Wednesday, July 13, 2016


By: Cristina Dal Lago

Dentists often rely on assistants to help them with a variety of procedures. Dental assistants perform many tasks, ranging from patient care to maintaining dental records. Dental assistant training program is available from many sources including the American Red Cross.

To fill a growing need for dental assistants, a few American Red Cross chapters have partnered with nearby military bases to offer comprehensive training programs. The Red Cross has designed its dental assistant training program to provide education and training as well as experience.

These programs are made possible for military sponsored (dependent) ID card holders over 18 yrs. old; spouse or child.

The American Red Cross and the Ft Carson
Dental Activity graduated 8 certified Dental
 Assistant's at the Smith Dental clinic
 in Colorado Springs, Co on 6/30/16.
Photo by Joe Coleman/American Red Cross
For example, the Colorado Springs area Red Cross began offering a training program at Ft. Carson through a partnership with the American Red Cross, DENTAC and Evans Community Hospital. Dental assistants aid the dental operator provide more efficient dental treatment by preparing the patient, sterilizing instruments during the procedure, holding a suction device and more. This program provides each student with quality assistant training through classroom study and hands on learning (chair-side) within a dental clinic. It is an intense program in which the duty hours are from 7:00am-4:30pm, M-F for six months (approximately 1,000 hours).

Major Matthew Phillips, a dentist at Fort Carson said “I have been here for 2 yrs. now and I already have been through 2 classes of the program. Before that, I went through another 2 program classes while I was stationed in Germany.”  “It’s a very good program.” said Major Phillips “ I had been always working with graduates from past Red Cross classes and it has been nice to have that Red Cross feedback from them.” 

US Army Ft Carson Smith Dental Clinic 
Certified Dental Assistant Tiffany Brown(l) 
trains Lashette(Shay) Jordan on the 
placement of dental  tools at the clinic.
(Photo by Joe Coleman/American Red Cross)
 “About job’s prospects for the students afterwards, it will be always based on availability and clinic needs,” said Major Phillips. "But we have a pretty successful job placement rate."
Lashette Jordan, a student in the program said “I always was terrified of dentists, it’s for that I decided to start the Dental Assistant Program; to conquer my fears. I love everything about the program, The program provides an excellent dental care and I am learning more about how important is to take care of your dental needs, for your overall health.” She went on to say, “Doctors and co-workers are very nice. The doctors teach us very well all the skills and job’s procedures.”

“I can’t believe that I got into this program. It has been a great opportunity for me, the start of my career,” said Lashette. “When I finish the program I hope that I can get a job here, if not I certainly will continue volunteering.” 

To start the dental assistant training program, there is an application process that includes filling out the complete application package, writing a one page summary of why you should be selected for the program and completing an interview. Application dates will be posted in all media on Ft. Carson.


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