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The Dental Assisting program at Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School in Vancouver is split into 2 separate yet equally important parts: classroom study and a hands-on internship. In today’s post, we’ll talk about what you can expect to learn during your internship and how it will prepare you for your career as a Dental Assistant.

Where to complete your internship?

Your Dental Assisting internship (also commonly called an externship if you do at a different office ) must be completed at a dental practice. There is simply no substitute for the hands-on learning and real-world skills developed when working with other dental professionals and real patients.

At many other Dental Assisting programs in the Portland and Vancouver area, it is the student’s responsibility to research, contact, interview, and secure their own position as an intern. At Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School, we believe our students should focus on their education.

You should not have to stress and devote time and effort to finding your internship. That’s why our students are encouraged to complete their internship at our on-site spa-like dental practice which has 150+ 5 star reviews

What will you learn in your internship?

You will shadow and observe for the first 4 weeks in the program, then once you receive your RDA certification and feel more confident on patient protocols we will slowly transition you to work on patients. We always seek permission from our patients so that they know your are still learning. A big “thank you” to those patients who are willing to help our students learn!

By the end of your internship, you’ll know how to:

  • Clean and sterilize a dental treatment room
  • Wearing Protective Personnel Equipment properly
  • Learning how to pass instruments to doctor or hygienist
  • Multitasking to achieve the efficiency of the appointment
  • Autoclave dental instruments
  • Practice cleaning and maintenance of high-speed handpieces and dental equipment
  • Rinse a patient’s mouth
  • Child and Adult Cleaning and prophylaxis
  • Placing sealants on children and adolescents
  • Communication skills to comfort difficult and high anxiety patients
  • Setting up Nitrous Oxide Conscious sedation
  • Comforting a patient during anesthesia
  • Safely take and mount digital dental x-rays
  • Mold and fabricate a temporary crown
  • Taking alginate impressions
  • Make a custom set of teeth whitening trays
  • Placing matrix band on premolars and molars
  • Instrument set up and assisting for composite fillings
  • Instrument set up and assisting simple and surgical extractions

You’ll also get the opportunity to assist during procedures like: denture placements, oral surgery, root canals, and other advanced procedures.

Questions to ask during your internship

You’re expected to be an active participant in your Dental Assisting internship. Listen to the professionals you’re learning from, but speak up and ask questions like:

  • Why is ________ important?
  • What’s a common mistake made when __________? And how do I avoid it?
  • What should I do if ______________?
  • How does ___________ work?
  • Are there any tricks to make ____________ easier?
  • How was my work on ____________? Are there any tips you can give me to do better next time?

Be inquisitive and look for opportunities to develop your skills beyond the basics. As you’re getting a feel for your responsibilities and tasks, ask for opportunities to keep learning and pushing yourself. Ask about books and industry publications to read.

In short, take initiative!

Frequently asked questions about your Dental Assisting internship

Is it a paid position?
No. Because your internship is part of your course of study it is unpaid. But the experience you gain will be invaluable as you prepare to work as a Dental Assistant.

Will I work with patients on my first day?
Most Dental Assisting internships don’t throw students right into the deep end. You can expect to begin by receiving training from Hygienists, dentists, and other practice employees. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll get eased into patient-care situations — under close supervision of course.

Remember, during your internship you’ll likely do everything from work in the front of the office to assist with procedures, so be ready for anything!

Do I need to bring anything?
In most internships, Dental Assisting students will be provided scrubs and other necessary equipment. However, it’s a great idea to bring a pen and notepad. Write down everything you need to do so you can refer back to it later. Don’t be afraid to ask questions but don’t make the mistake of asking the same thing over and over.

REMEMBER: At Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School, you can also bring a family member! They’ll receive a 30% discount on needed treatment and you’ll be allowed to assist on one procedure that they’ll receive free of charge.

What happens after my internship is over?

After you’ve completed your Dental Assisting program you’ll be ready to pursue a career as a Dental Assistant in the state of Washington. Your internship instructors and the Hygienists and technicians you work with are great people to ask for assistance. They may know of a dental practice looking to hire a Dental Assistant and they may also act as valuable professional references.

Students who complete a Dental Assisting internship become aware of other potential career opportunities in the field of dentistry. You may find that you have an interest in additional education and pursuing a career as a:

  • Dental Anesthesia Assistant
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Office Manager

Launch your dental career here

Are you interested in a career as Dental Assistant? You’ll love the fast-paced program at Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School. Tuition is only $3,995 and financial assistance is available. In addition to guaranteed internship placement at our affiliated dental practice students also love our:

  • 12-week program – You’ll start your career before you know it
  • Flexible scheduling – Includes evening and weekend class options
  • Experienced instructors – Our program instructors have more than 25 years experience and are experts at teaching their skills to students like you

In addition to your internship, you’ll complete 144 hours of classroom study where you’ll study:

  • Dental Anatomy and dental physiology
  • Dental charting
  • Dental equipment and technology
  • Radiography and dental imaging
  • Safety and sterilization
  • Protective Personnel Equipment usage
  • Theory and techniques behind the skills you’ll practice during your internship

And a lot more from our experienced instructors !

Contact us to schedule a visit and question-and-answer session with our experienced instructors or to start the application process.