Becoming a Registered Dental Assistant of the ADAA

A registered dental assistant with the American Dental Assistants Association is someone who has paid his or her dues and is a member of the organization. He or she is a certified medical technician or is a student training to become a medical technician, an orthodontic assistant or someone who works in the management portion of the dentist’s office.

It is up to you to weigh the pros and cons of joining this organization before you fill out the application and submit your $110 dollar membership fee. You need to know what your money covers and what you get in return.

The American Dental Assistants Association, otherwise know as the ADAA, has been around for over eighty years and is a professional organization that is recognized for its dedication to helping certified dental care assistants everywhere. They offer a wide range of benefits, such as medical insurance, discounts on travel, discounts on car rentals and much, much more. The membership only costs one hundred and ten dollars and that is for an entire year.

If you have gone through the medical technician classes, then you may be thinking about becoming a registered dental assistant with the ADAA. It pays to be a member of the group but the reality is that the pay is not really going to be influenced very much by that little piece of paper that says you are registered. Most small practices cannot afford to pay their employees the same amount of money that bigger dental practices can pay.

Assistants needed in the field of dentistry are in top demand. If you are thinking about becoming certified, then you will be practically guaranteed a job no matter where you go.

Even if you never take a medical technician training program, you may be able to get a job that offers on the job training. You may even consider going on in your education and becoming a dental hygienist or a dentist. Have you given any thought to becoming an oral surgeon?

A registered dental assistant with the American Dental Assistants Association does have a great support group. They can help you find the job of your dreams as well as provide you with the necessary information you might require to take the examinations and stay abreast of current medical news. Once you become a member of this organization you are also given the opportunity, should you decide to go back to school, to apply for their scholarship.

Dental Hygienist Training: The Programs And Courses Related To This Career Path

Dental hygienist training is becoming a greater need as more and more individuals decide to enter the field of dentistry. The hygienist positions in the dental industry are expected to grow exponentially as it follows the ever-increasing rise in demand for better oral care. The rise in popularity for this job position is due mostly to the low stress levels involved, clean environment to work in, and high rate of pay.

In order to become a dental hygienist, there are a variety of paths that one may take. The individual needs to be accepted into an American Dental Association (ADA) accredited university or institution. After being admitted, they then need to graduate from the school with a certificate, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree in the dental hygiene.

Throughout the nation, over 200 dental hygienist training schools are ADA accredited. It is a must that the individual seeking admittance into one of these dental schools have graduated high school or received their GED.

To complete the certificate or associate’s dental program, the usual term of length for these two programs are two years. For those individuals looking to obtain a bachelor’s degree toward dental hygiene, the estimated completion time is around four years. It is common for many individuals that have an associate’s degree or certification and enter the bachelor’s program to further their education and careers. If looking to obtain a graduate degree after completing the bachelor’s degree, this program usually lasts about two years.

Some of the general study classes that are involved in dental hygienist training are biology, chemistry, and computer science. An example of the classes involved in an oral hygienist major that one might expect to see follow:

1st Semester:

Oral Biology

Dental Radiology

Head and Neck Anatomy

Oral Health Education

Intro to Clinic

Second Semester:

Local Anesthesia and Nitrous Oxide

General and Oral Pathology

Patient Management and Geriatrics

Clinical Practice 1

Nutrition and Dentistry

3rd Semester:

Periodontics 1


Dental Materials

Advanced Clinical Topics

Clinical Practice 2

4th Semester:

Periodontics II

Practice and Financial Management

Clinical Practice 3

Community Dental Healthcare

Jurisprudence and Ethics

Once the student has completed their dental hygienist training at the accredited ADA institution, they then must pass both a clinical and written board exam administered by the state they wish to practice in. Upon passing both exams, the student is then eligible to be licensed as a hygienist in that state. The board examinations come in five different versions, all varying on the region or state that the test is administered. The price to take both of these exams is between $900-$1000 total.

When the student takes the clinical portion of the board examination, they will normally be required to x-ray teeth and read the exposures, check a patient’s teeth and diagnose problems, and also, if properly qualified, administer local anesthesia to a patient.

If the written portion of the examination is necessary, then it will vary depending on the location administered also. Most states will require a multiple choice computerized test varying in length. There are a few states and regions that add essay-style questionnaires and have the student create an actual plan of care. A computerized or written version of the exam is not required by some states.

For those individuals that do complete the dental assistant training, the skills learned will allow them to excel in their future positions. This article should give those seeking new employment into the dental hygiene program a decent outlook of what to expect. I hope this helps.

Pathways to a Dental Practice Purchase – Proceed With Confidence!

Most practice sales are immediate sales. The owner transfers complete ownership to a purchaser and, after a short transition, leaves the practice. There is also a growing trend toward structured or delayed sales leading to complete or fractional ownership (partnership) after a period of association. Delayed sales add a layer of complexity, and accordingly, require a greater amount of preparation and exchange of information.

More than one prospective purchaser has entered a practice as an associate without a clear understanding of the terms of the future buy-out/buy-in. Unfortunately, negotiating purchase terms after the period of association often ends in failure. After investing significant time in the practice and likely signing a restrictive covenant not to compete, the associate’s future is suddenly in jeopardy. This can be avoided by sharing information early in the process.

