To be successful in the Dental Assistant program and become employable, the student must be able to perform essential functions expected of the DA (see list below). Please contact the DA program regarding questions or concerns about these requirements.
Students must have the physical, intellectual and emotional abilities to provide safe patient care; visual acuity, hearing, speech, manual dexterity, physical strength and endurance must be maintained as well. The practice of dental assisting requires the following functional abilities with or without reasonable accommodations:
Visual acuity (clearness of vision)
With or without corrective lenses sufficient to assess patients and their own environments.
Detect changes in skin color or condition; collect data from recording equipment and measurement devices used in patient care; detect a fire in a patient area and initiate emergency action; reading and following instructions pertaining to dental materials; ability to perform oral procedures involving fine detail, including the use of indirect field of vision.
With or without hearing aids to hear a patient’s call for help, to auscultate a patient’s vital signs and their own environment.
Detect sounds related to bodily functions using a stethoscope; detect audible alarms within the frequency and volume ranges of sounds generated by mechanical systems that monitor bodily functions; hear clearly during telephone conversations; effectively hear to communicate with patients and other healthcare team members.
Olfactory ability (smells)
Detect smoke from burning materials; detect odors from hazardous material spills.
Tactile ability (sense of touch)
Read and record patient vital signs; detect unsafe temperature levels in heat-producing devices used in patient care; perform intra-oral patient care procedures; detect anatomical abnormalities.
Strength and Mobility
Ability to lift 25lbs; prolonged time sitting and/or standing on feet (8-12 hours); repetitive bending and twisting.
Ability to speak, comprehend, read, and write in English
Able to question the patient about their condition; accurately relay information about the patient both verbally and in written communication to others.
Fine motor skills (ability to make movements using the small muscles in your hands or wrists)
Demonstrate eye/hand coordination; safely dispose of needles in sharps containers; manipulate small equipment and small dental instruments; manipulate dental materials; handle and pass dental instruments; place and move instruments in oral cavity.
Emotional stability to function effectively under stress
Ability to adapt to changing situations and to follow through on assigned patient care responsibilities.
Cognitive ability (reasoning and/or thinking)
Ability to collect, analyze and apply information.
Ability to make clinical judgments and manage decisions that promote positive patient outcomes.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991 (ADA) mandates that reasonable accommodations must be made for individuals with disabilities. Any student who may need an accommodation for a disability should make an appointment with the Program Director and the Disability Resource Center.