Germanna Community College is developing a new Dental Assistant II program to meet the growing demand for dental care, especially for Medicaid patients, in the service region—city of Fredericksburg and counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania, Culpeper, Orange, King George, Caroline and Madison. The Dental Assistant II curriculum will then be made available to other colleges in the Virginia Community College System.
The Dental Assistant II program trains dental assistants to perform new, additional, expanded dental assistant duties. This in turn, “frees up” dentists, allowing them more time to treat more individuals needing dental care. The Dental Assistant II program provides direct benefits to citizens of the community by allowing more individuals to receive dental treatment and care.
The Dental Assistant II program development is complete. Five courses are included in the curriculum; each may be taken independently or taken collectively, depending on the student’s needs and interests:
- Dental Anatomy and Operative Dentistry, a 50-hour hybrid course;
- Amalgam Restorations, a 40-hour course;
- Composite Resin Restorations, a 60-hour course;
- Final Impressions, a 20-hour course; and,
- Final Cementation of Crowns and Bridges, a 30-hour course.
Laboratory skills practice and supervised clinical components will also be scheduled.
The prerequisites for student admission include the following: Current Certificate in Dental Assisting (CDA). Applicants who have graduated from an accredited Dental Assistant program may waive the 50-hour Dental Anatomy and Operative Dentistry course. In addition, all applicants must complete and submit Dental Assistant II program application, available through the Workforce department.
The new Dental Assistant II program is designed in accordance with the Virginia Board of Dentistry Regulations, and taught to laboratory/preclinical competence.
Measuring the Impact
Germanna’s Dental Assistant II program assures quality by working closely with subject matter experts who are both leaders in their field of practice (dentistry), and skilled in instructional design modalities. In addition to being curriculum developers, they are also skilled instructors, able to bridge the gap between “theoretical” information and “real-world application.” Their skills in curriculum development and instruction ensure a quality experience for students, who provide needed dental services to the community. Our subject matter experts have researched national best-practices in the delivery of Dental Assistant II programs and curriculum design.
Working Together to Help Patients
College staff and curriculum developers engage the dental community (dental offices, current dental hygiene students, and past graduates) through site visits, mailings, employer advisory committee communications, website announcements, and social media. The Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic and Piedmont Regional Dental Clinic staffs have participated in the planning of the upcoming program. These clinics also assist in the scheduling and oversight of student clinical experiences.
Germanna Community College Dental Assistant II Program Experts:
- Dr. Hugh Teller, DDS, Curriculum Subject Matter Expert and Dentist in Locust Grove
- Ms. Misty Mesimer, RDH, MSCH, CDA, Local Coordinator for GCC’s Dental Hygiene Program, and Director of GCC’s Dental Assisting Program
- Martha O’Keefe, Project Lead, and Dean, Workforce and Professional Development, Germanna Center for Workforce and Community Education
Participating Dental Clinics:
- Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic – Opened in 1993, the Moss Free Clinic began as a grass-roots effort to provide basic health care to people who are not eligible for government assistance, who do not have health insurance, and who fall within designated federal poverty guidelines. Its mission is to: provide free of charge, nondiscriminatory, quality health care services to the medically indigent residents throughout the jurisdictions of Caroline, Fredericksburg, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford (also called Planning District 16).
- Piedmont Regional Dental Clinic – The Piedmont Regional Dental Clinic, Inc. (PRDC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing low-cost dental services to underserved residents in the Piedmont region of Virginia who do not have dental insurance and financially qualify or who are covered by Virginia Medicaid.