An expanded duty dental assisting student practices dental techniques in the dental hygiene lab

Expanded Duty Dental Assisting

Program Type: Diploma in Applied Science

Program Level: UG

Division: Nursing & Allied Health

Program Duration: 16 months

Program Contact: Alicia Johnston

Credit Requirement: 47

Program overview

The Expanded Duty Dental Assisting program is a Diploma program that is three semesters in length and is comprised of didactic, clinical, and laboratory courses offered at the Health Science Campus. In addition to on-site clinical experiences, dental assisting students will have the opportunity to gain meaningful experiences through off-site clinical rotations. Dental assisting students will be able to study and practice all expanded duties that they will be certified to perform, including assisting the dentist with restorative procedures, teaching oral hygiene instruction, taking impressions of teeth, polishing structures above the gum-line, taking radiographs (x-rays), placing preventive sealants to the pits and grooves of teeth, and monitoring of nitrous oxide.

Courses Required


Basic Anatomy And Physiology

Course Code: BIO-112

This course is a basic integrated study of the structure and function of the human body.

Communications I

Course Code: ENG-155

This course introduces the principles of expository writing and public speaking through practice and development of communication skills.

Semester 1

Dental Materials

Course Code: DAT-113

This course is a study of physical and chemical properties of matter and identification, characteristics, and manipulation of dental materials.

Ethics & Professionalism

Course Code: DAT-115

This course introduces a cursory history of dental assisting, professional associations, scope of service in dentistry, and ethical, legal and professional considerations. The State Dental Practice Act is reviewed.

Dental Morphology

Course Code: DAT-118

This course emphasizes the development, eruption and individual characteristics of each tooth and surrounding structures.

Oral Medicine/Oral Biology

Course Code: DAT-123

This course presents a basic study of oral pathology, pharmacology, nutrition, and common emergencies as related to the role of the dental assistant.

Clinical Procedures I

Course Code: DAT-154

This course includes preparation to assist a dentist efficiently in four-handed dentistry. Emphasis is on the names and functions of all dental instruments, the principles involved in their use, and the assistants' role in dental instrumentation.

Semester 2

Dental Health Education

Course Code: DAT-121

This course defines the responsibilities of the dental assistant in individual and community dental health education with emphasis on the etiology of dental disease, methods for prevention and principles of nutrition in relationship to oral health and preventive dentistry.

Dental Office Management

Course Code: DAT-122

This course provides a study of the business aspect of a dental office.

Dental Radiography

Course Code: DAT-127

This course provides the fundamental background and theory for the safe and effective use of x-radiation in dentistry. It encompasses the history of x-rays, production and uses of radiation, radiographic film, exposure factors, interpretation of radiographs and radiation hygiene.

Clinical Procedures II

Course Code: DAT-164

This course introduces the instruments and chairside procedures of the dental specialties.

Human Relations

Course Code: PSY-103

This course is a study of human relations, including the dynamics of behavior, interrelationships, and personality as applied in everyday life.

Semester 3

Expanded Functions/Specialties

Course Code: DAT-124

This course offers practice in performing the expanded clinical procedures designated by the South Carolina State Board of Dentistry for Dental Assistants.

Dental Office Experience

Course Code: DAT-177

This course consists of practice in the dental office or clinic with rotation of assignments to encompass experiences in office management and clinical experience in all areas of dentistry.

Contemporary Mathematics

Course Code: MAT-155

This course includes techniques and applications of the following topics: elementary number theory; algebra; geometry; measurement; graph sketching and interpretations; and descriptive statistics.

Entry Requirements

To see a list of entrance requirements for this program, please check the FDTC Course Catalog.

Download Catalog

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Communicate effectively with a variety of patients from diverse backgrounds, in addition to peers and other dental health care providers.
  • Utilize critical thinking skills to assist in the treatment and care of all patients.
  • Adhere to state and federal laws, recommendations and regulations in providing quality care using safe and effective practices.
  • Dental Assisting graduates should be able to identify and understand basic anatomical, chemical, and preclinical aspects of dental procedures.

Open Application Dates for Competitive Health Sciences Programs

Applications for the FDTC Health Sciences Programs will be accepted Monday, April 1, 2024 through Wednesday, May 15, 2024 for the FALL 2024 semester.

Complete Etrieve Application

Health Sciences Application Instructions

Program Accreditations & Resources


The Dental Hygiene program at Florence-Darlington Technical College are accredited by of the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association

Commission on Dental Accreditation
American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
(312) 440-4653


What is the duration of the Expanded Duty Dental Assisting program?

The program is three semesters in length, including didactic, clinical, and laboratory courses. It provides on-site clinical experiences as well as off-site clinical rotations.

What are the career opportunities for graduates of the program?

Graduates can work in various settings, including general dental practices, specialty dental practices (e.g., oral and maxillofacial surgery), hospitals, nursing homes, and public health clinics. They can also pursue roles in dental assisting education, sales and marketing of dental-related equipment, and office management.

Are there any special requirements for health science students in the program?

Yes, health science students must meet specific health-related requirements, including maintaining current CPR certification, completing a health history/physical examination, and providing proof of immunizations or immunity for certain diseases. They must also undergo background checks and drug screenings.

What is the process for becoming a Certified Dental Assistant after completing the program?

Expanded Duty Dental Assisting students must successfully pass the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exam to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). Passing this exam is a requirement for certification in many states.