Student using an intraoral camera.

Dental Assisting

About This Program

Dental Assisting provides a comprehensive education in the field. Each student is given the opportunity to learn dental procedures through academic and practical instruction. Students receive clinical experience at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine as well as in our state-of-the-art dental clinic. Upon successful completion of a rigorous three-year curriculum, students will be prepared for the certification examinations required for licensing by the Dental Assisting National Board. Students at Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School will be prepared to sit for theInfection Control Examination (ICE), the RadiologyHealth and Safety (RHS) examinations, and the Anatomy, Morphology and Physiology (AMP) examination, leading to NELDA certification through the Dental Assistant National Board (DANB). Students complete Healthcare Provider CPR and First Aid as juniors. See below for full course descriptions.

Career Paths

  • Dental Assistant
  • Orthodontic Dental Assistant
  • Dental Laboratory Technician
  • Dental Office Manager
  • Dental Sales Representative
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dentist

Industry Partnerships

  • Turfs University of Dental Medicine
  • Kowalski Dental
  • SkillsUSA

Certifications

  • OSHA 10 Hour Health
  • AHA First Aid Certified
  • AHA CPR Healthcare Provider
  • Radiology Certificate Tufts University, School of Dental Medicine
  • DANB Infection Control, Radiology, AP Exams
  • Dental Assisting National Board (DANB)
  • Middlesex Community College (pending)
  • North Shore Community College (pending)

Advisory Committee Members

  • Becky, Kowalski Dental
  • Stacy Abbatessa
  • Nancy Acquaviva
  • Lichelle Aldana, DMS
  • Peggy Canning, Nemths Dental Assisting Instructor
  • Nicholas Chamberlain-Nunes
  • Donna Davies, Beverly Farms Dental
  • Diane Doucette, Greater Lowell Technical High School
  • Chris Farley, Pediatric Dentistry of the North Shore
  • Lilia Fiat, Dr. Lilia S. Fiat DMD LLC
  • Paul Gamber, Jr. DMD
  • Kaycie Goudreau
  • Jean Hanafin, CDA, Dental Assistant Private Practice- Forever Family
  • Mikayla Hincman
  • Ann Marie Hollis, Henry Schein Dental, Sales Representative
  • Jennifer Kenney, CDA, Parent & Dental Professional
  • Donald Kowalski, DDS, Kowalski Dental, PC
  • Rosemary Pisani, NEMTHS Dental Assisting Instructor
  • Erin Selvitella, Dental Assisting Instructor, Northeast Metro Tech
  • Michelle Semonelli, Forever Family Dental
  • Robert Soper, Forever Family Dental
  • Brianna Swan
  • Dorothy Vannah, Post Secondary Education, Tufts University
  • Carlin Weaver, Weaver Orthotics
  • Paula Wrenn, DMD

Meet the Dental Assisting Teachers

Ms. Stacey Abbatessa

Long Term Substitute Dental Assisting Teacher
SAbbatessa@essextech.net

Maria DiLuigi

Ms. Maria DiLuigi

Dental Assisting Teacher
MDiLuigi@essextech.net

Heather Fullerton

Ms. Heather Fullerton

Dental Assisting Teacher
HFullerton@essextech.net

Tamar Iskenderian

Ms. Tamar Iskenderian

Dental Assisting Teacher
TIskenderian@essextech.net

Jillian Reynolds

Ms. Jillian Reynolds

Dental Assisting Teacher
JReynolds@essextech.net

Dental Assisting Course Descriptions

Course NumberNameCreditGrade Level
da101Dental Assisting Exploratory 91.0Grade 9
da103Dental Assisting 910.0Grade 9
da200Dental Assisting 1020.0Grade 10
da300Dental Assisting 1120.0Grade 11
da301Dental Assisting Theory 114.0Grade 11
phs301CTE Pathway: Communication for Health Professionals2.0Grade 11
phs302CTE Pathway: Medical Forensics2.0Grade 11
da305Dental Assisting Cooperative Education 1112.0Grade 11
da400Dental Assisting 1220.0Grade 12
3450Anatomy & Physiology Theory 124.0Grade 12
da405Dental Assisting Cooperative Education 1224.0Grade 12
phs401CTE Pathway: Data Analysis in Health Sciences4.0Grade 12
Dental Assisting Exploratory 9 

Course # da101 | Credit: 1
This five-day cycle exploratory course introduces grade 9 students to the dental assisting profession. Students are exposed to various principles of clinical, laboratory, and clerical dental assisting. This program allows students to determine whether their abilities and interests are compatible with this technical area. During this course, students explore the many career opportunities in the dental field. Shop safety and program orientation is provided. 

