Red Cross accepting applications for Dental Assistant Program

Base Info

Red Cross accepting applications for Dental Assistant Program

by: Senior Airman Kristina Overton | .
51st Fighter Wing PAO | .
published: June 13, 2013

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Due to the rapid progress in dentistry, as well as the changing demands of complying with new regulations, the American Red Cross advocates that the dental assisting profession has become a more sophisticated field requiring more knowledge and training than ever before.

Modern dentistry calls for a scientific team approach with the role of the dental assistant becoming a vital member of that team. The assistant is involved in all phases of the patient and dentist relationship from the time of the first appointment until completion of the dental work.

To help provide opportunities for qualifying individuals here, the next session of the American Red Cross Dental Assistant Training Program will take place July 8 through January 31. To be eligible for this training program, applicants must be 18 years or older with a high school diploma or equivalent, and be a military sponsored ID card holder. Due to the chemicals and x-rays to which students may be exposed throughout the course, women who are pregnant may not be considered for this program.

"The program is a great way to better market yourself for a job back in the states and for opportunities in the future," said Michael Huff, American Red Cross field office coordinator. "It's a strenuous course, and requires applicants to constantly apply themselves in order to make it through, but if they do that then they come out very well. What you put into it is what you'll get out of it. The program is here for people to take advantage."

There is an in-processing protocol, which includes orientations, CPR training, and immunizations; all required prior to the beginning the course.

The program consists of six months of classroom and clinical experience. Hours are scheduled roughly from 6:45 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and attendance is mandatory. The first month of the course will be primarily spent in the classroom. The remaining time will be in the clinic.

As a dental assistant, the responsibilities range from patient care to dental office management. The dental assistant's duties include calming nervous patients, taking and developing x-rays, making impressions of patient's teeth, handing instruments to the dentist during dental treatment procedures, preparing and sterilizing dental instruments. Front office duties can include scheduling appointments, billing, ordering supplies and even managing the dental office.

Under the direct supervision of a dentist, the assistant may perform expanded functions such as intraoral procedures in restorative dentistry and oral surgery. The assistant qualified in radiology may also take and expose radiographs.

"We're a customer business," said Master Sgt. Christopher Hernandez, 51st Dental Squadron clinical dentistry flight chief. "We need people that care about and want to help others. Our customers here include the entire base populous, and we want to make sure that we maintain enthusiasm and service with a smile so the patients leave feeling like they received the best care in the world. Patients should be comfortable coming in, and dental assistants are a big part of that."

Applications are available at the Red Cross office, and must be returned by June 20. Applicants will be interviewed on July 1, and notified of their selection status within a week. For more information, call 784-1855.

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