Dental Assisting at College of San Mateo - Are you ready to become a Dental Assistant?
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Dental Assisting
Are you ready to become a Dental Assistant?

Recommended Preparation

The Dental Assisting Program is a challenging program. In order for you to be better prepared to be successful in our program and as a Dental Assistant we highly recommend you complete the following courses before entering our 10-Month Program, especially the Communications course and the Psychology or Sociology course, otherwise your program will be very full.
  1. English: Be eligible for ENGL 100 (required for admission to the 10-Month Program) by  
    1. the results of College of San Mateo's English Placement Test or
    2. having completed ENGL 838, 848, ESL 400 or an equivalent course - English Composition and Reading
  2. COMM 110, 130 or an equivalent course (Required for Certificate and/or AS Degree in Dental Assisting) - Communication Studies, Public Speaking or Interpersonal Communication
  3. BIOL 100, 130 or an equivalent course - Introduction to Life Sciences or Human Biology
  4. BIOL 310 or an equivalent course - Nutrition
  5. PSYC 100, SOCI 100 or an equivalent course (Required for Certificate and/or AS Degree in Dental Assisting) General Psychology or Sociology
  6. Have a minimum overall grade point average of 2.0.

Technical Standards - Dental Assisting Program

Dental assisting students must be able to perform essential functions. If your ability to perform these essential functions depends on accommodations being provided, be advised that requests for accommodations must be presented to the Disability Students Program and Services (DSPS), and must be accompanied by appropriate medical, psychological and /or psychiatric documentation to support this request. You may contact DSPS at (650) 574-6438, which is located in College Center Building 10, Room 120.

The following statements identify the technical standards appropriate to the profession of Dental Assisting and students enrolled in the Dental Assisting Program.

  1. The student must have use of both hands and sufficient finger dexterity to manipulate dental instruments, materials, dental handpieces, and operate dental equipment.
  2. The student must have the ability to manipulate dental instruments to discern changes in surface textures without causing trauma to dental tissues, and to control pressure exerted by dental handpieces on dental tissue to prevent injury to those tissues.
  3. The student must possess the ability to gather, classify, and interpret information about data, people, or things, and be able to carry out appropriate actions in relation to the data received and apply principles of logical or scientific thinking to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions.
  4. The student must have the ability to differentiate various shades of colors in a limited environment and space in the oral cavity, and distinguish shades of grey and identify the working ends of various dental instruments and other dental implements at a two foot distance.
  5. The student must have the ability to perceive sound through telephone, hear commands through an operator's face mask, and discern blood pressure sounds through a stethoscope.
  6. The student must have the ability to read and comprehend the English language and comprehend complex information from scientific and/or technical journals, papers, textbooks, communicate the same type of complex information through speech and in writing using proper format, punctuation, spelling, grammar, and using all parts of speech.
  7. The student must the ability to communicate technical information at a level appropriate for patient understanding and speak clearly and with the correct pronunciation of dental and medical terms.
  8. The student must the ability to determine percentages, convert fractions, ratios and proportions as well as basic subtraction, addition, multiplication, and division and understand and interpret the implications and meanings of the numerical values.
At the end of the training program, the Dental Assistant must be able to:
  1. Handle stressful situations related to technical and procedural standards of patient care situations, thus avoiding injury to the patients.
  2. Provide physical and emotional support to the patient during procedures.
  3. Follow directions effectively and work closely with members of the health care community.
  4. Perform skills related to emergency procedures required in the field.