Feb 29, 2024  
Academic Program Manuals 2022-2023 
Academic Program Manuals 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Dental Assisting Program Policies & Procedures

Welcome to the Dental Assisting Program at Indian Hills Community College. This program is four terms (12 months) in length. Upon successful completion of this program, a diploma will be awarded. Graduates will be eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exam and must register with the Iowa Dental Board after graduation to legally work in Iowa.

Indian Hills Community College is a public post-secondary institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. IHCC is also accredited by the Iowa Department of Education. The Dental Assisting Program is currently accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

The Dental Assisting program is part of the Health Sciences Division. Daniel Terrian is the Dean of Career and Technical Education and Lori Kielkopf is the Associate Dean of the Health Sciences Division. The Program Director is Justine Munger. The Clinical Coordinator is Kim Brown.

This Program Policy Manual has been developed by program staff and is published to familiarize you with the overall campus operations and specific Dental Assisting policies and procedures. It is to serve as a guide for all students enrolled in the Dental Assisting program. The student Program Policy Manual supplements the Indian Hills Community College Student Handbook and the college catalog; consequently, all policies and procedures from the Student Handbook are to be observed in addition to those outlined in the following pages.  

This booklet contains specific information that may help you understand the policies and procedures of the Dental Assisting program. Please read this manual carefully and ask questions if any of the information is unclear. You are responsible for being familiar with the information in this manual. It is important information and will assist you in feeling at home with Indian Hills Community College.

Indian Hills Community College Mission Statement & Purpose

Mission Statement

Indian Hills Community College, an institution of higher learning, dedicated to excellence in educational opportunity, economic development, cultural understanding and social enrichment. Student learning is the central unifying purpose of the college. Indian Hills Community College is accessible, comprehensive, community centered and responsive in planning programming, funding, teaching and administration. Indian Hills is committed to the spirit of providing a dynamic and timely response to the ever-changing needs of our business community and the populace of our small towns and rural areas.


Indian Hills Community College is dedicated to providing a dynamic and timely response to the ever-changing needs of our business community and the populace of our small town and rural areas. In this context, it is our purpose to provide, to the greatest extent possible, the following education opportunities and services:

  1. The first two years of college work, including pre-professional education.
  2. Vocational and technical training.
  3. Programs for in-service training and retraining of workers.
  4. Programs for high school completions for students of post-high school age.
  5. Programs for all students of high school age who may best serve themselves by enrolling for vocational and technical training, while also enrolled in a local high school, public or private.
  6. Programs for students of high school age to provide advance college placement courses not taught at a student’s high school while the student is also enrolled in the high school.
  7. Student personnel services.
  8. Community services.
  9. Vocational education for persons who have academic needs, socioeconomic conditions or disabilities, which prevent succeeding in regular vocational education programs.
  10. Training, retaining, and all necessary preparation for productive employment of all citizens.
  11. Vocational and technical training for persons who are not enrolled in a high school and who have not completed high school.
  12. Developmental education for persons who need academic preparation or academic support in order to succeed in their program of study, or are academically or personally under prepared to succeed in their program of study, as set for in Iowa Code Section 260C.


The Dental Assisting program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.  This is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The program completed Initial Accreditation in July of 2013. The Program was then Site Visited in July, 2014 and full accreditation was conferred in August of 2015.

The Commission currently publishes, in its accredited lists of programs, the year of the next site visit for each program it accredits. In addition, the Commission posts its spring and fall announcements on the Accreditation Announcements area on ada.org for those programs being site visited January through June or July through December.

The United States Department of Education (USDE) procedures now also require accrediting agencies to provide an opportunity for third-party comment, either in writing or at a public hearing ( at the accrediting agency’s discretion) with respect to institutions or programs scheduled for review. All comments must relate to accreditation standards for the discipline and required accreditation policies. In order to comply with the department’s requirement on the use of third-party comment regarding  programs’ qualifications for accreditation or re-accreditation, the following procedures have been developed.

Who can submit comments: Third party comments relative the Commission’s accredited programs may include comments submitted by interested parties such as faculty, students, program administrators, Commission consultants, specialty and dental-related organization, patients and/or customers.

How comments can be solicited: The Commission will request written comments from interested parties in the spring and fall accreditation announcements onada.org.  In fairness to the accredited programs, all comments relative to programs being visited will be die in the commission office no later than 60 days prior to each program’s site visit to allow time for the program to respond. Therefore, programs being site-visited in January through June will be listed in the fall posting of the previous year. Programs scheduled for a site visit from July through December will be listed in the spring posting of the current year. Any resolved issued related to the programs compliance with the accreditation standards will be reviewed by the site visit while on site. Those programs scheduled for review are responsible for soliciting third-party comments from students and patients by publishing an announcement at least 90 days prior to their site visit. The notice should indicate the deadline for 60 days for receipt of third-party comments in the Commission office and should stipulate that comments must pertain only to the standards of the particular program or policies and procedures used in the Commission’s accreditation process. The announcement may include language to indicate that a copy of the appropriate accreditation standards and/or the Commission’s policy on third-party comments may be obtained by contacting the commission at: 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago IL 60611, or by calling 1-800-621-8099, extension 4653.

Types of comments considered: All comments submitted must pertain only to the standards relative to the particular program being reviewed or policies and procedures used in the accreditation process.  Comments will be screened by Commission staff for relevancy. For Comments not relevant to these issues, the individual will be notified that the comment in not related to accreditation and, where appropriated, referred to the appropriate agency.  For those individuals who are interested in submitting comments, requests can be made to the Commission office for receiving standards and/or the Commission’s evaluation Policies and Procedures.

Management of Comments: All relevant comments will be referred to the program at least 50 days prior to the site visit for review and response. A written response form he program should be provided to the Commission office and the site visit team. 15 days prior to the site visit. Adjustments may be necessary in the site visit to allow discussion of comments with proper personnel.

Note: Should any member of the public wish to contact the Commission regarding the Accreditation status of this program, they may do so by writing to:

Commission on Dental Accreditation
American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Dental Assisting Program Mission Statement & Philosophy

Mission Statement

The mission of the Dental Assisting program is to provide dental assisting education to the college service area of southern Iowa and northern Missouri. Graduates of the program will be able to adequately assist the dentist in all areas of dental care. The program of instruction includes a combination of classroom, laboratory and clinical practice, arranged over a period of four terms. Chairside experiences are provided in dental offices in the community.


Indian Hills believes the position of Dental Assistant has as its primary focus the health needs of all individuals-needs ranging from states of high level wellness to states of illness, disability and impending death. Therefore, education in the Dental Assisting program is based on a specialized body of knowledge and skills related to maintaining dental health and focuses upon preparation of a competent specialized paraprofessional.

Indian Hills Community College believes that learning is an individual and continuous process resulting in behavioral changes which can be measured, that learning is facilitated and affected by motivation, self-discipline and structured experiences and that the role of the instructor is to guide the learner, identify learning needs and implement the best approaches to meet those needs. We further believe that the Dental Assisting student is an adult learner and as such is ultimately responsible for their lifelong learning. We believe that the best knowledge base for practice is a combination of general and technical education. This allows the student to develop into an effective practitioner, responsible, culturally-sensitive citizen and more fulfilled mature individual.  

Dental Assisting Program Goals

The Dental Assisting program aims to:

  1. To enable students to obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to be a successful dental assistant.
  2. Prepare students to successfully pass the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
  3. To promote life long learning in the dental field and the importance of remaining current with changes.
  4. Prepare students to work confidently and professionally in all areas of dentistry.
  5. To provide dental services with respect and compassion, while being sensitive to cultural diversity.
  6. To educate students to exhibit legal and ethical behavior, as well as, function safely and competent as a member of the dental team.

