How Do You Become a Dental Assistant? | Cestar College | Toronto
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05 Jul 2022

How to Become a Dental Assistant

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    How to Become a Dental Assistant

    Do you have a passion for health and people?

    Has oral health always interested you?

    Are you looking for a career in the dental field?

    It’s hard to decide on a career path at any age or phase in your life, but if you’re ready for the next step, this international college in Toronto has what you need to make the leap and join the workforce.

    Cestar College’s Dental Assistant program is a great way to get a dental accreditation. Our curriculum helps both domestic and international applicants learn essential interpersonal skills and clinical skills that will prepare them for successful careers as dental assistants.

    What Does a Dental Assistant Do?

    Dental assistants are the backbone to dental teams, aiding with administrative work and of course assisting the dentists themselves. Your job can include research and working with suppliers and vendors in addition to your main tasks.

    Ultimately, the specific duties you will be fulfilling in your workplace will depend on where specifically you work, and on what the provincial laws are.

    The good thing about this job is that every day is something new, so you won’t get bored easily!

    What High School Credentials Do I Need to Be a Dental Assistant?

    When you’ve finished your formal training and obtained a degree as a dental assistant at an accredited school such as Cestar College, you must also obtain your certification from the Ontario Dental Assistants Association (ODAA) in order to start practicing your dental work.

    In Ontario, you’ll need an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) in order to get into a dental assisting program. This includes a grade 12 English credit, grade 11 or 12 chemistry or biology credits, and a grade 12 Math credit.

    When you’re 16, 17 or 18, it’s hard to guess what credits you’ll need for the future if you don’t already know your career path, but don’t sweat it. If you’ve graduated and need those credits for your program, the Ontario government has an adult learning program to help you complete your requirements.

    Additionally, if you didn’t get your Ontario Secondary School Diploma, that’s not an issue either; you can also get that with provincial help at any age. Once you ensure you pass these requirements, you’ll be well on your way to starting your education as a dental assistant at Cestar College in Toronto.


    A dentist performing teeth cleaning with the aid of a dental assistant

    The Difference Between Level I and Level II Dental Assistant

    Dental assisting programs in Ontario ensure through practical and theory courses that students will be able to take on Level I and Level II dental assistant roles, as dental assistants perform different tasks depending on the level they’re working at.

    A Level I dental assistant is a chairside assistant whose job it is to prep the patient for a procedure, chart their information, sterilize dental equipment and the clinical area, and make cast models. In addition to that, they also provide patients with post-operative care instructions and maintain dental supplies.

    Level II dental assistants are those who are formally trained in dentistry and have completed all required certifications. These are the assistants who can also obtain impressions and occlusal records for dental bases, apply desensitizing agents and fissure sealants, among other things.

    The more certified a dental assistant is, the higher their pay grade and the more responsibilities they have.

    A certified Level I, newly graduated dental assistant makes on average $20.34 an hour. A Level II new grad earns around $22.42 an hour, according to the ODAA.

    To become a dental assistant, you’ll have to become familiar with ethics, anatomy and physiology, dental radiography, pharmacology patient care, infection prevention, oral microbiology and preventive and emergency care. You should also experience field placements; like with placements in any field, they help you network and fine-tune your clinical and interpersonal skills for your career.

    Before taking your qualifications exam, you’ll have had to do everything from being a chair-side assistant to removing sutures, in order to make sure all bases are covered for your final exams.

    Completing your Exam

    Your program can take nine months to two years to complete, depending on if you are gaining a certificate, diploma, or degree—which you can get from Cestar’s international college in Toronto.

    Everyone has to sit and take the National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB), even if they still have formal experience outside of Canada. For a first-time exam writer, the test will cost $525, broken down into a $425 exam fee and a $100 application fee. To rewrite the test, it’ll cost $450, the same exam fee but with a $25 application fee instead.

