College Celebrates New Dental Assistants

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RALEIGH, NC (July 18, 2022) – Twenty-two highly trained dental assistants from Wake Tech will soon support the delivery of dental care to patients.

Students completed their final classes in the 48-hour diploma program on Monday and celebrated at a graduation luncheon sponsored by the Raleigh-Wake County Dental Society at the Perry Health Sciences Campus.

Wake Tech’s dental assisting program is highly competitive and accredited by the American Dental Association‘s Commission on Dental Accreditation. All graduates are classified as Dental Assistant II by the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners. Almost all graduates have already passed the National Board of Dental Assisting exam and earned their CDA (Certified Dental Assistant) credential.

The program has been training dental assistants for 33 years. Students practice their skills in the state-of-the-art Lane & Associates Family Dentistry dental clinic facility, which includes eight treatment rooms, a designated sterilization area, viewing room, reception area, faculty offices and locker room for students. Lane & Associates is a major program partner of Wake Tech, providing hands-on learning opportunities for students at multiple Triangle offices, as well as funding for scholarships, emergency financial aid, and equipment .

Students also get hands-on clinical experience with rotations at Adams UNC School of Dentistry, Wake County Human Services Dental Clinic, Wake Smiles, Advance Community Dental, Hygiene Clinic WTCC Dental and other private practices in Wake and surrounding counties.

Dental assistants are in high demand nationwide to meet the needs of the growing number of patients visiting the dentist. Employment of dental assistants is expected to increase by 11% from 2020 to 2030, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary for dental assistants is $38,660.

“Dental assistants are important members of the dental team,” said Trudy Clark, department manager. “The analogy often used to describe the responsibilities of a dental assistant is that of an air traffic controller, as they often perform many tasks that help ensure planning and patient safety while ensuring the smooth running of of the dental office on a daily basis.”

Several students from the Class of 2022 received special awards at Monday’s celebration.

Better academic success

Tea Campo and Olivia Temple for their 4.0 GPA

The Trudy Clark Award for Patient Care

Emma Gibbon

Clinical Excellence Award

Malaak Sarah

Outstanding Growth and Achievement

Anita Warchal

Outstanding Achievement in Dental Radiography

Adrienne Neri

Raleigh Pediatric Dentistry Awards

Naturee Witherspoon

“Tracy Holmes Britt” Teamwork Award

Shannon Nowell

The Dianne Keyser Community Service Award

Adrienne Neri

The next class of dental assistants will begin training in the fall semester. Learn more about dental assisting at Wake Tech at dentalassisting.waketech.edu.

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