Dental Assisting Program Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a working knowledge of dental terminology and dental sciences
  2. Perform the clinical and administrative skills used by dental assistants in a variety of dental environments, including dental and medical emergencies
  3. Perform current guidelines of effective chairside assisting for general and dental specialty procedures
  4. Implement current guidelines of infection control, aseptic techniques and hazard control protocols
  5. Be knowledgeable of and comply with state and federal laws governing the practice of dentistry and dental assisting
  6. Promote preventive dental care and provide oral health instruction to patients and community groups
  7. Prepare, use, and manipulate dental materials and perform a variety of laboratory procedures
  8. Communicate effectively with patients and members of the dental team while conducting themselves in a responsible, professional and ethical manner
  9. Participate in leadership opportunities, professional organizations, and service to the community

Admissions Requirements and Policy

The Dental Assisting program uses admission criteria comparable to the procedures and standards used across the full Health Sciences Division. All students must apply for the program using the standard college application, indicating the desired program of study.  A high school diploma or its equivalent is required for admission. Prospective students must:

  • Complete an IHCC Application.
  • Request and submit High School and College transcripts.
  • Take the ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER test and submit.

Admissions are based on a minimum high school or college grade point average and minimum scores on one of the identified standardized tests. The criteria are not weighed.

After students apply, the college admission’s department evaluates and screens the application for completion of all required criteria prior to marking the application complete.  Students will be admitted into the program until all available seats are filled. Students are notified by the admissions department regarding their application status.

Health Sciences screening procedures do not allow for students who do not meet minimum admission criteria to be admitted into the program. If an applicant fails to meet minimum requirements, the student will be advised by program faculty to take basic general education courses or developmental courses to provide remediation in areas of academic weakness. The Indian Hills Community College SUCCESS center provides developmental coursework as well as group and individual tutoring.

All students entering Indian Hills Community College (IHCC) Health Sciences programs are required to submit the following documents:

  • High school transcripts can be unofficial copies, however they must be sent from the school to IHCC. 
  • Approved placement exams for Health Science programs include ACT, SAT or Accuplacer. 
    • Accuplacer results must be completed within two years prior to the program start term.
    • Students are only allowed to complete the Accuplacer exam three (3) times within a calendar year with a minimum of two (2) weeks between exams.
    • ACT/SAT results must be completed within five (5) years prior to the program start term.
  • Official College transcripts (if applicable) must be emailed to IHCC at [email protected].
    • Grade Point Average (GPA) transferred in from an accredited higher education institution requires at least eight (8) cumulative college credit hours from one institution in order to be used for the screening process.  

Staff Directory

For a full listing of Faculty members please visit the faculty directory in the College Catalog & Student Handbook or search the Online Faculty/Staff Directory.

Non-Discrimination Statement

To view the full Non-Discrimination Statement, please visit the College Catalog & Student Handbook or the college website.

Curriculum Information

To view the full program curriculum, please visit the College Catalog & Student Handbook.

Course Descriptions

To view the course descriptions, please click on the link below. 

  • Dental Assisting
    • DEA 211 - Nutrition for Dental Assistants
    • DEA 256 - Dental Anatomy
    • DEA 272 - Pharmacology and Emergency Procedures for the Dental Assistant
    • DEA 293 - Microbiology and Infection Control for the Dental Assistant
    • DEA 312 - Dental Radiography
    • DEA 321 - Dental Radiography II
    • DEA 403 - Dental Materials
    • DEA 527 - Chairside Assisting I
    • DEA 528 - Chairside Assisting II
    • DEA 529 - Chairside Assisting III
    • DEA 573 - Assisting Clinical I
    • DEA 574 - Assisting Clinical II
    • DEA 592 - Seminar for Dental Assisting
    • DEA 603 - Dental Specialties
    • DEA 702 - Dental Office Procedures

Essential Requirements

The following is the description of the physical and mental efforts required of the student in the Dental Assisting program. A student must be able to perform these requirements with or without reasonable accommodations as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The student is responsible to sign the Dental Assisting Program Policy Manual stating that they are able to meet the Dental Assisting essential functions listed below.

Please note: Indian Hills Community College will not compromise on any essential skill or requirement in a course or degree. All students are expected to meet essential requirements. Students with disabilities must also meet these requirements, either with or without accommodations. It is therefore the responsibility of the student with disabilities to request those accommodations that they feel are reasonable and are needed to execute the essential requirements as described. Students with disabilities must contact Disability Services located in Trustee Hall for an interview to request accommodations.

Physical Requirement:

  • Manual Dexterity: Students must have above average fine motor control (dexterity) to perform moderately difficult/difficult manipulative skills.
  • Mobility: Students must be able to move freely and safely about the dental equipment and operatory. The student must be able to reach operatory counters and shelves. The students must be able to tolerate lengthy periods of physical activity including moving quickly at times. The student must be able to safely manipulate dental equipment in the patient’s mouth.
  • Stamina: Students must be able to perform tasks that require arm steadiness, hand steadiness, leg steadiness, and upper and lower body strength.
  • Strength: Students must have the ability to push/pull and lift objects of approximately 40 pounds.
  • Coordination: Students must have the ability to perform tasks that require hand-eye coordination.
  • Sight - Students are required to see objects at 20/20 corrected vision or 20/40 without correction and be able to read fine print. Students must also be able to determine changes in patient status through visual observation. Color discrimination is required as is shade selection for restorations, warning lights on equipment, color coding of dental instruments and disposables.
  • Hearing: Students must have normal range hearing, either corrected or uncorrected, for functional use. 
  • Tactile: Students must be able to distinguish hard and soft tissues through tactile senses for functional use as listed below.

Intellectual/Conceptual Requirements:

  • Concentration: Students must have the ability to concentrate on moderate to fine detail with frequent interruption.
  • Attention Span: Students must have the ability to attend to multiple functions and patients often for an extended period of time.
  • Conceptualization/Application: Students must have the ability to select and use technical principles, ideas and theories in a problem-solving situation and adjust procedures accordingly.
  • Communication: Students must be able to communicate effectively in Standard English, in verbal and written format with patients, dentists, families and other health care workers. Students must be able to respond professionally and effectively in unexpected situations.

Essential Behavioral Requirements:

  • Students must be able to prioritize and complete projects within realistic constraints. The student must be able to exercise sound judgment and decision-making skills during periods of stress. A high level of emotional maturity and self-control is necessary. The student must remain flexible and be adaptable to change.
  • Dental Assisting students have a high risk for exposure to blood, body fluids or tissues, infectious diseases, combative and difficult patients, some toxic chemicals, some noxious odors, and fast-paced, high stress clinical situations. Students must recognize these potentially hazardous situations and proceed safely.
  • Students must seek help when needed. The student must accept constructive criticism and work to improve performance. The student must support and promote activities of fellow students and other healthcare professionals.

If you have a disability of any kind and will need reasonable accommodations or assistance in the classroom or with any course in this program, please see the instructor or disability services.

Repeat/Re-Admission Policy

Program statistics indicate that students that repeat specific courses more than one time or re-enter the program multiple times are less likely to be successful on the national board testing. To support student success the following repeat policy statements have been developed:

  • Students will be allowed to repeat a core Dental Assisting course one time if they do not achieve a final grade of a “C” (78%) or better.
  • Any student enrolled in a core Dental Assisting course, which results in a withdrawal (after the 8th day of the term) or grade of less than 78%, constitutes an attempt of the course.
  • Students repeating a course must meet with the Program Director to receive permission to repeat the course and complete the required “Contract for Returning Students” (Appendix K).
  • Students desiring to re-enter the Dental Assisting program will be required to complete the appropriate college and program forms which can be found in this manual (Appendix K). Prior to re-entering the program applicants will be required to submit a plan of action identifying strategies that will be implemented to support student success. A conference will then be scheduled with the Program Director to review and approve the plan of action before the student registers for classes.
  • Students requesting to re-enter the Dental Assisting program, after the allotted one time; will be considered on an individual basis. Factors that may be considered include, but are not limited to:
    • Academic Success
    • Remediation Activities
    • Clinical Performance
    • Student Behavior/Attitudes/Professionalism
    • Attendance Pattern
  • Students that do not complete Term 1 of the Dental Assisting program are not considered a re-entry student. They must reapply and be screened again in Castlebranch for admission to the program based on testing and G.P.A. scores for that term.
  • Readmission is based on the availability of space in the current cohort.
  • Due to advances in technology and Dental Assisting practices, readmission to the Dental Assisting program after an extended time (3 years from initial enrollment) may necessitate repeating all core Dental Assisting courses.