    In order to take the exam with NDAEB, you must mail in an application to the NDAEB office in Ottawa. It must contain proof of the completion of your dental assisting education, being a transcript or diploma, or a letter from the school with the estimated completion date of the program. You must also pay the full fee for the test upfront.

    Once you are reviewed and approved, the NDAEB will send an email to you from which you can access your registration information.

    Two to three weeks before the scheduled exam, you will receive an admission letter with the date, time, and location of the exam, which you will need to present with government-issued ID in order to enter the exam room. If you need testing accommodations, the NDAEB will provide that so long as the accommodations are approved in advance. These include changes in exam dates due to religious practices, the need for extra time, a separate room, an exam reader or scribe, or assistive technology. Make sure that you apply on time for your desired test date; the NDAEB exams are only scheduled four times per year.

    The test itself is broken down into eight sections. These include: professional conduct, dental sciences, clinical support procedures, patient records, patient care procedures, practice management procedures, laboratory procedures, and preventative procedures. Once the test is taken and passed, you’re all set to start your career in dental assisting!

    A dental assistant wearing their uniform and standing in a dentist’s office

    Cestar College’s Dental Assistant Program

    It’s hard to choose what you want to do in life, and sometimes it’s harder to imagine how you’re going to get to your end goal, but Cestar College will help prepare you for your future in the dental field. This international college in Toronto can help you fulfill all of your necessary classes, learned skills, and requirements to ensure that you have a happy and successful career as a dental assistant.

    About Our Program

    Cestar College’s Dental Assisting program includes around 30 hours a week of class time. 25 of those hours are in-class. Our Dental Assisting program consists of a total of 1245 hours over 52 weeks, including an internship where you learn about dental procedures and oral health in a real world setting. These hours are the best opportunity for dental practice, as our in-class curriculum. Your time will cover lots of interesting dental assisting topics, like:

    • Dental Materials Safety
    • Oral Diseases
    • Dental Health and Oral Health
    • Dental Radiography Principles
    • Preventative Dentistry
    • Dental Record Keeping
    • And more!

    Each course varies from a total of 25-100 hours. This time will be typically broken up into lectures, seminars, independent study time, and lab experience – this schedule does change based on the courses you are taking.

    Broader subjects may also be broken up into multiple courses – such as Principles of Dental Assisting. This gives students the opportunity to learn important subjects over the course of the whole academic year, instead of having to cram them in one semester. Your instructors are a great resource, as they will be able to help you throughout each of your courses and keep you motivated!


    Your program will also include two practicum periods of 60 hours each towards the end of your training. This helps you to gain hands-on experience in a real-world setting. During these times, you will be under the supervision of a registered dental health team made up of dental hygienists and a certified dentist to help you practice what you’ve learned in the classroom.

    This will give you a major advantage over other candidates when you enter the job market, and help you gain valuable connections for when you enter the workforce.

    Why Choose Cestar College?

    By applying to Cestar College’s Dental Assistant (Intra-Oral Level I & II) program, you’re choosing:

    • One of the most comprehensive dental assistant curriculums in Ontario, covering all aspects of dentistry available to Dental Assistants.
    • A dental assisting program (Intra-Oral Level I & II) that is NDAEB-approved.
    • An accredited college for providing formal training for national dental assisting, featuring HARP-approved dental radiography training.
    • 1245 hours of learning, including an internship, giving you the benefits of real-life work experience while still in school.
    • Small class sizes that foster discussion-based education and provide a welcoming learning environment for all students.
    • Dedicated instructors with years of experience who take pride in seeing their students succeed.
    • A challenging but rewarding learning experience full of support from all Cestar College faculty and administrators.


    Check out our Dental Assistant Program Page for more information!

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    Posted on December 19/2019 By Sheena Reid

    Am from Jamaica and I have done a a course in dental assistant with heart trust nta of Jamaica but the only qualification I have is diploma and I want to do a higher level in the dental field I don’t have any math or subjects

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