Cerritos College Dental Assisting Program

Uploaded by CCDeptDivVideo on 04.03.2011

You're watching the award winning American Health Journal.
Cerritos College has one of the finest Denatl Assisting programs in the state. It's designed
to give the student a fundamental knowledge and basic skills needed to assist the dentist
in chairside procedures, performance of the regular dental assisting duties, and laboratory
techniques. We spoke with Donna Wedell, department chair of the Dental Assisting program at Cerritos
College, to find out about the clinical experience in patient care they recieve. It's a one year
program, so they kind of are in the classroom most of the time kind of doing their getting
trained for it and they stay here on campus, but in the Spring, they actually go to USC
and work with dental students, which my students really like 'cause they actually get some
of the hands on with a real life patient. Kind of working with some of the skills that
they've learned in the Fall, and doing real procedures, all the procedures that they are
going to do in the office, and my program goes til the Summer. And there are six weeks
to internship, where they are working three weeks in a general practice, and three weeks
in a specialty, doing all of the assisting that an RDA would do in the state of California.
Donna Wedell told us what role a Dental Assistant plays in assisting the dentist. The doctor
depends very highly on that dental assistant, because the doctor is going to go from one
operatory to the next operatory and that is dependant on that dental assistant to have
that operatory set, ready to go, so when they come in that patient is in the right place,
ready to go, the doctor sits down it functions, it flows, and then the doctor can move to
the next room, and that patient is ready to go and that's all very dependent on the assistant.
Most of my graduates get jobs right from their internship. They can get what we call just
a dental assistant, so they don't have their RDAs, they will be waiting to take their RDA
exam that month. They can usually get jobs starting at about 13, 14, maybe 15 dollars
an hour. Then when they, after they get their RDA exam, and they become Registed Dental
Assistants, then they would get pay increases, so they can be getting 16, 17 dollars an hour.
and then from there with experience it would go up in the pay scale. There's so many other
avenues and i really try and stress that with my students that you don't have to go to private
practice. There's group practice, the military, some students can go into sales you know and
we talk about lateral career ladders the upper career ladders, so that you can move up so
much in dental assisting. So it doesn't have to be just a solo private practice there's
group practices. There's also, like I said, I had a student 2 years ago, he's now into
dental sales. So with that knowledge, you can go in , with other avenues, so i tell
them not to lock it in. One of the nice things is we do see males in our profession. I have
5 male students this year. Last years I had 8 male students. In my internship offices
that I visit, I have 3 of my males that are running the front office, that are actually
running the practices for the doctors. So it's really nice to see that, that its not
just a female practice that it is becoming both avenues. We also asked Dr. Max Martinez,
who also instructs in the dental assisting program, what's required of the students going
through that program. In a program like this, the students are exceptional. They're ready
when they leave this program, they've not only have done the lab work like they do in
classrooms like this, but they go out, say for example to USC schools, not only that,
for example my office is used to bring in some interns before they graduate to actually
treat real patients, per say, to know what's out there. They're taught here all the basic,
you have to start with the basics. Obviously, you wouldn't want them working on a patient
right from the start, so they have mannequins, they have typodonts, typodonts are teeth that
a arranged pretty naturally to a human oral cavity, and they work on these mannequins,
they work on these oral cavities before and they have to pass these certain criterias
before they actually do it on a live patient. These, these young men and these young women
we want to make sure that they're prepared for two main things, one, to pass their certification,
state certification licensing board. Which is being a registered dental assistant, but
most importantly we need to teach them, we need to make sure when they go out to the
dental field that they are prepared to go into any office and this program just prepares
them just exceptionally. Where they can go in an office and be an asset to the dental
office. I want something wherever I go it's always in demand so I've been reading I went
online, I read about dental assist, found out that it's always in demand, everywhere
you go there's a job for you, and I got fascinated by it, and I like to work with others, I'm
a very social person and I feel like I'd make them feel comfortable and relaxed. That got
my interest in getting into dental assistant. The only prerequisite is high school graduate,
and you have to have a typing class, and some like up to a level of English which is reading
and writing and a math prerequisite class that's it it's nothing major, it's not complicated
so high schoolers can easily get into that program once they sign up for it. And if everything's
clear then they should be in the program with no problems at all.