Dental Radiology Certification and Certificate Programs

Dental radiology certificate programs are available for dental assistants and auxiliaries. Dental assistants studying dental radiology at the certificate level learn to take and process oral radiographs. Ultimately, graduates can sit for radiology certification examinations.

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Dental Radiology Certificate Programs

A program that culminates in a dental radiology certificate provides students with the necessary fundamentals to perform radiologic procedures within dental healthcare settings. Within this type of certificate program, laboratory experience is paramount since it teaches students charting exercises, tooth identification, instrument assembly and film placement. Required clinical experience can involve the performance of radiographs on mannequins. Additionally, traditional classroom instruction relays the fundamentals of producing and evaluating dental radiographs according to the regulations set forth by state dentistry boards.

Educational Prerequisites

A dental radiology certificate program typically caters to dental assistants seeking preparation for state-required written examinations. A student seeking admission into a dental radiology certificate program may have earned a dental assistant certificate or diploma, or he or she may have a high school diploma and work experience as a dental assistant.

Course Topics

The coursework involved in this type of certificate program is typically designed to ready students for certification examinations. Topics covered include:

  • Radiation protection
  • Regulations of radiation use
  • Film processing techniques
  • X-ray machine overview
  • Biological effects of radiation
  • Radiograph assessment
  • Infection control
  • Digital radiography principles
  • Mounting and labeling of film
  • Positioning techniques

Popular Career Options

Program graduates who have earned the proper certification can go on to work with dentists and other oral professionals generating and evaluating dental radiographs. These individuals can seek employment in various dental healthcare facilities, such as:

  • Dentist offices
  • Physician offices
  • Outpatient care centers
  • General medical and surgical hospitals

Continuing Education and Certification Information

In order for individuals to utilize oral radiology equipment and process radiographs, some states may require certification from the Dental Assisting National Board following the successful completion of a certificate program. Some states also require the successful completion of the Radiation Health and Safety examination.

Dental assistants may choose to advance their education and professional opportunities by enrolling in programs to become dental hygienists. These may be offered as certificate or associate degree programs for individuals who want to enter the field in hands-on hygienist positions; alternately, there are bachelor's and master's degree programs for those interested in research or educational positions.

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