Dental Assisting

Dental Assisting

Dental assistants are the “extra hands” of the dentist, and vital members of the dental health care team. Dental offices are usually clean, friendly, interesting places to work. As a dental assistant, you will perform a variety of tasks, including:

  • Assisting general and specialty dentists during procedures
  • Recording patient medical histories and taking vital signs
  • Taking x-rays
  • Administering nitrous oxide/oxygen to patients
  • Polishing teeth
  • Fabricating casts for dental procedures
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment for the dentist’s use
  • Performing office management tasks


LATI’s 11 month diploma option will give you optimal hands-on experience. Expect to practice your skills, first in a modern dental lab at LATI, and then at an off-campus clinical experience. Please note: There will not be enough clinical spots for everyone in Watertown. Please be prepared for an out-of-town clinical experience.

If you want more skills, experience, and a better springboard for further education, you can choose to go on for a 20 month Associates of Applied Science option.


The program in dental assisting is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. The website address is:
All graduates are eligible to complete the Dental Assisting National Board and meet all requirements to be registered in radiology and expanded functions by the South Dakota Board of Dentistry. To be accepted into this program, the American Dental Association requires all applicants to have a high school diploma or GED. Students in programs which customarily lead to professional licensure are responsible for determining whether or not this program or course meets requirements for licensure in the state in which the student resides or intends to reside upon graduation. We encourage you to contact the licensure agency noted above for additional information or the program faculty for assistance.

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The US Bureau of Labor says job prospects for dental assistants are currently “excellent”. Employment is expected to grow 36 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. In fact, dental assistants are expected to be among the fastest growing occupations over the 2008–18 projection period. Population growth, greater retention of natural teeth by middle-aged and older people, and an increased focus on preventative dental care for younger generations will fuel demand for dental services.

  • Private or public general dentistry
  • Specialty dentistry like oral surgery, orthodontics, periodontics, endodontics, and pediatric dentistry.
  • Public health dentistry
  • Hospitals
  • Polishing teeth
  • Dental school clinics
  • Insurance companies