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Dental Assisting - Level II

Promote good oral health and patient care, assisting dentists and dental specialists.

A group of students study in the dental lab at NSCC Institute of Technology Campus.
The dental lab at NSCC's Institute of Technology Campus is fully equipped to help you learn.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
1 Year

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Dental assistants work as part of the oral health team, providing assistance to dentists and dental specialists, carrying out direct patient care and instructing patients in the principles and practices of good oral health.

The program introduces you to dental science, the foundation of clinical practice and the skills and theory used by dental assistants. You learn how to:

  • Prepare dental instruments and materials
  • Sterilize dental equipment
  • Create dental radiographs and images
  • Polish teeth and apply fluoride
  • Apply desensitizing agents and dental sealants
  • Provide patients with oral hygiene advice
  • Schedule appointments for services and manage patient records

The program covers all materials and skills necessary to write the National Dental Assisting Examination (NDAEB) and prepares you for all mandatory and optional skills as determined by the Dental Assisting Regulatory Authorities (CDARA).

Work experience

  • Work placement is a mandatory credit course, providing the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom.
    • You participate in work placements in public and/or private settings within the province. You're not guaranteed placements of your choice. Some evening and/or weekend shifts may be required.
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid and last approximately 5 weeks.
    • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work placements are your responsibility.
  • For more information visit Work Experience Opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • This program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
  • You learn from experienced instructors. Faculty members are active in the oral health field at provincial and national levels.
  • You benefit from small class sizes, which provide low student-to-teacher ratios, particularly at the clinical level.

Other info

  • During the program, students participate as patients in the NSCC Dental Assisting Clinic. To ensure you can safely do this, a dental exam must be completed by a dentist so that any dental concerns and/or treatments are identified ahead of this clinic time.
  • Individuals with allergies to latex, disinfectants or who have carpel tunnel syndrome or back problems may have difficulty completing the clinical component of the program.
  • Many employers in this sector require one – or all – of the following as part of the hiring process: current, official criminal record check, vulnerable sector check and/or child abuse register search. A conviction or finding in family court may impact your ability to secure employment.
  • Students who successfully complete all components of the program are eligible to write the National Dental Assisting Examination, which is required by the Provincial Dental Board for licensure in Nova Scotia.

2022-23 programs

Program delivery may be subject to change based on Public Health guidelines.

September 2022

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Institute of Technology Campus Halifax Full time In-class In-classDelivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements. Waitlist This program location has a multi-year waitlist. Contact Admissions for more information.

Admission requirements

  • High School Graduation Diploma or equivalent, including Academic Grade 12 Biology.
    • International students – High school diploma equivalency and English language requirements vary by country. View details
  • If you do not have the required academic credits, NSCC offers a variety of credit courses through the Academic and Career Connections program.

Program requirements

  • A current, official criminal record check and vulnerable sector check are required to complete work placements in this program. Inability to obtain a work placement will impact your ability to complete program and graduation requirements.
  • Health and Human Services programs have additional requirements, including immunizations and completion of Standard First Aid, CPR Level C. You must submit proof that you've completed these requirements at the beginning of your program. View additional Health and Human Services program requirements
    • Receiving immunizations may take up to 10 months to complete. Failure to complete immunizations can result in a delayed work placement.
  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.
  • Pass mark for this program is 70%.


2022-23 tuition will be announced in the late Spring once approved by the government of Nova Scotia. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional. Amounts below were for the 2021-22 academic year.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • Many graduates work as dental assistants in a dental practice, some pursue work in special practices such as orthodontics or dental surgery and other grads work with dental supply companies or within dental office administration.
  • Graduates are qualified to work as dental assistants in both general and specialty dental practices.
  • Graduates must pass the National Assisting Dental Exam to be eligible for licensure in Nova Scotia.

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you can apply to earn credit. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

DENT 1600 - Dental Sciences
This course includes an overview of general anatomy and physiology. The learner will be introduced to oral embryology and histology, head and neck anatomy including landmarks of the face and oral cavity, and oral pathology.

DENT 1603 - Foundations of Clinical Practice
This course will introduce the learner to the foundations of clinical practice. Areas of study include the fundamentals of professional practice, medical emergencies, vital signs, microbiology, infection control, sterilization, pharmacology and drug administration including topical and local anesthetic. The course will also provide an introduction to the categorization of dental instruments for general restorative procedures.