Regardless of whether it is an immediate or a delayed sale, a prospective buyer should expect to be furnished with preliminary practice information including the applicable business points for the intended association, purchase, and partnership.

Practice Information

The preliminary information should include, but is not limited to, the following:

Practice appraisal. Regardless of whether you plan to purchase the practice immediately or in the future, the first step is to have a qualified party perform a practice appraisal.

Cash flow analysis. The practice must be able to generate enough cash flow after operating expenses to service the debt associated with financing the purchase and still provide a reasonable income. The projected income should be supported by historic practice numbers and not unrealistic future projections.

Fee evaluation. Determine whether the fees are in line for the area.

New patient numbers. An indicator of practice vitality.

Three years of practice financial records (tax returns and financial statements). This is essential to obtain an accurate picture of the practice’s financial performance, including overhead and profit.

Patient chart audit. Verify the number of active patients and the number of patients on recall. Charts should have complete treatment entries, current patient information, and easily discernible treatment plans.

Facility evaluation. Is the d├ęcor up-to-date? Is the dental equipment in good condition or in need of replacement?

Lease evaluation. Examine the lease terms compared to the surrounding market. A lender will require a lease for at least the length of the note if third party financing is involved.

Treatment mix. Does specialized treatment comprise a significant portion of the practice? Are you trained to provide this treatment?

Payer mix. Carefully evaluate all sources of income and any insurance plans in which the practice participates. Can these plans be transferred?

Recall. Ideally, 22 percent or more of the total production in a typical general practice is derived from hygiene production.

Compare major expenses to industry standards. The percentage of total practice income for major expenses (typical general practice): rent 6 to 6.5 percent, lab 8 to 10 percent, dental supplies 6 to 6.5 percent, office supplies 1.5 to 2 percent, and total staff expenses 30 percent or less.

Association Business Points

The following points should be addressed if considering an association:

Practice income. The practice should have the ability to provide an additional dentist’s income.

Facility. Be sure the practice facility is large enough to support an additional dentist.

Staff. Be sure you have the total support of the staff.

Business relationship. Define the relationship between the owner/seller and associate/purchaser. The association can be either an employer-employee relationship or an independent contractor relationship.

Termination. Delineate the termination policy. Specify the causes for involuntary termination and the notice period for voluntary termination.

Compensation. Compensation should be clearly defined. Compensation based on a formula is typically a percentage of production or collections that may include a draft against future earnings. Alternatively, compensation may be set up as a base payment plus incentive bonuses. Ask for an illustration of the calculation for compensation.

Service parameters. Define service parameters. Specify whether the associate will devote all professional time to the practice, or whether he or she will work limited days or hours.

Expense allocations. Specify who will be responsible for the cost of professional licenses, dues, continuing education seminars, health insurance, malpractice insurance, benefit plans, dental and office supplies, laboratory expenses, and staff salaries.

Time off. Outline a time off policy. How many days will be allowed for vacation, personal time, or attendance at continuing education seminars? How much advance notice will be required for time off?

Covenants. Agree on any covenants. Restrictive covenants, such as non-disclosure of confidential information and non-compete clauses, are typically included in associate agreements. A non-compete clause may have a different effective date than the associate agreement.

Purchase Business Points

The following points should be addressed if considering a future purchase:

Practice value. It is not enough to know the current practice value if the purchase price will be different in the future. Agree in advance on exactly how the value of the practice will be determined in the future.

Assets. Identify the assets of the practice. All assets of the practice being sold should be identified. Assets excluded from the purchase should also be identified.

Asset allocation. Determine how assets will be allocated. The purchase price must be allocated among the assets and reported consistently by both the seller and purchaser. This decision has tax consequences for both parties.

Leased and licensed assets. Determine what assets are leased or licensed. If certain assets such as dental software are leased or licensed, determine whether the leases and licenses are assignable. If there is a fee for transfer, specify who will be responsible for the fee.

Closing and transfer dates. Determine when the closing and transfer will occur. The transfer of physical ownership and control of the practice may take place at the time of closing, or at a specified date in the future. A closing date different from the transfer date is commonly used in a delayed sale.

Accounts receivable. Determine how accounts receivable will be addressed. The accounts receivable may be purchased or retained by the seller.

Covenant not to compete. The seller will be expected to agree to a non-compete agreement containing reasonable time and distance terms.

Partnership Business Points

The following major areas should be addressed if considering a future partnership:

Decision-making authority. When matters arise that require input and approval from partners, they must usually be approved by a predetermined percentage of the owners. Depending on the matter, certain management decisions may require a simple majority, super-majority, or unanimous consent. Matters requiring different voting percentages for approval should be delineated.

Succession planning. What happens if one of you dies, becomes disabled and unable to work, becomes divorced, or decides to retire? Determine in advance the mechanism for the sale of a partner’s interest for each situation. It is usually preferable for a buy out at death or permanent disability to be funded by insurance.

