Student Handbook

Dental Assisting Program: MDA001

Welcome to the Dental Assisting Program at the Dental Staff Institute!

This handbook has been prepared to serve as a guide and assist you in a smooth transition as you start
your dental assisting career. This is the first of many reading assignments you will be given in next 11
weeks, so let’s get started.

All students accepted into the Dental Assisting program are expected to familiarize themselves with the
information contained in this handbook at the beginning of the program. In the handbook is an
acknowledgement form which must be signed and returned to the program manager. It is important to
keep this handbook available for reference throughout the educational program. It is designed to
supplement the DSI Catalog by responding to policies which are specific to the Dental Assisting program.
Refer to it, as needed, to help clarify school and program policies and procedures. You will also use this
binder to keep your various exercises organized.

The dental assisting faculty, in cooperation with administrative personnel, reserves the right to revise
policy guidelines as needed if a change is felt necessary for improvement of the program. The students
will be notified of any change at the time it takes place.

The educational program takes place in the classroom and skills lab, as well as in supervised dental offices
and other community resources. In addition to acquiring knowledge and developing the skills necessary
to perform a variety of duties, becoming a dental assistant is about becoming a professional.
Professionalism is what distinguishes people who “have a job” from those who “pursue a career.”

As a student in the Dental Assisting Program it is your responsibility for ensuring success in the program.
The instructing staff is not responsible for making students learn. As students, you are not passive in the
educational process but instead interactive participants. Competency-based instruction supports this
process. You should be self-motivated, responsible and proactive in learning while in the program and
during your career.

Your Instructors are here to assist, support, guide and encourage, as well as teach you as you strive to
meet the standards of the Dental Assisting program. If you need additional help in meeting the
challenges of the program, don’t hesitate to speak with them.

Dr. Victoria L. Malz
Dental Staff Institute, LLC

Dental Staff Institute Mission Statement

The Dental Staff Institute, a member of the North Carolina Community College system, provides
educational opportunities for a diverse population. In this rapidly changing world, DSI encourages our
students to lead enriched, productive and responsible lives. The Dental Assisting Program of the Dental
Staff Institute provides a comprehensive accelerated dental assisting education, promoting quality of life
and dental care for themselves, patients, and the community.

Dental Assisting Program Goals

 To provide a pleasant learning experience that will assist the students to effectively work in all
phases of dentistry as outlined by the North Carolina Dental Practice Act.
 To promote dental health care and meet the job-market requirements of the community.
 To prepare the students with the knowledge and skills necessary to acquire the status of Dental
Assistant Level I (DA-1). This foundation, with additional hours and experience should allow
students to sit and successfully complete the Dental Assisting National Board exam to ultimately
expand their skills and duties.

The Dental Assistant’s Pledge

“I solemnly pledge that, in the practice of my profession,

I will always be loyal to the welfare of the patients who come under my care, and to the interest of the practitioner whom I serve.

I will be just and generous to the members of my profession, aiding them and lending them encouragement to be loyal, to be just
and to be studious.

I hereby pledge to devote my best energies to the service of humanity in that relation of life which I consecrated myself when I
elected to become a DENTAL ASSISTANT.”
Dr. C. N. Johnson

Principles of Ethics of
The American Dental Assistant’s Association

 Each individual involved in the practice of dentistry assumes the obligation of maintaining and
enriching the profession.
 Each member may choose to meet this obligation according to the dictates of personal
conscience based on the needs of the human beings the profession of dentistry is committed to
serve. The spirit of the Golden Rule is the basic principle of this concept.
 The member must strive at all times to maintain confidentiality, and exhibit respect for the
 The member shall refrain from performing any professional service which is prohibited by state
law and has the obligation to prove competence prior to providing services to any patient.
 The member shall constantly strive to upgrade and expand technical skills for the benefit of the
employer and the consumer public.
 The member shall additionally seek to sustain and improve the local organization, state
organization, and the American Dental Assistant’s Association by active participation and personal

Creed for Dental Assistants:

 To be loyal to my employer, my calling and myself.

 To develop initiative – having the courage to assume responsibility and the

imagination to create ideas and develop them.

