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Dental Assisting - Introduction

The Allied Dental Education program will not be accepting applications into the Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting programs.

The Dental Assistant's Scope of Practice

The dental assistant's scopes of responsibilities are determined by educational preparation, type of practice and the laws of the state in which one is employed. Chairside dental assisting duties include preparing the patient for treatment, sterilizing and selecting instruments, assembling materials and equipment, organizing the work area, assisting the dentist in all phases of treatment, exposing, processing and mounting dental radiographs, providing instruction in oral hygiene and nutrition, and performing a variety of intraoral expanded functions. Other responsibilities include office management duties, which include scheduling appointments, maintaining patient records and financial accounts, preparing insurance forms, collecting payments, and ordering and maintaining supplies. Dental assistants also perform laboratory procedures such as pouring impressions, trimming study models, fabricating custom trays and preparing base plates and bite rims.

Expanded Functions

The New Jersey Dental Auxiliaries Act of 1979 provides for the extension of the functions normally performed by dental assistants to include additional intraoral procedures that can be legally performed. Examples of these duties include cementing of crowns, taking preliminary for study models impressions and performing some orthodontic functions. The teaching of expanded functions is an integral component of the Rutgers curriculum which leads to employment opportunities in diverse practice settings. Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible to sit for the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination. Once a CDA, the graduate is automatically eligible for the New Jersey RDA (Registered Dental Assistant) credential upon passing the Ethics and Jurisprudence Examination administered by the Board of Dentistry of New Jersey. Graduates are also eligible to sit for the LRT (D) examination for licensure in Dental Radiography in New Jersey.

Rutgers SHP provides opportunities for Certified/Registered Dental Assistants to continue their education to obtain a baccalaureate degree in the Bachelor of Science in Health Science (BSHS)-Allied Dental Concentration program. Opportunities for advanced standing in the Dental Hygiene Program are also available.


The Rutgers Dental Assisting Program prepares the student for work as a valuable member of the dental health care team and for diverse career opportunities. In order to expose students to the most modern equipment and advanced treatment techniques, the facilities of the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine and the SHP Scotch Plains Dental Suite are utilized. Prospective dental assisting students must possess manual dexterity, good vision, and optimal oral and personal hygiene habits. Upon completion of the program, the student will be able to perform the following functions:

  • Assist the dentist in all phases of patient treatment
  • Sterilize instruments
  • Prepare treatment rooms
  • Provide patient education and nutritional counseling
  • Arrange and confirm appointments
  • Prepare dental insurance claims
  • Expose, process, and mount radiographs
  • Perform a variety of intra-oral expanded functions
  • Fabricate mouth guards
  • Work as members of the dental health team
  • Perform basic laboratory procedures
  • Select and transfer instruments to the dentist

The Dental Assisting Program was established in 1972 and is fully accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA), Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Over the years, the School has graduated many well qualified dental assistants. Many of these chairside assistants work in private practice, although a variety of employment opportunities are available. Career ladder graduates include dental hygiene, dentistry, teaching, research and business.

All General Education Credits may not be acceptable for transfer. The affiliates maintain policies which outline residency requirements regarding transfer credits. Students taking general education courses will be required to register for the following number of credits at one of the designated affiliate institutions.


Brookdale Community College

10 cr.

Essex County College

10 cr.

Ocean County College

10 cr.

Raritan Valley Community College

10 cr.

Sussex County Community College

                      10 cr.   

Thomas Edison State College

6 cr.

Union County College

5 cr.


Brookdale Community College
Ms. Beth Stryker - bstryker@

(732) 224-2330

Ocean County College
Ms. Mary Fennessy -

(732) 755-0400

ext. 2423

Raritan Valley Community College
Ms. Kathleen E. Michell -

(908)526 1200
ext. 8629

Sussex County Community College
Ms. Mary Ellen Donner -

(973) 300-2108

Thomas Edison State College
SHP Enrollment Svcs: shrpadm@shp.rutgers.eduTESC:

(888) 442-8372

(973) 972-5454

Union County College

(908) 709-7596

Please click Link for: Questions and Answers for Dental Assisting (or)

Contact the Office of Admissions: (973) 972-5336 or (973) 972-1844

Dental Assistants practicing expanded functions

Director: Carolyn Breen, Ed.D., RDH, RDA, CDA

Professional Orzganizations:

American Dental Assistants Association

New Jersey Dental Assistants Association

American Dental Association:








Rutgers School of Health Professions



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