Profits and loss distribution. Partners should reach an agreement on how profit and loss will be distributed. Distributions may be made several different ways: pro rate to each partner’s production, by ownership percentage, or by a combination of the two. Some partnerships choose to use a detailed expense allocation to each partner’s individual revenues to determine each partner’s income.

Dental Assistant Study Options

Working with a dentist, while helping with patient care is called chair-side assisting. The work is formally referred to as dental assisting and students can step into the profession after learning about dental assistant study options and completing an educational program. No state educational requirements exist to become a dental assistant; however earning an education is extremely beneficial in both acquiring a position and understanding all work-related duties.

Through a standard curriculum student’s learn to assist in clinical and administrative duties. Vocational school education can lead to earning a certificate, diploma, or an associate’s degree. Schooling teaches students to understand how to provide patient care by using the industry’s equipment to perform clinical procedures.

The shortest educational option is completing a certificate program. Students can expect to finish a program in less than one-year. Curriculum encompasses both classroom and laboratory requirements. Students can expect to take courses that could include:

  • Dental Science
  • Office Practices
  • Chair-side Assisting

The process of disinfecting instruments and preparing a room for a certain dental procedure is learned through courses like these and more. Training in administrative duties is covered to teach students to update medical records, pay bills, and order supplies. Education provides students with the correct knowledge to gain licensure.

Diploma programs take one-year to complete and teach students a wider range of knowledge. The procedures and different equipment used inside an office are covered. Students gain traditional skills by completing dental procedures inside the classroom. Educational courses expand to include both general science and dental assisting courses. Topics may include:

  • Human Biology
  • Dental Office Management
  • Oral Anatomy

The skills learned include understanding what materials are needed to conduct impressions and generate dental x-rays. Some clinical work that students are prepared to handle include removing stitches and administering gum anesthetics. Care instruction teaches students to help make patients feel comfortable. Courses also teach students to explain good oral health and dental operations to patients. The work done allows students to step into a career prepared.

The most all-inclusive educational option that prepares students thoroughly for dental assisting work is an associate’s degree program. Students are taught how to conduct all assisting procedures as well as administrative work. Education is extended over two years allowing students more time to learn techniques and gain a solid base in the dental field. Courses taken may include:

  • Dental Radiology
  • Lab Techniques

The field is growing and more states are allowing assistants to conduct more clinical duties. Inside an associate’s degree students are learning the latest in dental technology and preparing to take on more responsibilities in the workplace. Expanded tasks include coronal polishing and recuperative dental procedures. Students are also trained to remove extra dental cement from teeth and perform dental dams. Licensure requirements differ between states leaving students with the responsibility of taking the correct certification exams.

The dental assistant field is expanding and students can begin a career by starting education. Many accredited dental assistant schools and colleges offer programs and students can chose which path to take. The Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training ( ) can provide full accreditation to quality education programs. Begin the educational process by entering a certificate, diploma, or associate’s degree program.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised on our website.

Copyright 2010 – All rights reserved by PETAP, LLC.

Managing Your Time Between Multiple Dental Practices

There may come a time in your career when you decide to work for a company or dentist that has more than one office. Retail dental clinics are on the rise because they offer patients more affordable fees and more convenient hours, and with the way the economy is and factoring in so many people do not have dental insurance, these clinics are becoming extremely busy and popular. More dentists are also opening up multiple practices due to the addition of an associate or because they may want to expand their dental practices to other demographic areas. Being a dental office manager over several offices is very rewarding, but it can also be extremely stressful. There are several ways to alleviate this stress, and they are as simple as managing your time and having the right dental team behind you.

Time Management

Sometimes it is not always possible to follow a set schedule when you are managing several dental offices. As difficult as it is, you should try to set a schedule that puts you in each office at a particular day and time. Of course things do happen that we cannot control leading to changes, but overall it is best to try and stick to a schedule. When you are in the office, you need to prioritize your duties and manage the time spent on them. You need to be able to use your time efficiently while ensuring your team is also completing duties in your absence and using their time productively.

Appoint Someone to Manage in Your Absence

If you work for a dental practice that has multiple practices all running at the same time, you should consider appointing someone at the front desk to manage in your absence. If you are twenty miles away, someone needs to know how to handle situations as they arise. When choosing someone for this responsibility, you want to make sure that they have the experience to back it up and that it is someone trustworthy. Keep in mind, whoever you choose, represents you. It would be a good idea to invest in a dental practice management program that can train your team in all aspects of the front office.

Be Available

Being a manager of one office is a commitment, taking on more than one is a huge commitment. You need to be available for all offices. Phone calls and emails need to be answered in a timely manner and issues need to be addressed immediately. If you are given the responsibility of managing multiple dental offices, it would be best to have a cell phone that is just for work that you are able to answer emails from. This will keep you connected when you are in other offices or on the road. Set limits to when you are to receive calls, this phone should be reserved for business hours or emergencies only.

The most important thing is to have confidence in yourself and your team. Knowing your job and knowing you have a great team behind you will help ease the stress you may be feeling. Make sure you add office meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page and all offices are consistent in their policies, procedures, and training. Take the time to prioritize and manage your own time and you will succeed!