Requirements for Graduation

To graduate: the student must complete all of the courses in the Dental Assisting coursework as listed below. Core courses (DEA XXX) must be completed with a 78% or higher in order to be considered passing. In addition, students must complete the coursework in the following sequence. There are no exceptions to sequence or content. Student term GPA must be at or above the 2.0 requirement.

All dental assisting students will register for graduation in the Spring term and walk on stage in May with the general student body. Students failing to register or who are “no-shows” will lose Employablity Skills points associated with DEA 519 Dental Assisting III class.

All dental assisting students are required to successfully complete all three State of Iowa examinations, Infections Control, Jurisprudence, and Radiology.

First Term:

  • CSC105 – Computer Essentials
  • HSC113 – Medical Terminology
  • BIO175 – Human Anatomy
  • BIO176 – Human Anatomy Lab
  • DEA293 – Microbiology and Infection Control
  • DEA517 – Dental Assisting I
  • DEA256 – Dental Anatomy

Second Term:

  • DEA268 – Pharmacology and Emergency Procedures
  • DEA312 – Dental Radiography 1
  • DEA403 – Dental Materials
  • DEA518 – Dental Assisting II

Third Term:

  • DEA321 – Dental Radiography 2
  • DEA519 – Dental Assisting III
  • DEA702 – Dental Office Procedures
  • DEA573 – Assisting Clinical I
  • DEA211 – Nutrition for Dental Assisting

Fourth Term:

  • SPC122 – Interpersonal Communication
  • HSC230 – Employment Preparation
  • DEA592 – Seminar for Dental Assisting
  • DEA574 – Assisting Clinical II
  • DEA603 – Dental Specialties

Books, Uniforms, and Clinical Component

Books and Uniforms

Textbooks and supplies for the Dental Assisting program can be purchased at the college’s bookstore. The list of required textbooks for each course is provided at orientation and can be found in the bookstore.

All classroom courses require: notebooks, paper, pens, pencils and binders.

On-Campus Lab Classes

All lab courses require: safety glasses, white clinic shoes, IHCC scrubs, IHCC over-jacket, utility gloves and, after the first term, a radiology dosimeter. Your dosimeter is provided for you.

  • The student shall perform all procedures with direct supervision until competency is proven and with indirect supervision thereafter. According to the Commission on Dental Accreditation (Standard 3-9), all clinical faculty must be a Dental Assisting National Board, “Certified Dental Assistant.”
  • Students admitted to the Dental Assisting program will be required to have dependent adult/child abuse, criminal background checks, physical and immunization record and CPR certification prior to midterm of the Fall term, with the exception of the Influenza vaccine. If a clinical facility requires drug testing and evidence of health insurance, this is the responsibility of the student. Students that fail to comply with any clinical requirement will not be permitted to advance to the next term in the program.
  • Reports generated from criminal and abuse background checks will be evaluated by a single point of contact to determine clinical eligibility. The cost of the background checks, and any other required piece of documentation, will be the sole responsibility of the student.

Clinical Component

Details of the Clinical Component of the curriculum will be discussed at a scheduled time during Winter Term when each student will receive a copy of the Clinical Education Guide.

Each student will be required to attend two 12-week Clinical Rotations at pre-determined private dental practice locations within a 100 mile radius of the Ottumwa Campus.

Clinical days will begin on Tuesdays and Thursdays of the Spring and Summer terms.

Selection of the first Clinical Site will be held in the winter term using a lottery system.

Each student is responsible for having reliable transportation to and from their clinical site and adequate means to provide fuel. Students having financial difficulty in this regard are to schedule with the PACE pathway navigator, to evaluate their resources for possible aid.

Units of Time

  • Length of Program: 12 Months
  • Class Days: Monday – Thursday, The IHCC campus is open from 7:15-4:45. Campus is  closed on Fridays.
  • Clinical Days: Tuesdays and Thursdays of the spring and summer terms only.
  • Holidays: No classes are held and no clinical days are scheduled on holidays. Indian Hills observes the following holidays: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Students are not allowed to make up clinical time during IHCC observed breaks.
  • Some clinical facilities have additional holidays such as Martin Luther King Day that are not part of IHCC’s holidays. If a holiday occurs on a scheduled clinical day, you must attend clinical if the dental office is open. If the clinical site is closed, the student must fill out a clinical make-up request form and submit it to the Clinical Coordinator for approval of those hours. All hours must be made up prior to the last clinical day of the term.
  • Breaks: All students will receive a Winter break, Spring break, Early Summer break and Late Summer break which corresponds with those shown on the school calendar.
  • Clinical Rotations: The Clinical Coordinator arranges all clinical rotation schedules and locations. Special requests cannot be honored. All efforts are made to keep student travel time to a minimum. Any changes in clinical site assignments will not be made unless educational benefits are obtained and all parties are consulted prior to final changes.
  • Graduation: Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA (to graduate from Indian Hills Community College) and obtain a minimum grade of “C” or 78% in all core dental assisting classes. All clinical time missed due to leave of absences, etc., must be completed before the student may graduate.

Attendance Policy

Prospective employers consider attendance records a good indicator of future employee behavior. We consider attendance important for that reason and because learning rarely takes place if you are absent, regardless of the reason. Therefore, to satisfactorily complete the objectives of the Dental Assisting program, the following policies must be adhered to:

  • Students are expected to be present for all classroom and lab experiences to attain the objectives of the program. If a student is unable to attend classes held on campus, they are to report their absence each day, prior to the start of class, stating name and reason. Students are to email the Course Instructor via course mail prior to the start of class to report absences. Failure to comply will result in a conference report, an unexcused absence and a deduction in course grades.
  • An absence from clinic site requires a call to the site supervisor and the clinical coordinator.
  • All absences and failures to be on time for classes, lab experiences, or clinical, will cause deductions in the student’s grade.  Any student absent or tardy from a campus class period, will lose Employability Skills points for that class period.
  • The faculty will review attendance frequently to determine if each student is meeting the objectives of the program.
  • Students needing to take a Leave of Absence (maternity, surgery, death in the immediate family, hospitalized child) may submit a written request to the Program Director for review by the Attendance Review Committee. Approval is based on the following:
    • If the student’s previous performance indicates they are able to achieve the objectives of the program.
    • If it is possible for the faculty to plan the student’s program so all learning experiences can be satisfactorily completed.
    • If a leave is granted, the student will be scheduled to make up the work missed.
  • In case of inclement weather, called by the College, the student is excused from campus classes for that day without penalty. Students should sign up for Campus Alerts to be notified of campus closings.
  • Any student absent for two consecutive days must bring a Physician’s Excuse to be allowed back to class.
  • The process for students who exhibit multiple absences is as follows:
    • A review will be made of the student’s records by the Attendance Review Committee.
    • The result of excessive absences will be failure to meet the objectives of the Dental Assisting Program, failing the current course or courses and subsequent removal from the program.
  • If a student fails to email their notice of absence before the class period ends on a scheduled exam day, the student will receive a “0” for that exam. This applies to all Dental Assisting core courses (DEA XXX) and no exceptions are made.  This also includes assignments, quizzes, and competencies.
  • Students will be allowed the opportunity to makeup exams due to absence, however, the student that misses an exam must initiate the makeup process by contacting the instructor. Makeup exams will be scheduled by the student in the Testing Center where the exam will be given in an alternate format (ie: essay, short answer, etc.). All make-up exams will be taken at the testing center in Trustee Hall. See the IHCC website for Testing Center hours. The make-up exam must be made up by the next scheduled campus day by 4:45pm.
  • Late assignments and quizzes will be accepted at 20% up until next scheduled campus day by 4:45pm.  Assignments are expected to be submitted at the start of class.  Most quizzes are given at the start of class, if you are late, you will receive a 20% deduction. No exceptions unless a leave of absence has been granted, or arrangements have been made in advance with the instructor of the course.
  • Laboratory demonstrations will not be repeated for an absent student.  If a student misses a lab class where a competency was done, they are responsible for obtaining the information/notes from a classmate and then arranging a time with the instructor to complete the lab competency.  Students will receive a 20% deduction for late competencies.
  • Failure to complete all lab competencies will result in an incomplete grade in the class.

