Dental Assisting

Dental Assisting

two dental assisting student working on orthodonticsNotice of scheduled site visit for the LCC Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting Programs by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (Posted July 13th, 2023)

Dental Assisting is a rewarding professional career! The Dental Assisting program provides training in orthodontics, pedodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, oral surgery, and general dentistry, incorporating hands-on lab and clinical experiences and preparation for state and national board exams. Upon graduation and successful completion of board exams, you will have all the necessary certifications to work in any of the dental specialties.

Qualify for the following credentials:

  • Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) – National Credential
  • Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA) – Oregon Credential
  • Expanded Function Orthodontic Dental Assistant (EFODA) – Oregon Credential
  • Radiological Proficiency (Dental X-ray certification) – Oregon Credential
  • Pit and Fissure Sealant Certification – Oregon Credential
  • Denture Soft Reline Certification – Oregon Credential
  • Gingival Retraction Cord Certification – Oregon Credential

Is the Dental Assisting program for you?

Do you have a passion for oral health care? Do you enjoy working with people in a variety of settings? Are you looking for a rewarding career that you can get into quickly? If you have strong communication skills, enjoy working with your hands, like thinking critically, and want a team-oriented career with responsibility, then consider Dental Assisting! Dental assistants perform many tasks ranging from providing patient care and taking x-rays to record-keeping and scheduling appointments.

Is Lane’s Dental Assisting Program the best one for you?

From a Clinical Standpoint:

The Lane Community College Dental Assisting Program offers a curriculum that covers all aspects of dental assisting. Students work “hands-on” in over 360 hours of clinical coursework to ensure they are prepared for employment when they graduate. We work with an extensive number of community offices to accommodate internships in general dentistry, orthodontics, pedodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, periodontics, and oral surgery. In other words, if you want to explore any of the areas of dentistry to find the right fit for you, we can help you do it! While it is not guaranteed, our Cooperative Education internships very often result in employment, providing the jumpstart you need to begin your career.

From an academic standpoint:

Because Lane’s Dental Assisting program is fully accredited, all of our classes can be applied to an Associates of General Studies, streamlining the courses needed to earn a bachelor’s degree, should you desire one.  Because we are accredited, you can gain all of your credentials via the Dental Assisting National Board’s pathway 1, the most direct path to employment credentialing.

From a financial standpoint:

Our Dental Assisting program meets all of the qualifications for federal financial aid assistance. In addition, there are numerous scholarships available to our students that can provide over $5000 in financial support that does not require repayment. Several of these are specific to Lane’s dental assisting students, or students that will graduate from an accredited program and enter the working world within a year. This can go a long way towards helping you achieve your dreams!

xray of teethYou can complete the program and start your career in dentistry in as little as 9 months!

When you’re ready to get started with your program prerequisites, just apply to Lane! Our Admissions office staff will guide you through the steps to enroll to get you started right. You can also contact Admissions with any questions you have about the college, to schedule a tour of the campus, or just to say hello. If you’re not ready to apply today, you can request more information on the program and we’ll get in touch to make a plan that works for you.

What will you learn in the Dental Assisting program?

Through our classes both in-person and online, you’ll learn to:

  • Assist with the variety of clinical treatments used in all areas of dentistry
  • Prepare needed instruments for treatment
  • Provide effective patient instruction for good oral hygiene
  • Maintain a professional working environment
  • Accurately expose, develop and mount diagnostic radiographs using multiple systems
  • Apply fluoride, sealants and polish teeth
  • Compute mixing amounts and calculate formulas utilized in dental procedures
  • Systematically collect diagnostic data
  • Assist the dentist chair-side in providing patient treatment
  • Utilize interpersonal communication and collaboration skills to effectively interact with diverse population groups, health care providers, dental professionals and community groups
  • Apply principles of ethical reasoning, decision making, and professional responsibility.
  • Access information via dental journals and websites
  • Write/edit multiple types of professional communications
  • Maintain patient records, discharge patients, bill patients and their insurers

dental assisting student with patientYour coursework will be a combination of online, classroom, and clinical laboratory learning, and includes basic health sciences, oral anatomy and pathology, dental materials, radiographic and chairside assisting techniques; as well as principles of office records management and marketing, laboratory procedures, and psychological considerations in patient treatment.

