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Main Programs and Courses Health Care Programs Dental Assisting

Dental Assisting

The Dental Assisting program at Reeves College is designed to provide hands-on training and prepare graduates to compete for skilled jobs in the dental industry.

In your dental assistant courses, you will learn how to prepare patients for treatment, assist dentists during treatment, process radiographs, perform infection control procedures, maintain patient records, and other general administrative duties. Additionally, you’ll study environmental health and safety, oral facial science, and other core dentistry subjects.

The program provides both comprehensive and intensive education and training leading to a career as a Registered Dental Assistant.

Dental Assistant Training

Graduates who successfully complete this program must also successfully complete the National Dental Assisting Examination Board Written Examination and Clinical Practice Evaluation to be eligible to apply for registration with the College of Alberta Dental Assistants.


This program is 45 weeks in length.
  • Dental Office
  • Hospital Dental Department
  • Dental Laboratories
  • Public Health Clinics
Program Courses
AB-ODAP / Orientation to Dental Assisting Program

This coure provides an overview and introduction to the Dental Assisting Program. Emphasis will be placed on the required safety precautions for the dental assistant. It also addresses the concept of standard precautions, dental health care worker safety, and relevant clinical procedures including barrier techniques, surface cleaners and disinfectants, and proper heat sterilization. Radiation hygene and safety procedures will be emphasized.

AB-ODYE / Orientation to Dentistry

This section will discuss the professionalism and legalities of all members of the dental team. It will enable students to understand the expectations of the profession and the workplace. Students will consider their role on the dental team, identify other members of the team, develop an appreciation for being affiliated with a profession, and learn how to use problem-solving approach to deal with conflicts that may arise within the dental team. 

AB-OFSE / Oral Facial Sciences

Students are provided with an understanding of normal anatomy and physiology beginning with an introduction to the human body and its functions. Students will learn detailed anatomy of the head, neck, and will examine the normal development of the oral cavity and facial complex, teeth, and the attachment unit.

AB-DMSE / Dental Materials

This area of study provides the fundamental knowledge of the bio-materials commonly used in the dental environment. Lectures will cover the physical and manipulative characteristics of the various dental products. The laboratory segment prepares students to correctly manipulate these diverse materials. 

AB-EHSE / Environmental Health and Safety WHMIS

This course also introduces students to the prooper handling of hazardous chemicals, employee safety, and waste management. In addition, students will learn how to avoid musculoskeletal disorders commonly associated with dental assisting. 

AB-CDYE / Clinical Dentistry

Students will be introduced to a wide variety of instruments and procedures used in dentistry. This component will assist students in developing the skills and recognizing the importance of smooth interaction with the dentist providing quality care while working chairside for various procedures. Students will learn the theory and practical elements of restorative dentistry. Emphasis is placed on the dental assistant's role in operative procedures. It includes chairside assisting as well as the implementation of dental materials used in dentistry. 

AB-PDNE / Preventative Dentistry and Nutrition

This segment provides an opportunity for students to obtain the knowledge and acquire techniques and skills required to assist clients in the prevention and control of disease and injury to the oral tissues. Importance is placed on communication skills and methods of assessing, implement, and evaluating individualized hygiene. 

AB-PDTE / Prevention of Disease Transmission

Students will study the common microorganisms and pathogens with emphasis placed on those found in the oral cavity. This course will provide students with the prerequisite knowledge requried ot practice effective infection control procedures in the dental environment and to prevent cross-contamination. 

AB-OPAE / Oral Pathology

This segment focuses on the developmental disturbances and their clinical manifestations associated with the development of the oral cavity and the pathology that can affect these structures throughout the life cycle. Students will acquire the knowledge to recognize normal and abnormal tissue anatomy as it relates to the role of the dental assistant. 

AB-DRSE / Diagnostic Records

This section will provide students with a level of knowledge and skill to acquire patient information, obtain vital signs, and assist the dentist in the diagnostic stages of the dental care provided. 

AB-PHDE / Pharmacology

This course introduces students to the basic principles of oral medicine. Students are provided with the terminology, medicinal use, physiological actions, adverse responses, and classifications of drugs encounter in the dental office or commonly prescribed for clients.

AB-MECE / Medical Emergencies/CPR/First Aid

This compopnent provides students with the knowledge and skills that are required to recognize and prevent medical and dental emergencies within the dental office. It will prepare students to assist the dentist in administering immediate care for the client in the dental office environment. Students also participate in CPR/Frist aid training. 

AB-MDTE / Midterm Examination

In the Phase 1 component of this program there is a midterm exam. Students are assessed on the theoretical knowledge covered up to the midpoint of the Phase 1 of the program. A mark of 75% is required on all examinations in order to advance to Phase 2 studies.

AB-DRYE / Dental Radiography

This course prepares students to take and process intra-oral and extra-oral dental radiographs according to provincial/federal standards. Students are introduced to basic physics and principles of radiography, safety precautions, and the operation of the dental x-ray unit. They will expose dental radiographs using bisecting angle and paralleling techniques. Instruction will be provided on recognizing dental errors and solving problem situations, along with client education and management.

AB-PMTE / Practice Management

This segment will cover the key competencies related to office practices and administrative responsibilities of the dental assistant. This course will provide studets with the knowledge and skills related to basic dental reception procedures. Topics will include the organization and managment of patient records, appointment control, dental claims, financial procedures, and the utilization of dental management computer software. 

AB-DSSE / Dental Specialties

This segment is designed to give students an overview of the various dental specialties. Students will learn the theory and practical skills relating to the various disciplines. The roles of the dental assistant will be examined in relation to these specialties. 

AB-FTEE / Final Theory Examination

In the Phase 1 component of this program, there is a final theory examination, as well as a final practical and clincial/laboratory examination. A mark of 75% is required on all examinations in order to advance to Phase 2 Studies.

AB-FTPE / Final Practical Clinical/Laboratory Examination

In the Phase 1 component of this program, there is a final a final practical clincial/laboratory examination. A mark of 75% is required on all examinations in order to advance to Phase 2 Studies.

SSS4 / Student Success Strategies
Students will gain a better understanding of themselves through an exploration of their personal attributes, transferable skills and learning styles. This course will introduce techniques for time, conflict, and stress management and develop interpersonal communication skills. Fundamental study and motivation skills will be covered, preparing students to excel in their program of choice. Students will also prepare a professional resume and learn how to write effective cover letters.
CES4 / Career and Employment Strategies

This course builds on the skills learned in the Student Success Strategies course or its equivalent. It provides information on how to use the communication skills learned in order to make a successful presentation to a prospective employer. Students also learn how to uncover the hidden job market and identify employment opportunities. Self-assessment during this course allows students to identify their personal skills that are transferable to the workplace and to describe these skills to a prospective employer. Students may be videotaped during a mock interview and will participate in the analysis of their performance in the “interview”.

AB-IODE / Intra-Oral Dental Assisting

This course will provide students with the theory required by an intra-oral dental assistant to perform direct patient care. An ethical decision-making framework will enable students to utilize problem-solving skills to plan for and manage direct patient care and to respond to patient-specific needs as they relate to the clinical practice of an intra-oral dental assistant. In-house clinical and outside practicum experience will provide an environment for students to apply and adapt the knowledge and skills obtained.

AB-IODA / Mandatory Outside Practical

This program includes a practicum component consisting of 140 hours working in private practice with a dentist. This practicum work experience is a mandatory diploma requirement and the dentist does not pay for the services of the student during the practicum. 

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