No Call/No Show Policy

It is never acceptable for a student to not show up and to not call/email.  Just as in the real world, you cannot fail to show up for a job without expecting negative consequences. No show/no call will jeopardize program completion and result in a conference report with the instructor.

The student that does not show up for class/lab and does not call or email will receive a un-excused absence. No make-up grades will be given, although the material must be made up. If a student is a no call/no show two days in a row, they will be withdrawn from the Dental Assisting program.

Grading Policy

Examinations will be given throughout each course.  A course schedule will be provided to the student at the beginning of each term. All schedules are subject to change.

Conferences known as “Mentoring Sessions” will be scheduled each term to discuss grades, progress and personal concerns. Students may feel free to schedule conferences with the instructor or Program Director at any time. Students are expected to take the initiative in scheduling conferences when grades are below average or if the student feels they are having difficulty in class.

In order to graduate from the Dental Assisting Program, a student must receive a passing grade (78%) in all core courses listed for that major and achieve a cumulative grade point average (G.P.A.) of 2.0 or above. This is equivalent to a C average.

Any student whose current term G.P.A. falls below 2.0 will be placed on academic probation for the next term. Academic probation may affect your financial aid. See the Financial Aid Counselor for clarification of your individual situation.

Two terms of academic probation in succession will result in dismissal from the College.

Grades are based upon individual achievement, not upon the relative performance of your classmates. Should a student be unable to complete some portion of assigned course work during the regular term, a mark of “I” (incomplete) may be assigned. In such cases, the student must then complete the course work by midterm of the following term. “Incomplete” grades automatically convert to the letter grade “F” unless the work is satisfactorily completed within the specified 6-week time period.

Students who wish to terminate or withdraw from the program are required to obtain appropriate forms and meet with the Program Director. Withdrawal forms completed and processed two weeks prior to the final date of the term insures that the student does not receive grades of “F” for all of the courses they were enrolled in at the time of the withdraw.

Health Sciences grading is based upon the following percentage scale:

Percentage Scale Letter Grade Numerical Grade
100-93 A 4
92-85 B 3
84-78 C 2
77-75 D 1
74-0 F 0

You may compute your GPA at any time by following this example:

Course Credit Hours Numerical Grade Grade Points
Medical Terminology 2 A (4) 8
Human Anatomy 3 B (3) 9
Human Anatomy Lab 1 P 0
Microbiology and Infection Control 2 C (2) 4
Dental Assisting 1 3.5 B (3) 10.5
Dental Anatomy 2 C (2) 4
Credit Hours: 13.5 Total Grade Points: 35.5

Total Grade Points divided by Credit Hours (excluding pass/fail) = Grade Point Average (GPA)

(35.5/13.5 = 2.6 GPA)

Should a student detect any errors concerning their grades, they should notify the school within two weeks after the grades have been posted. The student should check any individual grade questions immediately with the instructor who issued the grade. If you have questions, regarding your GPA, please contact the Program Director.

Testing Policy

  • Examinations will be given throughout each course. Each instructor will determine the time and content of the examinations.
  • A student must notify the course instructor prior to test date or before the class period ends in which the test is being given if they are unable to test.  Otherwise they will receive a zero for that exam.
  • Prior excused make-up examinations must be completed by the next scheduled campus day by 4:45pm. The student that missed the exam must initiate the make-up process with the instructor. The student will be responsible for scheduling the make-up exam with the Testing Center in Trustee Hall.  The make-up exam will be presented in an alternate format.
  • Make-up tests may not be scheduled during class, lab or clinical time.
  • All make-up tests will be sent to the Testing Center (Trustee Hall).
  • Students attending class must complete the testing for that day even if they were absent for the test review.
  • Final, comprehensive examinations are scheduled for each course at the end of each term.
  • Assignments, quizzes, and competencies must be made up by the next scheduled campus day by 4:45pm and will receive a 20% deduction.
  • Pop quizzes or extra credit work offered on a day a student is absent may not be made up. The student receives an automatic zero.
  • The use of cell phones is NOT allowed during testing for ANY reason.
  • Students who are late for a test will not be allowed entrance during the testing and must make up the test outside of class time and suffer the late penalty.
  • Students requiring accommodations for testing should contact Disability Services to obtain the necessary assistance. Classroom instructors may not make accommodations without proper notification from Disability Services.
  • All books, book bags, and notebooks must be closed and placed under the student desk/table or at the side of the classroom. Cell phones must be off and left in the closed bag. No hats may be worn. If additional paper is needed, it will be provided by the instructor. Calculators will be allowed as determined by instructor.
  • Any student caught cheating on an exam will be dismissed from the room and receive a zero for the exam.  A conference with the Program Director will be scheduled and the incident recorded in the students’ file. This will result in possible dismissal from the program.
  • Students having questions regarding previous tests should contact the instructor AFTER class.
  • Tests will be graded as soon as possible and grades will be posted in the website grade book. Tests will not be reviewed in class or answers provided until the instructor has had time to thoroughly review the test results and all grades have been posted.  Tests can be reviewed by making an appointment with the instructor after everyone has completed the exam.

Academic Misconduct Policy

To view the full Academic Misconduct Policy, please visit the College Catalog & Student Handbook.

Professional Conduct

When caring for dental patients, dental assisting students must conduct themselves in a professional manner. Any serious violation or several minor violations could lead to dismissal from the program.

The following are examples of misconduct:

  • Falsifying records or dishonest behavior.
  • Leaving a clinical area during clinical hours without permission, loafing or sleeping on the premises or conducting personal business during clinical hours.
  • Failure to follow instructions or neglect of duties assigned.
  • Displaying immoral conduct, such as using alcohol or illegal drugs while on duty or reporting for clinical or class under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Fighting, horseplay, disorderly conduct, loud talking or the possession of weapons on campus or health care facility property.
  • Threatening any person while in the clinical or classroom setting.
  • Discourtesy towards patients, dentists, hygienists, office staff or other dental assistants. This includes the use of vile or abusive language.
  • Abuse of time spent on breaks or lunch.
  • Disregard for health care facility safety rules.
  • Smoking in unauthorized areas.
  • Chewing gum while with patients.
  • Disclosing information about patients, students, other assistants or dentists and their practices.
  • Absenteeism and tardiness.
  • Violating dress code.
  • Refusing to assist with a patient because of a patient’s race, color, sex, religion, age, socioeconomic status, beliefs or handicap.
  • Having cell phones on during the clinical or class period day.
  • Destroying, stealing or misusing facility, patient or college property.
  • Going through patient’s possessions without authorization and/or permission of the patient.
  • Refusing to assist chairside when requested by the clinical site.  

Social Media Policy

Social Media is a dynamic platform for interaction through words, images, audio and video.  Examples of these sites include, but are not limited to:  Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and many more. The Dental Assisting Program at Indian Hills Community College respects the rights of its faculty and students to use social media outlets as a means of self -expression.  However, posts made on social media sites may become viral at any time or may be available on public platforms potentially permanently; even when they have been deleted from the website to which they were originally posted.  Social media sites have the potential to reflect both negatively and positively on any user’s future and their future employment.  Students and faculty at IHCC have both ethical and legal obligations with any social media communications.  Thus, IHCC has adopted this social media policy for its faculty and students.  It is the expectation of the college that its content will be adhered to.

The intent of the policy is not to restrict the flow of communication, but to provide guidance for professional, ethical and legal interactions for all of the participants.  The following, are examples of students conduct that in any form of social media are considered unprofessional and may result in disciplinary action and or dismissal from the program.   

