program is divided into seven main content modules with 38 lessons. Each module contains one or more lesson presentations to view. These lesson presentations are the“lectures” which, along with the textbook readings and resources, will help you learn the material.The lesson presentations aim to address a variety of learning styles and preferences using text,audio, video, etc. Each lesson contains at least one Check Your Understanding interactive self assessment that will help you gauge your comprehension of that lesson’s content. Some lessons include supplemental resources such as games, animations, videos, and interactive activities.Utilizing these additional materials will deepen your understanding of the content. Each module has a Module test, the last Module concludes with a Final Exam.


Module 1: The History & Profession of Dentistry

  • Lesson 1 - History of Dentistry
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 1 (pp. 1-10)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 2 (pp. 11-20)
  • Lesson 2 Dental Ethics and Law
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 3 (pp. 21-30)

Module Two: Dental Sciences

  • Lesson 3 - General Anatomy and Physiology
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 4 (pp. 31-71)
  • Lesson 4 Head and Neck Anatomy
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 5 (pp. 72-92)
  • Lesson 5 The Face and Oral Embryology
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 6 (pp. 93-102)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 7 (pp. 103-114)
  • Lesson 6 Tooth Development
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 8 (pp. 115-127)
  • Lesson 7 Dental Charting
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 9 (pp. 128-142)
  • Lesson 8 Oral Pathology
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 10 (pp. 143-164)
  • Lesson 9 Microbiology
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 11 (pp. 165-174)

Module Three: Oral Health& Prevention

  • Lesson 10 Dental Disease and Infection Control
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 12 (pp. 175-202)
  • Lesson 11 Dental Caries & Periodontal Disease
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 13 (pp. 203-212)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 14 (pp. 213-222)
  • Lesson 12 Oral Health & Nutrition
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 15 (pp. 223-239)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 16 (pp. 240-251)
  • Lesson 13 Instrument Processing and Sterilization
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 17 (pp. 252-270)
  • Lesson 14 Occupational Health and Safety & Water Lines
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 18 (pp. 271-281)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 19 (pp. 282-289)

Module Four: Dental Patient Care

  • Lesson 15 The Dental Office
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 20 (pp. 290-304)
  • Lesson 16 Examination and Treatment Planning
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 21 (pp. 305-327)
  • Lesson 17 Caring for the Dental Patient
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 22 (pp. 328-342)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 23 (pp. 343-354)

Module Five: Instrumentation and Ergonomics

  • Lesson 18 Dental Instruments
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 24 (pp. 355-377)
  • Lesson 19 Ergonomics
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 25 (pp. 378-388)
  • Lesson 20 Moisture Control
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 26 (pp. 389-412)
  • Lesson 21 Pharmacology & Pain Control
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 27 (pp. 413-420)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 28 (pp. 421-441)

Module Six: Dental Procedures

  • Lesson 22 Dental Radiography
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 29 (pp. 442-455)
  • Lesson 23 Dental Film and Processing Procedures
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 30 (pp. 456-472)
  • Lesson 24 Intraoral Radiographic Procedures
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 31(pp. 473-505)
  • Lesson 25 Extraoral and Digital Radiographic Procedures
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 32 (pp. 506-518)
  • Lesson 26 Restorative and Esthetic Dental Materials
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 33 (pp. 519-536)
  • Lesson 27 Dental Liners, Bases, and Bonding Systems
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 34 (pp. 537-549)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 35 (pp. 550-560)
  • Lesson 28 Impression Materials & Laboratory Materials and Procedures
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 36 (pp. 561-577)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 37 (pp. 578-595)
  • Lesson 29 General Dentistry & Matrix Systems
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 38 (pp. 596-613)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 39 (pp. 614-625)
  • Lesson 30 Coronal Polishing & Dental Sealants
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 48 (pp. 763-772)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 49 (pp. 773-779)
  • Lesson 31 Fixed Prosthodontics & Provisional Coverage
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 40 (pp. 626-642)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 41(pp. 643-656)
  • Lesson 32 Removable Prosthodontics
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 42 (pp. 657-666)
  • Lesson 33 Dental Implants & Endodontic Procedures
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 43 (pp. 667-675)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 44 (pp. 676-698)
  • Lesson 34 Periodontal & Oral Surgery Procedures
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 45 (pp. 699-716)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 46 (pp. 717-746)
  • Lesson 35 Pediatric & Orthodontic Procedures
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 47 (pp. 747-762)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 50 (pp. 780-806)

Module Seven: Emergencies & Office Management

  • Lesson 36 Assisting in Emergency Care
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 51 (pp. 807-825)
  • Lesson 37 Communication & Practice Management Procedures
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 52 (pp. 826-844)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 53 (pp. 845-862)
  • Lesson 38 Financial Management, Dental Insurance, and Skills Marketing
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 54 (pp. 863-883)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 55 (pp. 884-901)
    • Reading Assignment: Chapter 56 (pp. 902-916)

Note: This program can be completed in 6 months. However, students will have online access to this program for a 12-month period.

Education and Certifications

Dental assistants & aides should have or be pursuing a high school diploma or GED.

  • Although there are no state approval or state requirements associated with this program, in some states, DANB-RHS certification is required to work in dental radiography.
  • There are several Dental Assistant National Certification exams that are available to students who successfully complete this program:
    • Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam, and the DANB Infection Control Exam (ICE).



National Certification

Students who complete this Auburn University Dental Assisting program will be prepared to sit for the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Radiology Health and Safety (RHS) exam and the DANB Infection Control (ICE) national certification exams. Although certain states due require that Dental Assistants successfully complete this DANB-RHS exam prior to working with radiography (X-Ray) in a particular state, most states do not have other requirements. This Auburn University Dental Assistant program focuses heavily on radiography / x-ray techniques and includes and important review of the DANB-RHS examination requirements. Students who complete this program are encouraged to complete the clinical externship option with their program. Students who complete this program can and do sit for the DANB - RHS and the DANB-ICE national certification exams and are qualified, eligible and prepared to do so. Auburn University will work with each student to determine which national certification exam works best with each particular student and register the student for that exam.


Clinical Externship / Hands on Training / Practicum

Although not a requirement of this program, once students complete the Dental Assistant program they have the ability to participate in a clinical externship and/or hands on practicum so as to practice the skills necessary to perform the job requirements of a Dental Assistant. Students will be assisted with completing a resume and/or other requirements necessary to work in a hospital, dental practice and/or with other healthcare organizations. All students who complete this program are eligible to participate in an externship and will be placed in a healthcare organization near their location. Auburn University works with national healthcare organizations and has the ability to place students in clinical externship opportunities nationwide.

Note: No refunds can be issued after the start date published in your Financial Award document.