 To be prepared to visualize, take advantage of and fulfill the opportunities of my


 To be a co-worker, creating a spirit of co-operation and friendliness rather one of

faultfinding and criticism.

 To be enthusiastic – for therein lies the easiest way to accomplishment.

 To be generous, not alone of my name but of my praise and my time.

 To be tolerant with my associates, for at times I too make mistakes.

 To be friendly realizing that friendship bestows and receives happiness.

 To be respectful of the other person’s viewpoint and condition.

 To be systematic, believing that system makes for efficiency.

 To know the value of time for both my employer and myself.

 To safeguard my health, for good health is necessary for the achievement of a

successful career.

 To be tactful – always doing the right thing at the right time.

 To be courteous – for this is the badge of good breeding.

 To walk on the sunny side of the street, seeing the beautiful things in life rather

than fearing the shadow.

 To always keep smiling.

General Information

The Dental Assisting student is subject to all college standards of conduct, ethics, and disciplinary
measures that pertain to all Dental Staff Institute students.

Because you are about to enter a career that requires special conduct and behavior while in the
performance of specified duties, the student is also to adhere to the ethics and conduct listed under the
regulations and policies of the handbook and each Health Care Facility while in that facility for experience.

The Dental Assisting Program Handbook

The Dental Assisting Program Handbook is prepared as an informational aid and learning tool for
students, faculty and administration, visiting practitioners, and participating dental office staff. This
handbook contains general information, classroom policies, as well as clinical and laboratory procedures
and policies. Keep this handbook accessible at all times.


Administration, Faculty, and Staff
The following people are available to assist you:

Dr. Victoria Malz – Director of Admissions 704-654-5468 (cell)

Dr. Ryan Woodman – Instructor, Director of Student Services

Lisa Hey – Primary Instructor

Amica McLendon – Instructor

Student Records

A file is maintained for each student in the program in the Director’s office. The file includes admission
data, course evaluation and other information regarding progress in the program. All files are kept
confidential and are the property of the college. Arrangements to view your individual file must be made
with the Program Manager. Files will be kept for no more than three years following completion of the

Health Insurance and Hepatitis B Vaccination

The college does not provide health insurance for students. However, the college does have a premises
accident policy. All accidents should be reported to your instructor. We encourage all Dental Assisting
students to have current health insurance. In addition, in order to work in a clinical setting with live
patients, your employer will require you to be either vaccinated against Hepatitis B or have signed a
waiver refusing the Hepatitis B Vaccination. Reduced cost vaccinations are available for you should you
wish. Proof of your Hepatitis B status or a signed waiver form is required in order for you to be allowed
into the clinical sites for your externship. No exceptions!

Dental Assisting Malpractice Insurance

The Dental Assisting student can be legally and financially liable if another person is injured as a result of error, omission, or
negligence on the student’s part. Whether a mistake is deemed professional or personal in nature, the student can be held liable
and may be sued individually or along with the dentist.

Professional liability insurance coverage is inexpensive. We encourage students to purchase it along with membership to The
American Dental Assistant’s Association for an additional annual premium of about $10.00 for $1,000,000.00 aggregate coverage.
The instructor will make forms available at graduation.

Injuries during School Hours

If a student is injured while in the classroom or didactic areas, a physician will be seen at the student’s expense and a report of the
incident will be submitted to the Director.

If an injury occurs during clinical experience at a Dental Facility, the student will complete an accident and incident report and will
seek appropriate medical care. Since the student is NOT an employee of the facility, the injury is NOT covered by the facilities
Workmen’s Compensation coverage. All Dental Assisting students should carry current medical insurance coverage to cover these

Statement Regarding Mind-Altering Substances

The faculty of the Dental Assisting Program believes that patients and staff have the right to expect interactions with alcohol/drug-
free students. Substance abuse is a threat to the abuser, patient, and colleagues.

Any student coming to the classroom, laboratory, or clinical site with the odor of alcoholic beverage on his/her person or behaviors
that suggest being impaired by mind altering substance will be subject to disciplinary action and/or dismissal from the program.