  • Posting or discussing confidential patient/family information or photographs.  IHCC considers confidentiality of our patients and families to be of the utmost importance.  Any direct or indirect disclosure of patient or family information is subject to disciplinary action/termination.
  • Posting or discussing information about IHCC, IHCC Services, clients, employees, or anyone associated with the college.
  • Posting or discussing defamatory or false information about IHCC, college services, clients, vendors, employees or anyone associated with the college that is disparaging in nature.
  • Harassing of discriminatory postings of any discussions concerning anyone associated with IHCC.   Students are expressly prohibited from using any social media platform to harass, bully or intimidate other students, faculty or anyone associated with the college.  This would include the following: Derogatory comments with regard to race, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, political beliefs, Veteran status, etc.  This includes any and all other protected class or status information recognized by federal, state and local laws.
  • Sexually suggestive, humiliating or demeaning comments.
  • Threats to intimidate of physically harm an employee, student, of anyone associated or affiliated with the college.
  • Speaking or posting in any way on behalf of the college without explicit permission of the President of the College.
  • Posting work related pictures of college employees, students of anyone associated with the college without that persons’ permission.
  • Students are not allowed to access social media sites during any class or clinical without the express permission of the classroom or clinical instructor.  Students doing this for any non-school related purposes will be subject to disciplinary action/termination.
  • Additionally, students who identify themselves in any social media platform as an IHCC student must recognize and adhere to the following additional guidelines.  Others may view you as a representative of the college.  Because of this distinct possibility, students who choose to identify themselves in this manner are required, as a condition of their enrollment, to observe some additional guidelines when referring to the college, college employees, faculty, its’ programs and activities.  Students who identify themselves as an IHCC student must be respectful of all social media platforms and communications that make reference to IHCC, its employees, faculty or anyone associated with IHCC.  Any obscenities, profanity, vulgar language or images are prohibited.
  • Any discussions referencing conduct that is prohibited by the college or college policies is prohibited.

Any failure on the part of the student to comply with these guidelines for social media conduct will result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the college.

Confidentiality Policy

All patient information that students have access to is personal and private; therefore, confidentiality in Dental Assisting is crucial.

Any violation of the “patient’s confidentiality rights” would be “just cause” for dismissal from the Dental Assisting Program.  Violation would include, but not limited to:

  • Discussing information about a patient in a social media format (ie: Twitter, Facebook, etc.), or with someone not related to the care of the patient.
  • Taking pictures of the patient for personal keeping.
  • Handling inappropriately the personal possessions of the patient, such as going through a patient’s purse/wallet without authorization by the patient.
  • Contacting patient by phone, email, text messaging or Facebook for personal reasons.

Job Placement

The ability of a student to gain employment in their career field upon graduation is a very important part of the educational process. The department, working cooperatively with each student, will do everything possible to see that this objective is met.

The Program Director will post and keep current the known employment opportunities in the surrounding area and will display these opportunities for students’ viewing on the Job Board in the dental lab and on the Dental Assisting Facebook page.

  • The student is responsible for actively seeking employment.
  • The department will make students aware of known job openings in dental assisting.
  • The student should provide the department with placement data once a position is accepted.

Dress Code Policy

Dental Assisting students represent the college and the profession of Dental Assisting. It is imperative that certain standards be met and a dress code be followed. All students in Health Sciences should be neat and clean at all times. During classroom sessions, students may use their own judgment in attire, but it must conform to the codes of decency. Shoes must be worn at all times.

In the clinical setting, a Dental Assisting student shall follow and be graded on these dress code standards:  

Clinical Uniforms: Students are required to purchase at the IHCC bookstore, 1 laboratory jacket, two scrub tops and two scrub pants (official IHCC Dental Assisting scrubs) The student must also wear comfortable, all white shoes. Professional duty shoes are best, no fabric or ventilated shoes are allowed. No cotton, fabric or mesh uppers. Dansko’s are an accepted brand but they must be white. Shoes must be kept clean and polished at all times. All white socks that cover the ankle are required. Photo ID badges will be distributed by DA Faculty at the start of Fall Term. They should be worn so that they can be viewed by others.  Radiation dosimeters are issued in the second term and are an important part of the uniform.  Students not wearing their assigned dosimeter in clinic will be dismissed until they can produce it. Students cannot attend their clinical rotation without their radiation dosimeter.  Dosimeters will be worn on the over-gown at the collar and visible to your clinical supervisor.

Clinical Standards for Hair and Makeup: Hair should be clean and not hanging around the face or falling forward when performing chairside and laboratory duties. If hair is long, it must be pulled back and up and clear the collar. Use cosmetics with moderation. Nails should be well manicured and short with no nail polish.  Artificial fingernails are not allowed.

Clinical Standards for Jewelry: Small, conservative, stud-type pierced earrings are the only jewelry which may be worn with the uniform. Facial jewelry or piercings are not acceptable. Medic Alert tags may be worn. Rings and watches must be removed as they harbor bacteria.

Misc. Clinical Standards: Tattoos must be hidden. If you have a visible tattoo, you must either use a cover stick, tattoo tape, or cover the tattoo with clothing. Chewing gum is never part of the uniform. Please be considerate of the fact that the odor of strong perfumes or cigarette smoke is offensive to many patients. Jewelry, rings, gauges, tongue/ oral piercings and any visible piercings must be removed for clinic setting. For male students: beards and mustaches must be neatly trimmed.

Failure to follow the IHCC Dental Assisting clinical dress code standards will result in the student being asked to leave the dental clinic until the student can be in compliance with the standards.  This may result in a possible absence with accompanying loss of points.

Sexual Misconduct Policy

To view the full Sexual Misconduct Policy, please visit the College Catalog & Student Handbook or the college website.

Radiation Safety Policy

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) requires that an employee is considered a radiation worker if their dose exceeds 10% of the MPD (minimum permissible dose) of 5000 mrem/year.  In accordance with state guidelines for maintaining radiation exposure “As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA)”, Indian Hills Community College strives to assure student exposure during clinical rotations stays under 500 mrem/year.  The action levels established are 200 mrem/quarter and 400 mrem/quarter which are below the state regulated limit of 1250 mrem/quarter.  The Dental Assisting instructors provide students with information about protecting themselves, patients, patient’s families, and the health care team.  Information is provided prior to assignments to clinical rotations.

Students in the Dental Assisting Program receive and are required to wear a radiation monitoring badge at all times when participating in Dental Radiography I & II and while at clinical rotations.  The badge is to be worn on the collar of the over-jacket close to the thyroid gland.  It must be visible to the clinical instructor and clinical supervisor.

To assure student safety:

  • Quarterly radiation monitoring badge reports are reviewed by the Program Director and if any individual report shows an exposure, the student will be required to attend a conference with the Program Director to determine the cause of the exposure.
  • If a student’s exposure exceeds 200 mrem in one calendar quarter, the student receives a letter and is counseled.
  • If a student’s exposure exceeds 400 mrem in one calendar quarter, the student receives a letter, is counseled, and exposure is recorded by the RSO.  The RSO will determine if any additional measures need to be taken.
  • Students who receive a second exposure will be required to remediate with a Radiation Safety assignment and pass a clinical competency with the Program Director.
  • Coursework covers information on radiation monitoring devices and radiation protection in greater detail.

The Radiation Safety Officer for Indian Hills Community College Health Sciences Division:

Integrated Science Support, Inc.
2027 N. 36th St.
St. Joseph, MO 64506
(816)390-9011 Office
(816)294-7061 Cell

Principles of Radiation Protection

One of the responsibilities of the Dental Assisting program is to maximize the benefit from each X-ray exposure and to minimize the radiation received by the patient.  In order to accomplish this, students should practice the following guidelines:

  • Techniques:
    • Take time to position the patient and the sensor properly.
    • Choose exposure factors based on the patient’s size and medical history.
  • Shielding:
    • Use the lead apron with every X-ray.
    • Thyroid collars must be used for every child.
  • Protect Yourself:
    • Always wear a dosimeter to monitor exposure.  Wear this at collar level outside of the over-jacket.  Failure to have your dosimeter will prevent you from participating in Radiology class and Clinical Rotation.
    • Stand at least 6 feet from the source of radiation

A “Radiation Protection Policy Acknowledgment” will be signed by each student at orientation and kept in their permanent file.