DENT 1610 - Dental Radiology
This course is designed to provide the learner with the information required to perform dental radiograph procedures. Emphasis is placed on the safe use of radiology equipment and the application of theory.

DENT 1611 - Preventive Dentistry I
In this course, the learner will obtain theoretical knowledge focusing on prevention of oral health diseases, including dental caries and periodontal disease. The foundation of plaque index recording, the caries process, individualized oral hygiene instruction (OHI), application of topical fluoride and desensitizing agents will also be discussed. General knowledge of nutrition is included as it pertains to dental health.

DENT 1612 - Dental Specialties I
This course is an overview of the dental specialty areas of orthodontics, pedodontics, dentistry, cosmetic, and forensic dentistry. Study of the materials, instruments and equipment associated with specialized procedures performed in a general dental practice are emphasized.

DENT 1615 - Dental Computer Applications
This course is an introduction to the use of dental software for practice management. Dental patient scheduling, use of dental fee guide, dental insurance claim processing (including manual applications) and financial arrangement will be simulated using a dental software program.

DENT 1616 - Dental Business Communication
This course provides the learner with an overview of the communication and administrative skills required in a dental practice. Learners will apply interpersonal and written communication skills. They will learn systems for the organization of dental records and inventory management.

DENT 1617 - Dental Records
This course provides the learner with knowledge regarding tooth morphology, the importance of dental records and the sections of the dental chart. The learner will receive instruction in accurate recording of patient assessment information with the geometrical, anatomical and periodontal charts that are utilized in a dental clinic.

DENT 1620 - Clinical Rotation (1-Week In-House Clinic)
Learners will be required to participate in a one-week preventive patient clinic. This course allows the learner an opportunity to contribute to a service learning experience, consistent with NSCC’s values. Semesters I and II theory and hands-on skills are integrated in this clinic.

DENT 1623 - Restorative Procedures
This course will provide the learner with the theoretical information necessary to assist with dental restorative procedures. Studies will cover general properties of restorative dental materials, their composition and uses and the knowledge to properly prepare and manipulate these materials used in a dental practice.

DENT 1630 - Dental Assisting Skills I
The course will focus on chairside and laboratory procedures that require the anticipation of the operator’s needs, the ability to deliver instruments and materials with maximum efficiency and safety, as well as laboratory procedures that are the responsibility of the dental assistant. A professional team concept will be emphasized and expected from the learner. Learners will be required to participate in a one day observation experience in a general dental practice.

DENT 2603 - Chairside Procedures
This course will cover the ergonomics of the dental team, instrumentation, and recognition of special needs patients. The fundamentals of safe work procedures will be introduced. The theory for application and removal of isolation techniques, including dental dam, dental laboratory materials, impressions and techniques will be covered. The course will also cover identification and basic function of dental equipment.

DENT 2611 - Preventive Dentistry II
This course provides the learner with the knowledge to perform coronal polishing, pit and fissure sealants, care of dental prostheses and specialty dental restorations. The learner will design and deliver a dental survey and an individualized preventive program, demonstrating the role of the dental health educator in providing community dental health education.

DENT 2612 - Dental Specialties II
This course is an introduction to the dental specialty areas of fixed and removable prosthodontics, periodontics, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, including dental implants. Study of the materials, instruments and equipment associated with the procedures performed in a general dental practice are emphasized.

DENT 2630 - Dental Assisting Skills II
The course will focus on chairside and laboratory procedures that require the anticipation of the operator’s needs, the ability to deliver instruments and materials with maximum efficiency and safety, as well as laboratory procedures that are the responsibility of the dental assistant. This course includes a clinical rotation at Dalhousie Dental Clinic. A professional team concept will be emphasized and expected from the learner. This course is non-supplemental.

DENT 2650 - Externship
The course is delivered off site in a dental practice. The learner will have the benefit of networking with professionals within the dental community. The learner will have the opportunity to perform registered Level II dental assisting duties under the supervision of a dentist in a dental practice that has been approved by the Dental Assisting Program. The participating dental clinics are responsible for providing work experience in chairside assisting procedures, intra oral skills, laboratory skills and business administration duties. This course is non-supplemental.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

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