The Basics of Dental Assistance

The Dental Assisting program at Pickens Technical College is a popular one that teaches students to be contributing members of the dental profession. Dental assistants work with the dentist at the chair side in the dental office, providing support to dentists and patients. Experienced dental assistants perform direct patient care functions such as taking x-rays and tooth impressions, and providing preventative education and nutritional counseling as needed. They also handle clerical and reception work at many offices as well. Dentists are relying increasingly more on their assistants to keep customers relaxed and happy when they visit the dentist—no easy task.

But it’s that difficult task that the dental assistant’s profession is given more and more often. Working with diverse populations is a skill that is increasing demand in the dental world as well, especially in large metro areas like Denver.

Aside from learning the basic tasks that a dental assistant has to undertake on a day-to-day basis, PTC’s program also focuses on critical thinking, effective communication, information and technology literacy, quantitative reasoning, and professionalism. These skills are particularly important in today’s changing dental profession, where making patients comfortable, no matter who they are or where they come from, is paramount.

Students who complete the Dental Assisting course at PTC will earn a Dental Assisting certificate and will be qualified to enroll in the Expanded Duty Dental Assisting (EDDA) Program, also offered at PTC.

Meet the Instructors

With the addition of newcomers Cathy Mauricio and Heidi Heath last year, the PTC Dental Assisting program now has three experienced, engaging instructors to help students enter the dental assisting profession. Mauricio teaches both EDDA and Dental Assisting at PTC. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Colorado and attended dental school at San Martin University in Lima, Peru.

Heidi Heath is a PTC graduate who cut her teeth, so to speak, in the dental industry by completing a 300-hour internship at a particularly busy dental practice before returning to PTC to teach up-and-coming dental assistants this year.

Heath continues to work as a temp EDDA to help her stay connected with the rapidly changing field and help her students even more. She is on the Advisory Board Committee at Pickens and believes in PTC’s mission to provide students with hands-on learning in environments as close to the real thing as possible.

The veteran of the Dental Assisting instructors is Chuck Lee, a licensed dentist in the state of Colorado and a PTC instructor for the past six years. Lee spent 25 years in the dental industry after earning his dental degree from the University of Colorado. He founded his own private practice in 1989. Lee has seen it all as a dentist and knows what students need to know to be successful.

The dental profession is changing because its patients are constantly changing. PTC’s Dental Assisting program ensures that its students are prepared to meet these changes and challenges head-on with experiential learning and an emphasis on making patients of all kinds feel welcome.

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