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Dental Assistant 2A: Infection Prevention & Pharmacology

Dental Assistant
Career Pathway Course Units

Unit 1: Medical Emergencies in the Dental Office

A medical emergency can occur at any moment in a dental office. Dental professionals must be trained to understand the signs of a dental emergency and know what actions are indicated. The quick response of dental team members can alter the outcome of a potentially life-threatening event. Proper training, along with relevant updates as necessary, should occur regularly within an office to ensure all team members understand their assigned roles during an emergency situation.

Unit 2: Microbiology

Understanding microbiology is the foundation of infection control. Part of microbiology is learning about various pathogens and the way they affect the body. When a dental assistant understands how diseases are transmitted, they can properly protect patients against cross-contamination.

Unit 3: Disease Transmission & Infection Control

Pathogens are all around us and can enter a host at any time. A dental assistant must know how diseases are spread so they can work to prevent cross-contamination. Gloves, masks, and protective clothing are an essential part of protecting employees. Federal, state, and local guidelines must be followed for every procedure, including waste disposal, in order to ensure everyone’s safety.

Unit 4: Disinfecting Procedures & Instrument Sterilization

One of the most important roles of a dental assistant is properly following disinfecting and sterilization procedures. Learning the difference between disinfection and sterilization is the first step to taking on that role. Knowing how to load a sterilizer and monitor it for successful sterilization are necessary parts of preventing disease transmission.

Unit 5: Managing Hazardous Chemicals & Waste

Dentistry has many governing agencies that work together to protect dental professionals. Hazardous chemicals and waste can put employees in danger if they are not properly used, stored, or disposed of. Understanding the standards and regulations that apply to dentistry is an essential part of being a dental assistant.

Unit 6: Principles of Pharmacology

Pharmacology is an important part of dental treatment. In the dental office, a variety of drugs can be used to treat different patient conditions and help address treatment-related anxiety. A dental assistant must be responsible for and have a general understanding of pharmacology to be an effective team member.