Honor Code of Conduct

By becoming a dental assistant you are entering a health PROFESSION. There are many laws that govern
your working behavior including HIPAA privacy laws, consent statutes, OSHA and generally accepted
standards of behavior as outlined by the North Carolina Dental Board. It is important to us at the outset
that you understand and accept these professional guidelines. Failure to live up to them in the working
environment can lead to serious legal trouble for both you and your employer. With that said, from the
moment you start your training, we will expect and hold you to the highest standards.

Your orientation will include the signing of an academic honor code worded to prevent any students from
gaining an unfair advantage over other students through academic misconduct. This code includes not
only rules about your academic behavior, but your professional demeanor as well. Your failure to uphold
the standards therein may result in your dismissal without a refund of your tuition. Judgment is at our
discretion and there is no requirement for a warning.

Academic misconduct is any act that does or could improperly distort student grades or other student academic records. Such acts
include but need not be limited to the following:
 Possessing, using or exchanging improperly acquired written or verbal information in the preparation of any essay,
laboratory report, examination, or other assignment included in the course;
 Unauthorized collaboration with a student in the commission of academic requirements;
 Submission of material that is wholly or substantially identical to that created or published by another person or
persons, without adequate credit notations indicating authorship (plagiarism);
 False claims of performance or work that has been submitted by the claimant;
 Deliberate falsification of a written or verbal statement of fact to a member of the faculty so as to obtain unearned
academic credit;
 Forgery, alteration or misuse of any institute document relating to the academic status of the student.

Professional Code of Conduct:
 I will approach all aspects of my education with honesty and integrity, embracing
opportunities to learn from patients, teachers, and colleagues. I will value and respect the
knowledge and wisdom of others.
 I will maintain the highest standards of professional conduct academically, clinically, and
 I will certify only that which I have personally verified, and I will neither receive nor give
unauthorized assistance on examinations.
 I will recognize my weaknesses and strengths and strive to develop those qualities that will
earn the respect of my patients, my colleagues, my family, and me. I will continue to value
my relations with those who have supported me in the past and those who will share in my
 I will strive to earn the trust my patients place in me and the respect that society places upon
my profession. I will respect the humanity, rights, and decisions of all patients and will attend
to them with compassion and without bias, maintaining patient confidentiality, remaining
tactful in my words and actions.
 I will value the diversity of patients’ experiences, cultures, and beliefs because it enhances my
ability to care for them and enriches my education. I will remember that medicine is an art as
well as a science and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding are integral to patient care.
 As a dental assistant I will remain aware of my responsibilities to improve the standard of
health in my community and to increase access to care for the underserved.
 By accepting these new responsibilities, I will remember the importance of my own health
and well-being as well as those of my colleagues.

 I commit myself to a lifelong journey of learning how to cure, relieve, and comfort with
humility and compassion
 I make this pledge solemnly, freely, and upon my honor.


When a patient enters a health care facility, the facility assumes an obligation to keep in confidence all
that pertains to that patient and his/her affairs. Every person employed in that facility shares this

As a student, it is possible to hear information regarding doctors, assistants, patients, and others, which
must be considered confidential and not discussed with anyone else.

No patient chart shall be copied in total or part. Failure to observe this confidentiality is not only a breach
of ethics,but could involve the student and/or other individuals in legal proceedings and discipline.

Students must sign a Clinical Confidentiality Contract at the beginning of each clinical rotation. Signed
contracts will be kept in each student’s file.

American Dental Assistant’s Association (ADAA)

We strongly suggest that you join the American Dental Assistant’s Association as a student member.

ADAA offers a student membership at a substantially discounted rate of $25.00. Many benefits are
available to the student member.

Volunteer Work

During the length of the Dental Assisting Program, there may be activities and events, which will allow student volunteers. Some of
these events may include, but are not limited to the following:

 Community Service
 Health Fairs – Career Fairs – Club Fairs
 Vocational Education Week activities
 National Children’s Dental Health Month (February)
 Dental Assistant’s Recognition Week (March)
 Seminars and Conventions

Volunteer work helps you gain self-confidence, pride, self-satisfaction, and feelings of belonging. It enhances qualities of leadership,
communication and organization. As a member of the Dental Assisting Program you may have the opportunity to represent yourself
as well as the school in these activities.