Patient Selection Radiation Policy

Patients selected for the Indian Hills Community College Dental Assisting Program for radiology exposure must meet the following criteria:

The Indian Hills Community College Dental Assisting Program uses ionizing radiation as part of its educational program.  Certain precautions must be taken to protect the health of both student and patient volunteer to be consistent with current health guidelines. Exposures to patients will not occur unless a Clinical Instructor is present in the Radiography Lab.

  • Patients must present a signed “Doctor’s Authorization Form” prescribing needed radiographs from the patient’s dentist of record. A completed health history form and a Patient Volunteer form must also be signed by the patient.
  • Persons must NOT have had bitewing exposures within the past 12 months to qualify for a bitewing series.  Two retakes are allowed and one retake of a retake. There are NO retakes allowed on children.
  • Persons must NOT have had a Panelipse exposure OR Full-Mouth Survey within the past 3 years to have either of these surveys repeated. 5 retakes are allowed for the FMS and one retake of a retake. A Panelipse cannot be retaken.
  • Women of child-bearing age must inform the dental assisting student if they are pregnant or suspect they may be pregnant. The student will always ask the female patient if they are pregnant or if there is a chance they may be pregnant at the time of exposure.


All students participating in DEA312 and DEA321 MUST wear a dosimeter. Lack of your dosimeter will prevent you from participation in Radiography lab class and clinic.

Dosimeters in the Dental Assisting Program

All accepted students in the Dental Assisting program will be required to wear a radiation dosimeter to be used during DEA312, DEA321 and DEA574-575.   Declared pregnant students will be required to purchase an additional fetal badge at $30.00.

Dosimeters shall be worn as follows:

During routine radiographic procedures, the dosimeter should be attached to the clothing on the front of the body at collar level to approximate the location of maximal radiation dose to the thyroid, head and neck.

Loss of the dosimeter or accidental exposure must be reported to the Clinical Coordinator and Program Director at once. Students must pay the cost of a new badge and the $5.00 overnight shipping fee ($35) to receive a replacement badge in order to avoid missing any lab classes.  Students are not allowed to participate in Dental Radiology I & II or in Assisting Clinical I & II without their dosimeter.

Dosimeters are exchanged with the monitoring service every quarter. Students are given a minimum of two weeks’ notice for badge exchange date. Failure to exchange within the allotted time will result in loss of all employability skill points for that day and each successive day past the due date.  

Loss of dosimeter will result in a $30 charge. *Fee subject to change

Incidents in the Dental Assisting Program

In the event of a life-threatening emergency in the dental clinic or classroom, emergency personnel will be notified as indicated in the Crisis Management Booklet located near the door of each classroom, laboratory and clinic.  The Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) for our building is located on the main floor near the front entrance.

All incidents, which are inconsistent with routine dental care or treatment, must be reported to the Clinical Coordinator immediately and a written report describing the incident completed. All instrument/needle sticks or other injury must be reported immediately and all paperwork must be completed within 24 hours.  If you incur an incident while at your clinical site, you MUST stop everything and contact your Clinical Coordinator immediately.

Student Injury

In the event that an accident or injury occurs while the student is in the classroom, the student will have access to appropriate care. Notify the Program Director immediately. The payment for medical care and related costs are the responsibility of the student.

Student Expectations

 In addition to the Indian Hills Community College Catalog and the Program Policy Manual, the Dental Assisting student will be responsible for the following:

  • Complete and pay for a background check through “CastleBranch” online.  Use a credit card to make the payment and complete the process given the instructions provided. The Drug Screening test is required to be completed 4 weeks after your initial orientation.
  • Complete and return the “Dentist Authorization” form given out at orientation.  This allows you to be a patient for your classmates when you begin Radiology courses in the second term. Please defer any dental x-rays if you visit your dentist before the start of classes.
  • Join and participate in your professional organization, Student American Dental Assisting Association (SADAA).  Fees for membership to the organization are the responsibility of the student.  Membership will be completed on-line through the ADAA during the first term. All students are required to become Student Members and attend the Annual Session in Coralville in April.
  • Be active in the IHCC Dental Assisting club “Smile Squad” and contribute time to fundraising and club activities.  Elections of officers are held during the first term. Failure of any student to participate in the Student Club will risk the withdrawal of any scholarship monies for the remainder of the program or until the student can demonstrate a team spirit, whichever comes first.
  • Personal Liability Insurance both to yourself and occupants of your vehicle in transportation to and from the clinical site.
  • Personal accident and health insurance to cover same at the school and at the dental office.
  • Attend and successfully complete a CPR course. If you are currently certified, upload into Castlebranch.
  • Irreproachable personal conduct at the college, the clinical site, in transportation between the two institutions and any time you are publicly wearing the approved clinical attire.
  • Academic achievement and skill achievement in all educational situations whether in the classroom or in the dental office. (A student must maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 2.0 during each term they are in the program). All Dental Assisting core classes require a “C” (78%) or above to continue in the program.
  • Normal school supplies required for any educational experience.
  • Clinical supplies required for on-campus lab classes and clinical rotations.
  • Maintenance of work standards set by the clinical site and all clinical instructors.
  • Required attendance at clinical experiences, classes, seminars, and individual conferences with the instructors.
  • Sit for all State of Iowa exams to be scheduled in the Testing Center each spring. The $20.00 fee for each exam is the responsibility of the student.
  • Attendance at clinical rotations as scheduled by the Dental Assisting Clinical Coordinator.
  • Students are encouraged to attend the Iowa Mission of Mercy scheduled yearly.
  • Register an account with CastleBranch and pay the $171.00 fee immediately after Program Orientation and obtain a Drug Screening through Ottumwa Regional Health Center following the instructions given. Work on meeting the remaining requirement deadlines of the Compliance Tracker.
  • Register for and attend the May Graduation ceremony.  This is the only graduation ceremony that you will have in the Dental Assisting program although your true graduation isn’t till August.
  • Apply for and take the Dental Assisting National Board examination (DANB) for Certified Dental Assistant. The student is responsible for the exam fee.
  • Register with the Iowa Dental Board and pay the fee for State Registration to be legally able to work as a dental assistant in Iowa.
State of Iowa Jurisprudence Exam  (IHCC Testing Center) $20.00
State of Iowa Infection Control Exam (IHCC Testing Center) $20.00
State of Iowa Radiation Health and Safety Exam (IHCC Testing Center) $20.00
DANB CDA Exam (Pearson Testing Center) $450.00
State of Iowa DA Registration $60.00

*Fees are subject to change

Field Trips

Throughout the Dental Assisting program, there will be pre-planned field trips. Attendance at Field Trips is mandatory. Students are responsible for their own transportation unless otherwise announced.

Field Trips are part of your education and will be weighted as a quiz score for the designated course they occur in. 100% for complete attendance and a 0% for absence. Loss of Employability Skills points for the designated course will also be lost for absence.

Close toed shoes are always required, along with Smile Squad t-shirt or IHCC college wear. Students will be responsible for their own lunch, unless otherwise announced.

All dates will be announce in advance.

Clinical Classroom Instruction

If a student is absent from a campus clinical class, they are expected to arrange time with program faculty to make up any laboratory performance competency they may have missed. It has previously been stated that labs cannot be repeated and when the student misses a lab, it is their responsibility to obtain the information and notes from a classmate. Time to complete any competency will be arranged according to faculty availability. Late lab comps will have a 20% deduction. No student may use the dental clinic for practice of dental assisting skills without a member of the dental assisting faculty being present at all time.