Dental Assisting 9 

Course # da103 | Credits: 10
This semester-based course introduces students to safety in the Dental Assisting program, the fundamentals of the dental industry, and dental careers, including dental and oral anatomy. Students will learn about tissues, surfaces of the teeth, and nutrition. Students also learn about basic office procedures such as identifying dental instruments tray setup, the dental operatory, microbiology, and an introduction to infection control in dentistry. The Dental Office  Design project will include virtual field trips to local dental offices, basic lab procedures such as alginate impressions, pouring impressions, and dental models. Students will have an opportunity to talk about oral health and dental hygiene as part of virtual visits to 1-2 elementary schools to provide Children’s Oral Health Education. 

Dental Assisting 10 

Course # da200 | Credits: 20
This full-year course will concentrate on infection control in dentistry, oral health education, and tooth morphology. Topics will include: OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard and Hazard Communication training, CDC Guidelines, microbiology, and disinfection and sterilization techniques, HIPAA training and preventive dentistry. Grade 10 students will collaborate with grade 12 students as part of a Dental Table Clinic project that will be presented to the school staff, students, and their caregivers in the spring semester. 

Dental Assisting 11 

Course # da300 | Credits: 20
This full-year course will focus on preparing students for the Tufts Dental Radiology Certification, Dental Assisting National Board Radiation Health and Safety Exam (DANB, RHS). The comprehensive radiology curriculum incorporates operator andpatient safety, exposure, processing and evaluation of traditional as well as digital dental radiographs. In addition, students learn about the components of the dental x-ray unit, digital sensors, safety precautions, film identification, film placement using both bisecting and paralleling techniques, film processing, and mounting. The students will begin their clinical internship at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. Student immunizations must be up-to-date according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health regulations. Students will also learn about basic restorative procedures and dental materials, and the use of practice management software. Students will obtain their CPR/BLS (Basic Life Support) Certification for Healthcare Providers, as well as First Aid Certification. Training and certification follows the American Heart Association Guidelines. 

Dental Assisting Theory 11 

Course # da301 | Credits: 4
This full-year, classroom-based course is designed to introduce students to all phases of dental assisting. Major units will include preparing patients for dental care, setting up dental charts for review, and providing assistance to the dentist. This course surveys dental terminology as well as discusses dental diseases and pathology. There will be a strong emphasis on learning advanced chair side dental assisting techniques including but not limited to amalgam, composite, and crown and bridge procedures. Students will be trained to expose intraoral and extraoral radiographs while learning the theory behind safety in Radiology. Students will also handle and mount dental radiographs as well as learn various anatomical landmarks on dental radiographs. 

Dental Assisting Cooperative Education 11  

Course # da305  | Credits: 12
This semester-based course will provide qualified students with a career technical employment opportunity. The program is designed to allow students on-the-job training by involving them in work that is directly related to their technical area of study. Cooperating employers provide additional training, pays students, and reports their performance to the school for every cycle. Please note that juniors are eligible for Cooperative Education during the third and fourth quarter only. 

Dental Assisting 12 

Course # da400 | Credits: 20
This full-year course will run concurrent with students participating in their Cooperative Education placements to gain industry experience in paid, off-campus positions. To qualify, students will need to meet all Co-op requirements and be in good academic and vocational standing. Students may participate in a clinical affiliation in both general and/or specialty practice dental offices. Students will continue to receive instruction in the areas of dental science and business office procedures. Students will be expected to gain recertification in adult, child, and infant CPR/First Aid. Students will also have an opportunity to participate in the Tufts Radiology Certification Program. 

Anatomy & Physiology Theory 12 [Dental Assisting Theory 12] 

Course # 3450 | Credits: 4
This full-year, lab-based theory course will give students an in-depth understanding of human anatomy and physiology, which will expand upon in far greater detail the basic topics covered in Biology I and II. Students will gain knowledge through inquiry-based research projects as well as intensive dissections. 

Dental Assisting Cooperative Education 12 

Course # da405 | Credits: 24
This full-year course provides qualified students with a career technical employment opportunity. The program is designed to allow students on-the-job training by involving them in work that is directly related to their technical area of study. Cooperating employers provide additional training, pays students, and reports their performance to the school for every cycle. 

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