Syllabus and Class Schedules

A syllabus is prepared for each of the Dental Assisting courses which contain the goals and objectives for
that individual course. Syllabi should be kept accessible at each class.

Academic Standards

Weekly Module Grades
Each weekly class will be started with a review and questions about the previous week’s material. It is in
your best interest to study and review the assignments outside of class and bring any questions you may
still have with you to the session. At the end of the review, a written examination will be administered
regarding this material. Exams may encompass multiple choice and short description questions. Students
must obtain a grade of 70% or better in order to pass the module. Students who do not obtain a passing
score must make arrangements to retake the examination on their own time before graduation. Students
who fail the retake exam must audit the section in the next available term and again retake the
examination. Students who fail more than two modules are subject to academic review. If it is apparent
that adequate progress cannot be achieved, students may continue to audit the course but will NOT
receive a DAI certificate. Successful completion of the CPR, OSHA and Radiography units may still be
obtained, however, no additional retakes will be allowed. Students may be considered for readmission
into the next available session and given a 50% discount of the then current tuition fee. These cases will
be handled on an individual basis.

CPR Certification
The CPR class is being administered by an accredited American Heart Association agency and you will
receive CPR/AED certification directly from them. Students will be required to satisfactorily pass both the
written and practical examinations.

OSHA Certification
Students must attend the OSHA training module and successfully pass a written examination in
accordance with the standards set by the North Carolina Dental Board.

Dental Radiography
Students will have the opportunity as part of the MDA curriculum to satisfy the requirements towards a
North Carolina Radiography certification. In addition, this course is open to assistants who are required to
have this certification who are working or who wish to work in North Carolina. Students must pass both
the written and clinical portions of this section as defined by the state. You will be allowed to audit this
portion and retake the examination one time in the next available term. Passing the radiography portion is
a prerequisite for successfully passing the MDA course.

Final Examinations and Clinical Performance
A final Examination covering all of the didactic and clinical modules will be administered in the last week
of the MDA program. This exam will count as 40% of your final grade when averaged with your module
grades. A score of 70% or more is required to successfully complete the course.

After completion of the MDA course, you must finish at least 12 hours of internship/externship in an
approved facility. The supervising doctor/hygienist/assistant at that location will review your performance
during your internship/externship and fill out a grading form for you to return to the school. Your
certificates will be awarded once proof of all 12 hours have been received. *YOU WILL
DIRECTOR WITHIN THESE 6 WEEKS. Please note that internship/externship
hours provided before the end of week #11 will not be accepted.


All textbooks and materials required for the Dental Assisting program are provided. A current list of
required and recommended reading is available in each syllabus.

Children on Campus

Children of any age are distracting to the students and instructors and are not allowed to attend any
classes, conferences with instructors, or skills labs (unless the child is to be a patient). College employees
cannot baby-sit or supervise children for students.

Attendance Policy

Attendance requirements will follow the Dental Staff Institute attendance as stated in the college catalog.

DSI recognizes that regular attendance is the student’s responsibility. The instructor may evaluate the lack
of attendance in terms of the course requirements and take a reasonable course of action. Students who miss
class or are absent for any reason are still responsible for completing all course requirements.

DA1 Classes at DSI are designed to follow an accelerated curriculum. Because of this, it is very important
that you commit your class time on your schedule and not miss any modules. Modules may only be
missed in the case of an absolute emergency. Should it be necessary to miss a module, please give as
much advance notice as possible.

Students may miss only one module for a documented emergency. You may study the material at home
and still take the module exam the following week to keep up with your classmates; however, in order to
receive your certification, you must audit the missed module during the next available session. If you did
not pass the examination for that module, you may retake it only after you have audited it.

OSHA, CPR and Radiography modules may not be made up. Should you fail to attend these modules, you
will need to take them at additional cost with us or provide proof that you have obtained those
certifications elsewhere in order to receive your DA1 certificate.

You are expected to be ready to start on time. Tardiness affects not only you. The disruption affects your
classmates as well. A consistent pattern of tardiness will not be tolerated and you may be asked to
withdraw from the course without a tuition refund.

