What to Expect from a Dental Assisting Diploma Program

Author: Casey Sharp, Risio Dental Institute
Connect with Risio Institute via our Dental Business Directory

If you’re considering a career as a dental assistant, you may be wondering what to expect from a dental assisting program. A dental assisting program is designed to provide you with the knowledge, skills, and practical experience you need to become a valuable member of a dental team. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what you can expect from a typical dental assisting program.

Overview of a Dental Assisting Program

Earning the right qualifications to become a dental assistant can look different depending on where you’re training and where you want to work. The curriculum is designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the duties and responsibilities of a dental assistant.

At Risio Institute for Digital Dental Education, we incorporate an educational model called ‘Work-Integrated Learning’. We wanted to ensure that our learners are immersed in the dental office setting, learning everything they possibly can about the dynamics of dentistry. With that as our foundation, we built the program to work around the busy schedule of a dental office, and the busy schedule of a working student.


In a dental assisting program, you’ll typically take courses in the following areas:

  1. Anatomy and Physiology: You’ll learn about the structure and function of the human body, with a focus on the head, neck, and oral cavity.
  2. Dental Terminology: You’ll learn the language of dentistry, including terms related to dental procedures, instruments, and materials.
  3. Dental Radiography: You’ll learn the basics of dental radiography, including how to take and process dental X-rays.
  4. Dental Materials: You’ll learn about the materials used in dentistry, including filling materials, cements, and impression materials.
  5. Infection Control: You’ll learn about the importance of infection control in a dental office, including how to prevent the spread of disease.
  6. Chairside Assisting: You’ll learn the skills necessary to assist a dentist during procedures, including how to pass instruments, maintain a clear field of vision, and retract soft tissues.

Clinical Experience

In addition to coursework, a dental assisting program will include clinical experience. At Risio Institute, we know that hands-on experience is needed to develop many key dental assisting skills, and we built the curriculum accordingly.

Risio’s in-person training includes:

  • A 12-day clinical module at the end of term 1, where students get hands-on experience with foundational skills
  • A 9-day clinical module at the end of term 2, where students focus on advanced skills and specialty areas
  • An in-office practicum of 120 hours, where students practice the skills they’ve learned in a real dental office

During your clinical experience, you’ll have the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you’ve learned in theory.


Upon completion of the Risio Institute Dental Assisting program, graduates are eligible to write the National NDAEB exam and upon successful completion of the exam, apply for registration in their province.


A dental assisting program can provide you with the knowledge, skills, and practical experience you need to start a career in the dental field. By taking courses in anatomy and physiology, dental terminology, dental radiography, dental materials, infection control, and chairside assisting, you’ll be well-prepared to assist a dentist during procedures.

Choosing to earn your diploma at Risio Institute can make you more competitive by giving you skills you won’t find elsewhere in Canada. It can also save you money by reserving your in-person training hours for the places where they really count and allowing you to learn the theory you’ll need in a flexible online environment.

About the Authors: Casey Sharp & Carey Thurlow, Co-Founders of Risio Institute.
At Risio Institute for Digital Dental Education, students from anywhere in Canada can earn the required credentials for a career in dental assisting. Our online courses include Dental Assistant Diploma (Level II), Dental Aide (dental basics & sterilization) and Orthodontic module for dental assistants.

Connect with Risio Institute via our Dental Business Directory

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