Clinical Classroom Safety

To insure safety in IHCC campus clinical classes, students should be aware of the following procedures:

  • Students will receive and study information on blood and body fluid precautions, hand washing techniques and proper disposal of medical waste.
  • Students will receive and study information on hazardous materials and OSHA requirements. See Appendix M, page 69, for a list of items that students will come into contact with while progressing through the dental assisting curriculum.
  • Students are required to have hair tied back, and above the collar, wash hands, glove and mask prior to disinfecting, hand sanitize prior to donning gloves and rewash hands when leaving clinic or after gloves are removed.
  • Clinic lab ratios for Radiography I & II will be 1:6, All other clinical labs will be at the ratio of 1:12.
  • Faculty will respond to all student requests regarding correct and safe techniques of dental assisting skills.
  • Correct safety measures will be emphasized in every clinical and materials class.
  • Proper use of all equipment will be demonstrated by the faculty prior to student use.
  • Emergency procedures are reviewed on the first day of class and are posted near the entrances for all campus labs.

Practical Evaluations

In order for students to achieve competency in clinical skills, instructors for the laboratory portions of the Dental Assisting courses have developed competency skill sheets that will be used to gauge each students’ understanding and performance of the particular skills required in the Dental Assisting Program. These evaluations make up a portion of each laboratory course grade. Students will be allowed time to practice their skills prior to testing.

Competency skill sheets have a minimum score that must be achieved to progress in the program.  If the minimum score is not achieved on first attempt, students are allowed to retake to meet required percentage, but the original score will remain in the grade book.

Non-Smoking Policy

Iowa law has mandated that smoking is not allowed on campus or within any dental facility. This includes the use of tobacco in your vehicle while on campus.

Cell Phone Policy

Personal cell phones/pagers are to be kept with personal belongings and not to be in use during class except for designated breaks. Students in violation of this policy will receive deductions in points for the class in which the infraction occurs.  Violation of the cell phone policy will result in your phone being confiscated for the remainder of the class and ALL of your daily professional component points will be deducted for that class that day.

Grievance and Appeals Procedures

To view the full Grievance Policy, please visit the College Catalog & Student Handbook.

Student Health Statement

Each student is required to sign a form stating they understand and accept the essential functions expected of a Dental Assisting student.  This form gives students the option to declare any accommodations needed to complete the program. Physical ability requirements at the beginning of the program, and upon return to clinical following absence due to health status, have the potential to influence patient/student safety and affect the quality of care provided by the student.

Drug Screen Policy

All Health Science students will be required to have a drug screen prior to the clinical experience.  Dental Assisting students are required to have drug screen prior to midterm of Fall term.  The student portfolio (on the CastleBranch website) will contain the drug screen results.  Those results will be available to both the student and program administrator.

The process will be as follows:

  • The student will be provided with information on setting up their account for the Castle Branch portal during the mandatory program orientation
  • The student will place an order and pay for the drug screen on the portal. 
  • The student is responsible for the drug testing fee.
  • Castle Branch accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover, debit, electronic check or money order.
  • The confirmation of payment will be issued to the student. 
  • The confirmation form will be printed as proof to the program administrator.
  • The program administrator will then issue the Forensic Drug Testing Custody and Control Form.                  

How should students schedule their drug test?

  • Call the Ottumwa Regional Health Center Occupational Health at 641-684-2466 to set up a drug testing appointment.
  • Take the Forensic Drug Testing Custody and Control Form to the appointment at Ottumwa Regional Health Center Laboratory.  
  • Results will be submitted to the Castle Branch Certified Background database from the lab testing site. 
  • The student will receive an email to check their account for further information. 

Who gets the results?

  • The test result will first be reported to the Medical Review Officer (MRO) associated with Castle Branch for review and interpretation. 
  • The MRO will then report a confirmed positive test result to the student. 
  • The MRO will attempt to call the student two times from this phone number 800-526-9341. The hours of the follow up phone call will be between 8-5 EST. 
  • Any questions regarding the results of any drug or alcohol test may be directed to the MRO.

Negative Results:

  • Negative Test Result: notice will be posted on the Castle Branch student account of passing the initial drug or alcohol test.

Positive Results:

  • Positive Test Result/Failed Test:  The MRO will confirm any proof of the student prescriptions, and make any necessary updates to the positive test result.
  • Right to Secondary Confirmatory Test:  A student with a confirmed positive test result may ask for a second confirmatory test using ONLY the results from the first test sample from another approved laboratory within seven days of the IHCC mailing of the positive test results to the student. 
  • The confirmatory test will be conducted on a portion of the sample collected at the same time as the sample that produced the positive test result.
  • The student is responsible for the cost of second confirmatory test.
  • The sample of collection test will be split in the presence of the individual student to allow for the confirmatory testing of any initial positive test result.
  • During the confirmatory process, students may be suspended from the clinical and/or classroom experience.

Confirmed Positive Results:

  • Students with any confirmed positive results will be withdrawn from the program.

Legal Medication/Drugs Notification:

  • A student must notify the clinical supervisor or program director whenever they are using a prescription or over-the-counter drug, which may affect safety or work-performance.
  • In making this determination, the student is responsible for consulting with their licensed healthcare professional and reviewing any warning on the label to determine if any medication or drug would adversely affect the student’s ability to safely perform essential functions of the clinical or classroom experience. 
  • If the student is deemed by a Medical Doctor, Doctor of Osteopathy, Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner to be safe during the clinical or classroom experience, a “release to attend clinical/classroom document” is required to be signed and kept in the student’s file at IHCC. 
  • The student who does not fully disclose this information will be subject to possible disciplinary action which may lead to dismissal from the program.

Prescription medications that do not impair performance may be brought to the clinical site and should be taken as prescribed.  All prescription drugs must be kept in the pharmacy dispensed container.

Testing due to reasonable suspicion:

  • Once a student is enrolled in the program, if there is a reasonable suspicion of drug or alcohol use, the Program Director will have the right to approve an additional drug or alcohol test at the student’s expense.  The clinical site also has the right to request a drug/alcohol test at the student’s expense.

Reasonable suspicion may include, but is not limited to:

  • student behavior or conduct including physical manifestations
  • evidence that the involved student has caused or contributed to a clinical or classroom related accident
  • objective signs that the involved student may have used drugs or alcohol (i.e., slurred speech, staggering gait, odor of alcohol), or reports from others of a clinical “accident”, slurred speech, etc. 

When a program director, faculty member or clinical instructor has suspicion of alcohol or drug use during the clinical experience, the following steps will be taken:

  • Remove student from the patient care area or assigned work area and notify the clinical instructor and the Program Director.
  • Consult with another faculty, clinical instructor, or employee for verification of suspicions in a confidential manner.
  • Upon verification by a second person, inform the student that they are relieved from duty and that there is a need “for cause” drug/alcohol screening.
  • If the student admits to alcohol and/or drug use, the student must undergo urine drug testing
  • Pending the resolution of any testing, the student will be suspended from clinical and/or classroom sites
  • A student subsequently found to have positive test results will be removed from the program.
  • All incidents involving “reasonable suspicion” drug testing in the clinical setting will be handled with strict confidentiality
  • Costs for “reasonable suspicion” drug testing are the student’s responsibility.

Transportation of student after reasonable suspicion:

  • An unimpaired person (such as a family member or friend) or taxi cab must transport the student to nearing testing facility.  A release form must be signed by the person transporting the student and provided to the Clinical Supervisor/Program Director.  If a taxi is transporting the student, the person observing the student enter the taxi may sign the release form and provide to the Clinical Supervisor/Program Director. 
  • If the nearest testing facility is at the clinical site, student should be sent for testing and then an unimpaired individual or taxi cab should take the student home.  If a taxi is transporting the student, the person observing the student enter the taxi may sign the release form.
  • While awaiting transport, the student should not be allowed to leave the supervisor’s presence or ingest any substances.
  • If the student insists on driving, either clinic supervisor or Program Director will notify law enforcement.
  • Pending the resolution of any testing, the student will be suspended from clinical and field sites.  
  • A student subsequently found to have positive test results will be removed from the program.