In addition to the above policy, which applies to all DSI courses, the following policies are also in effect:

 Attendance is mandatory for all scheduled class periods and is used as a portion of the grade. The
instructor is not a truant officer, it is the student’s responsibility, not the instructor’s, to make a
contact and obtain any missed assignments, tests, etc. Any assignment due on the day of an
absence will be considered late. No extensions will be given for an assignment given on the day
of an absence unless the appropriate arrangements are completed by the student and approved
by the instructor.

 Attendance and participation is mandatory in all scheduled skills lab experiences. Completion of
the skills covered in the lab is part of the requirement to successfully pass. Failure to complete
the skills within the specified time frame will result in an “unsatisfactory” lab grade.

 Attendance at the assigned clinical facility is mandatory on all scheduled days of clinical
experience. In the event of illness, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the Program Manager
and the clinical facility at least one hour prior to the scheduled arrival time. Should a clinical
absence occur the student is responsible to meet with the Program Manager and arrangements
for remediation will be at the discretion of the Program Manager.

Student Dress Code and Appearance

All students in the Dental Assisting Program will adhere to the following dress code:

 Classroom Theory – street clothes/casual attire
 Lab and Clinical Uniform – solid colored scrub top/scrub pants and solid colored lab jacket are to
be worn, with no midriff showing. Any color of CLEAN nursing shoes, Crocs or sneakers are

In addition to the dress code the following standards of appearance are required for all clinic and lab
days. OSHA standards and guidelines for the dental office will be followed and reinforced while in the
Dental Assisting Program.

 Uniforms – Students are to wear the required uniform for the appropriate day. Uniforms must be
cleaned and pressed if necessary.
 Lingerie – White or nude lingerie is to be worn under the uniform. Absolutely NO prints! All
lingerie must be covered by the uniform at all times.
 Scrub pants must be worn high enough on the hips and tops must come low enough that no
bare skin on the midriff or lingerie is showing. Tops must also modestly cover the cleavage area.
 Hair – Hair must be clean, neat, off the face, and off the collar.
 Make-up – Make-up must be used in moderation. No heavy colognes or perfumes.
 Nails – Finger nails must be kept clean and short: if used, nail polish is to be clear neutral or a
pale muted color. Artificial nails are not acceptable during any portion of the Dental
Assisting program.
 Jewelry and Body Ornaments – A wristwatch with a second hand and a plain wedding band are
the only acceptable pieces of jewelry allowed in the clinical and lab setting. If ears are pierced,
only one pair of small post-type earrings should be worn, absolutely no hoops or dangling
earrings are acceptable. All other forms of decorative jewelry and piercing must be removed or
covered up.
 Oral Piercing – Tongue, lip or cheek piercing is NOT a highly approved or recommend procedure
in the dental profession, therefore is strictly prohibited during the time spent in the Dental
Assisting Program.
 Personal Hygiene – Daily baths, shampoos, and use of a good deodorant are a must. Men are to
be clean-shaven or, if wearing beards or mustaches, are to keep them neat and no longer than 2
inches in length.
 Oral Hygiene – Good oral hygiene is a must since one is expected to set an example for ones’
 Chewing gum is prohibited in all dental lab and clinical settings.
 Professional and appropriate language is a must and will be used in the classroom, lab and
clinical settings at all times.
 The use of cell phones is prohibited while you are in the classroom, lab or clinical. All cell phones
must be turned off during those times.
 You are a guest at the clinical facilities; please be courteous and polite by leaving your personal
affairs at home.

Test Taking Policy

Written module tests will be given at each session following a brief review of the previous week’s material.
Additional skills examinations may be given at the discretion of the instructor with or without advance
notice. If the student is absent on the day of a scheduled test, arrangements to take the test will be made
on an individual basis outside of regular class time. Eighty percent (80%) of the earned score will be
recorded. NO retakes on any test are allowed.

All written finals will be given during the last session prior to your internship. All clinical lab
exercises will be scheduled by the lab instructor. Failure to take the final exam will result in a
failing grade for the class and therefore dismissal from the program.

Deficiency Notices

The purpose of the deficiency notice is to inform the student of his/her status in theory, laboratory, or
clinical learning, if a problem exists, and to provide a means of communication between student and
instructor. A deficiency notice will be sent when:
 There are excess absences in the classroom and/or clinical setting.
 There is a persistent below 70% grade average in one or more subjects.
 Clinical/Laboratory performance and/or behavior are unsatisfactory.

