The Army Dental Assistant program provides students with formal education and training that develops them into entry-level dental assistants within fixed and deployable medical facilities.
Students are trained in the basic dental disciplines of: head anatomy, elementary physiology, dental administration, and dental procedures. Performance-based training is conducted for: infection control, general chairside and surgical assisting, and radiology procedures in simulated and on-the-job clinical environments. Students mix dental materials, maintain dental equipment, and perform basic oral hygiene procedures. Dental skill demonstrations and practice are provided in laboratory settings.
Additionally, the program utilizes a Field Training Exercise (FTX) with the appropriate rigor and simulated patient care in the field hospital setup and the Dental Company Area Support (DCAS) role in deployed theaters of operation. This gives the students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the proper care and maintenance of the Field Dental Equipment sets that they will encounter with the current deploying dental units.
Students must demonstrate entry-level mastery of the following: professional behavior, written and verbal communication, chairside assisting skills, radiology, and general skills including safety, charting, infection control (via Central Sterilization Room), and patient verification.
The instructional design of this program’s courses is group lockstep. Methods of instruction include, but are not limited to: lecture, demonstration, online materials, simulations, laboratory practice, and practical exercises. Quality control and safety techniques are emphasized throughout the program. With the implementation of the FTX, students will have to ensure they continue their learning process when they are assigned to medical treatment facilities (MTF). Once assigned to the MTFs, it will be the gaining unit's and the student's responsibility to gain exposure to clinical rotations in a dental clinic or the oral surgery wing of the hospital allowing them to be active participants in chairside dentistry to include, but not limited to, the following: operative procedures, sick call/exams, oral surgery, endodontics, and prosthodontics.