Dental Assisting is a concentrated program that requires good reading and study skills. Students are on campus most of the day during fall and winter terms. Spring term includes a minimum of 24 hours per week in Cooperative Education community clinical sites, where you’ll put the knowledge you’ve learned into practice.

Applying to the Dental Assisting program

Like other programs in Health Professions, there is a competitive, point-based application process for entry into the Dental Assisting Program. There are a number of prerequisite courses that need to be completed prior to applying to the program. Applications will be posted on the program application website during winter term each year. The application period opens up in March with a late April deadline, which allows for winter term classes to be included in the application process.

Application Information

What can you do next?

dental assisting student working on orthodonticsOpportunities for employment include jobs in all dental specialties, including orthodontics, pedodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, oral surgery, and general dentistry. As a dental assistant, you could serve as a clinical chairside assistant or work in dental office administration.

95-100 percent of the graduates find employment in the Eugene/Springfield area. Other graduates choose to find employment in other parts of the state. Starting salary in the Eugene/Springfield area averages $22 per hour.

Personal attention from engaging faculty

Dental Assisting courses are limited to a maximum of 30 students. Clinical lab courses have one instructor for every six students, for maximum clinical skill interactions. Dental Assisting instructors get to know you, and they provide you with the personal attention required for mastering the clinical skills needed and helping you finish the program successfully. Our faculty have extensive clinical and teaching experience, and they bring those experiences to the classroom.

Get to know the Dental Assisting faculty and advisors

The faculty and advisors for the program can help you meet your career goals. They can answer any program specific questions you might have, and help you find opportunities outside of the classroom. Advisors will help you schedule your classes and plan for the future. You’ll work with them to create a term by term planner that meets your needs and goals to ensure you complete your degree. And if you’re planning on transferring to a four-year school, they can help you find the classes you need to count towards your associate’s or bachelor's degree. 

Get real world work experience

Dental Assisting program students participate in two distinct internships in local dental offices during Spring term. This allows you to get real-world, relevant, and practical experience doing all of the tasks dental assistants provide. Many students continue with paid employment at their former internship sites after graduation and their certification exams.

Stackable Credentials

Graduates will receive a one-year Dental Assistant Certificate of Completion.

If desired, all credits from the nine month program can be applied to an Associate of General Studies degree here at Lane. This AGS can then be applied to a Bachelors of Associated Science degree at many four-year colleges and universities.

The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), and is recognized by the Dental Assisting National Board. After successful completion of the three-quarter program, students are eligible to take the National Board exams and receive all certificates and licenses needed for employment in all areas of dentistry as an Expanded Function Dental Assistant in the state of Oregon.

State of the art facilities

dental assisting students with instructor and patientAs a Dental Assisting student, you’ll practice your skills on state-of-the-art dental equipment in our brand-new dental lab on main campus, and gain experience and confidence at the college Dental Clinic on Willamette Street, in Eugene. Some of the equipment you’ll use includes:

  • Direct and Indirect digital radiology systems for taking x-rays
  • Simulation units in the Dental Materials lab which simulate a clinical environment when learning various materials and skills
  • Omnicam digital scanner for intra-oral scanning; utilized for crown and bridge design in general dentistry offices, as well as creating models for patient records and invisalign treatment in orthodontics
  • 3D printer utilized along with the digital scanner for printing out dental models
  • Intraoral camera for digitally scanning and recording areas inside the mouth for patient records
  • Alginators for mixing impression material.

Scholarship Opportunities

The Dental Assisting program annually awards several $750 Jan Malone Scholarships to students who show a strong aptitude for the dental field. Applications are distributed every December to current Dental Assisting students. Dental Assisting students may also be eligible for federal financial aid, scholarships through WorkSource Lane (up to $5000), and LCC Foundation scholarships that are not financially based.

Learn more about financial assistance for the Dental Assisting Program.

Attending classes at Lane

Lane’s main campus is tucked into the foothills of the Oregon Cascades, providing a stunning landscape for your education. With incredible resources on campus like advising, tutoring services, the library, and so many more, you have the opportunity to make the most out of your degree. Lane also offers student housing at Titan Court in downtown Eugene, next to our Mary Spilde Center. Ready to learn more? Schedule a campus tour to explore our beautiful campus and amazing facilities.