Remediation for Deficiencies

When the faculty identifies that a student’s clinical performance is less than satisfactory, every effort is
made to facilitate student remediation. When the faculty identifies that a student is having academic and/
or study problems, and/or excessive absences, the faculty may recommend to the director that this
student be placed on a contract and the expectations of the faculty clearly defined in writing.

Contractual Agreements

Within the course timeframe, a student who demonstrates minimal success indicating weakness in certain
area of learning will be evaluated on an individual basis. He/She may be given the opportunity to enter
into a written contractual agreement with the instructor and program manager to pursue
recommendations for strengthening identified areas of weakness. These may include but are not limited

 Study Skills classes
 Additional audio-visual material
 Assigned self-study
 Written work
 Learning time with clinical lab instructor and/or peer tutor

The student is responsible for implementing the plan of correction and reviewing it with the program
manager for mutual ongoing evaluation and implementation. Various opportunities are given to every
student to successfully complete all the components of the Dental Assisting Program.

Disciplinary Action

Every effort will be made to help the student succeed in the Dental Assisting Program. Should disciplinary
action be necessary, the degree will depend upon the seriousness of the offense. Disciplinary action may
constitute a request the student leave the program.

Dismissal from the Dental Assisting Program

A student may be requested to leave the program at any time for any of the following reasons:
1. Grades below passing in more than one module.
2. Unsafe or unethical practice in the clinical area; any action or statement that is harmful or
potentially detrimental to the patient:
a. Inability to apply theory to clinical practice
b. Inability to determine capabilities and limitations
c. Inability to follow written and oral instructions
d. Inability to demonstrate assisting at the level of education
e. Any derogatory language or action toward doctors, staff or patients
3. Consistently coming to the classroom or clinical area poorly prepared,
such as, but not limited to:
a. Illness
b. Fatigue from lack of sleep
c. Impaired reflexes and/or judgment
d. Family/ personal crisis
e. Substance abuse
4. False and Fraudulent Behavior – Integrity, honesty, dependability and trustworthiness are the
most important characteristics of a dental assistant. Dishonesty and cheating in any form, in any
area (academic, and/or clinical) denote the lack of these characteristics. A determination that the
student has demonstrated dishonesty/cheating in examinations, written work and/or clinical work
will warrant dismissal from the Dental Assisting Program.

When a student is identified as having a problem serious enough to warrant dismissal from the program,
the following steps are initiated:

1. Student’s problem is identified by the instructor and discussed with the student.
2. The instructor discusses the situation with the school Director.
3. The Director and the instructor confer with the student and if applicable identify remediation
measures and time frame for completion.
4. If remediation is not possible or satisfactory, the student will be asked to withdraw from the

The student is notified of the faculty decisions for dismissal and given an opportunity to meet with the
director and program manager.

Readmission Policies

*Student Withdrawal – A student who withdraws from the Dental Assisting Program is eligible to apply for
readmission to the program on an individual basis.

*Course Failure Withdrawal – A student may apply for readmission to the program or sequence of courses
failed in the next enrollment period. Acceptance will depend on space availability and faculty


Students are responsible for their own transportation to campus, clinical sites and program related field
trips, and therefore it is imperative that each student has access to a reliable vehicle. All theory classes are
held at our main office in Matthews. Clinical experiences are throughout the Charlotte metro area.

Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Exams

National certification for Dental Assistants is available through the Dental Assisting National Board and
consists of a multiple-choice written exam. Students in DSI’s Dental Assisting Program will obtain the
foundation needed to take this examination. After obtaining 3,000 hours (about 2 years) of clinical
experience candidates meeting eligibility requirements as outlined by DANB mat sit to take the exam.
Successful completion of this examination is currently recognized by the State of North Carolina as
providing a DA2 dental assisting certification. *Even
though it is not required in NC, the
Dental Staff Institute encourages you to continue to grow and be successful
in your career. Once you have met your DA2 certifications, we offer several
classes to add additional skills to your armamentarium. Additional
information about the DANB examination can be found online at: