Course Info

National Dental Academy courses consist of 10 Saturdays of classroom and clinical instruction, 60 hours of home study, and an opportunity for 10-15 hours of practical “on-the-job” dental assisting training. During your studies as an NDA student, you will learn the operation of all equipment, instrumentation, and materials commonly used by chairside assistants in general dental practices. You will also receive significant clinical training in the typical everyday functions and responsibilities of dental assistants. National Dental Academy’s curriculum is high quality and thorough to prepare students for better careers as educated, certified dental professionals.

NDA Dental Assistant Course Outline

National Dental Academy training to become a dental assistant consists of 10 Saturday classes. All NDA class days are comprised of four hours for morning lectures, a break for lunch, and four hours of afternoon clinicals. National Dental Academy’s host dental offices offer three 10-Saturday course sessions a year. Find the NDA campus nearest you and view upcoming class dates on our Campuses & Schedules page. Students are required to attend all 10 classes of their course session.

Below is a breakdown of what is covered in each of NDA’s 10 classes:

Class 1: General introduction to terminology and equipment (Chapter One)

Dental Theory and Terminology

  1. Dental and oral anatomy, tooth identification and numbering system
  2. Instrument nomenclature and identification for all aspects of General Dentistry
  3. Dental terminology
  4. Equipment operation, chair positioning, assistant equipment usage
  5. Treatment options available, depending on oral conditions
Class 2: Radiology theory and practice of intraoral and extraoral x-ray techniques, x-ray safety and darkroom procedures (Chapter Three)


  1. X-ray theory and technique, use of Rinn© holders and other methods
  2. Intraoral, bite-wing, panoramic and endodontic exposure methods
  3. Developing x-rays using the automatic processor
  4. Darkroom care and maintenance
  5. X-ray identification, interpretation, safety and precautions
Class 3: Amalgam and composite mixing and curing, cements and liners, alginate impressions (upper arch), model pouring and trimming (Chapter Six)

Cements and Liners

  1. Introduction to various cements and liners used in dentistry
  2. Practice mixing cements and liners
Class 4: Four-handed dentistry, aspiration, instrument transfer, isolation (dry field), patient positioning and handpiece maintenance methods (Chapter Four)

Four-Handed Dental Assisting

  1. Instrument transfer techniques, chair-side assisting and patient suctioning
  2. Chair-side doctor-patient-assistant positioning
  3. Tub and tray systems of instruments and materials
  4. Familiarity and use of instruments and materials in assisting for:
    • Operative Dentistry-amalgam and composite restorations
    • Oral Surgery – instruments, procedures and post-op protocol
    • Crown and Bridge – polyvinyl “gun type” impression taking, temporary fabrication, cord
      packing, hemostatic agents, introduction into various crown types
    • Endodontics – instruments, medicaments and materials: how and why they are used
    • Periodontics – disease origin and usual treatment methods
    • Pedodontics – commonalty and differences in treating children vs. adult patients
Class 5: Endodontic and orthodontic instruments, materials and procedures, job interview techniques (Chapter Eight)

Job Interview and Placement Assistance

  1. Proper image, dress, resume, and how to prepare for the job interview itself
  2. Difficult questions you may face – how to answer them
  3. Do’s and don’ts during the interview, what to expect
Class 6: Mid Term Exam Oral Surgery and periodontal instruments and materials and alginate impressions- lower arch (Chapter Nine)

Impressions and Model Trimming

  1. Impression materials and practice in their uses: alginates, poly vinyl siloxane, etc.
  2. Wax bites, counter impressions
  3. Model pouring and trimming
Class 7: Amalgam and Composite materials and instrumentation and sterilization methods (Chapter Five)

Sterilization Techniques

  1. Sterilization theory and terminology, autoclave operation
  2. Instrument and equipment sterilization / disinfection
  3. Treatment room disinfection and asepsis techniques
  4. Handpiece care and maintenance
Class 8: Office Management, front desk operation, appointments, billing and insurance. OSHA regulations as it applies to dental assisting (Chapter Two)

Receptionist – Front Desk Office Management

  1. Phone techniques and appointment book control
  2. Billing: accounts receivable and accounts payable, collections
  3. Filing insurance forms and pre-treatment estimates
  4. Insurance terminology
Class 9: Crown and bridge instruments and materials, making temporary restorations, and wax bites (Chapter Seven)

Making temporaries and wax bites

  1. Taking impressions with Arch trays, Triple trays and Quad trays
  2. Size and fit aluminum shell crown
  3. Fabricating an acrylic temporary crown
  4. Using the wax try material to fabricate a wax bite
Class 10: FINAL EXAM AND PRACTICAL EXAM, pedodontic assisting, course review (Chapter Ten)

Graduation and awarding of certificates and pins

  1. Group Discussion over Pediatric patients in the practice and office policy towards undesirable
  2. Final exam
For course materials (including textbook title), attendance requirements, information about grading, and other administrative course info, view National Dental Academy’s policies. Our mission is to provide effective, affordable dental training that is educational, convenient, and practical. We strive for excellence.

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