If the student refuses “reasonable suspicion” testing:

  • Have an unimpaired individual or taxi take the student home
  • Document the following in writing:
    • Student behavior
    • Actions taken
    • Written statement of person verifying behaviors
    • Student’s response
  • Contact the Clinical Supervisor/Program Director as soon as possible and deliver written documentation to the Clinical Supervisor/Program Director within 3 days of the incident.
  • Students who refuse reasonable suspicion testing will be removed from the program.

If a facility other than the approved testing site at Ottumwa Regional Health Center performs drug/alcohol testing:

  • The student is obligated to notify the Program Director of any request by a clinical site for additional testing due to reasonable suspicion. 
  • If tested by a clinical site, the student shall provide the Program Director with a copy of any test results. 
  • Failure to promptly notify the Program Director shall be ground for dismissal from the program. 
  • The student is responsible for any expense incurred with testing.

If a student voluntarily discloses a drug or alcohol problem:

  • If a student voluntarily discloses that they have an alcohol/drug problem and requests assistance, they are then referred to IHCC Student Health. 
  • Students may be temporarily suspended from the program and/or clinical experience until such time as they have completed drug/alcohol treatment and are considered safe to return to both the classroom and clinical site by a Medical Doctor, Doctor of Osteopathy, Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner.

Minor Students:

  • Any minor student under the age of 18 must abide by the drug and alcohol testing policy. 
  • A parent or legal guardian of a student under the age of 18 must sign an acknowledgment of receipt of a copy of this policy. 
  • Those students who are minors under the age of 18 must obtain notarized parental/legal guardian consent on Section II of the Drug/Alcohol Test Release & Consent For Minors.
  • Lack of consent for testing will disqualify the minor from continued clinical participation and participation in the Program.

Providing False Information:

  • Any student who provides false information when completing paperwork required for a drug test or when responding to required questions for an alcohol or drug screen test will be removed from the Program. 
  • Any student who dilutes, contaminates, tampers with, alters or interferes in any way with the collection of a specimen for testing purposes will removed from the program.


  • The costs of alcohol or drug rehabilitation, treatment and counseling will be the responsibility of the student.
  • Costs of drug/alcohol testing are the responsibility of the student

Criminal Background Checks

Criminal and Abuse Background Checks

National and State criminal and dependent adult/child abuse checks are required of every student preparing to enroll in an Indian Hills Community College Health Sciences program.  The cost of the required checks is the responsibility of the student/applicant.

The Criminal and Dependent Adult/Child abuse background check procedure is established to meet the requirements for the partnerships between the College and the clinical facilities and/or sites.  Students who have a criminal history, and are cleared to participate in an IHCC Health Sciences academic program, are still responsible to work with their professional licensing or certification board for determination if they are eligible to sit for that profession’s licensure or certification.

Timeline for completion of background check policy: (Non- CNA students)

  • The background check must be completed prior to starting the program or as directed by the program director for special circumstances.  Students who fail to complete the required checks may not be able to attend laboratory or clinical. 
  • Students who change from one IHCC Health Sciences program to another without a term between may use the first program’s check ONLY if it is no more than 12 months since the initial check was run.
    • *Students entering the ECE program must undergo that specific process to enter, regardless of previous checks.
  • Students who complete a Health Sciences program and have more than one term before the next program start will need to have the check repeated, no matter how long ago the first check was completed.

Criteria used to determine whether a student is ineligible to participate in an Indian Hills Community College Health Sciences program: 

At Any Time

  • Refusal to participate in the background check or evaluation process.
  • Iowa DHS record check evaluation determines the student is not eligible to participate in the clinical portion of the course and/or to work in a health care facility.
  • A felony conviction.
  • A felony, serious misdemeanor or aggravated misdemeanor charge with an outstanding disposition or warrant.
  • A serious misdemeanor or aggravated misdemeanor conviction in which the probationary period has not been completed.
  • A criminal conviction, of any kind, related to past employment, and/or a healthcare system or organization.
  • Inclusion on the child, dependent adult and/or sexual abuse registry.

The Past 5 Years

  • A criminal conviction of any kind related to illegal distribution or theft of drugs.

The Past 2 Years

  • A serious or aggravated misdemeanor conviction of theft or a pattern of theft convictions.

The Past  1 Year

  • A criminal conviction related to the possession of drugs, paraphernalia, and/or illegal substances.

Any of the criteria listed below may disqualify you from enrollment in IHCC’s Health Sciences programs based on factors such as job/program relatedness, patterns, time frames and/or completion of sentence.

  • Recent criminal conviction(s) or charges of any type.
  • A misdemeanor conviction involving domestic abuse with injury, violence, or sexual misconduct.
  • A pattern of criminal convictions or charges.
  • 2 or more OWI convictions.

*While enrolled in any Health Sciences program at IHCC, it is expected that students report all child abuse, dependent adult abuse, and/or criminal activity, in which they are involved, to IHCC within forty-eight (48) hours of the incident.  Failure to do so could result in criminal charges per Iowa Code and removal from the program.

Process for Criminal and Abuse Background Checks


National/State Background Check

Students who enroll in a non-nursing Health Sciences program are required to purchase a package from CastleBranch that includes a National Background Check and the Iowa Adult and Child Protective Services check:

  • https://portal.castlebranch.com/IG54 Follow instructions for creating an account and submitting info for background check.  Complete student health information (physical, immunizations, etc.) is uploaded by student.

The background check must be completed prior to starting the program or as directed by the program director for special circumstances.  Students who fail to complete the required checks may not be able to attend laboratory or clinical. 

State Background check – ($20.00)

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals requires a State check and verification be done through Iowa Department of Human Services.  Copy and paste the link to print the form.

ALL background check materials will need to be completed and submitted to the appropriate entity no later than 2 weeks prior to course/program start date.   Students who fail to complete the above steps prior to the course start will not be able to start the course.  If the State Background check and verification is more than 30 days old, it is not valid for the CNA program and will need to be repeated at the 20.00 fee.

Dependent Adult/Child Abuse Checks

Faculty and students in the Health Sciences Division are required to complete state approved dependent adult and child abuse mandatory reporter training. 

Students in the Health Sciences Division are required to become certified as dependent adult and child abuse reporters. This requirement is met by completing the program for dependent adult and child abuse with information on the following content areas: Iowa law, probable reasons, recognition, and reporting process. 

Students who are assigned to learning experiences in a clinical setting may be required to have a Dependent Adult/Child Abuse background check. The findings of that report may make a student ineligible for a clinical rotation. Students will assume responsibility for the cost of the background check.  Clinical assignments will not be made on the basis of this requirement.

Clinical Protective Health Policy

The Dental Assisting faculty at Indian Hills Community College believes that physical and mental health is essential components of well-being and are imperative for successful performance in the Dental Assisting program. An alteration or limitation in physical or mental function has the potential to influence patient/Dental Assisting safety and affect the quality of care provided by the student.

To assure that patient safety is not compromised and to avoid the increased risk of student injury, the Dental Assisting faculty, using professional knowledge and judgment, may request the student to leave the clinical setting if the student’s physical or mental status is impaired. Physical and mental impairment that potentially may affect student performance in the clinical setting may include, but is not limited to:

  • Contagious Conditions (ie: Chicken Pox, Influenza, Herpes Simplex)
  • Immune-Suppressed Conditions (ie: Chemotherapy, Acute infections)
  • Physical Limitations (ie: Back/Neck Injury, Fracture, Sprain, Surgery)
  • Impairment of Judgment/Mental Functions (ie: Prescription Drug/Alcohol Use/Abuse)
  • Cognitive Impairment (ie: Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Depression)
  • Uncorrected Visual/Hearing Impairment

When the faculty member becomes aware of any of the identified or similar conditions, the following procedure will be followed:

  • After gathering sufficient information concerning the physical and/or mental status of the student, the instructor will determine the feasibility of the student remaining in the clinical setting. If it is determined that the student is not able to perform at the expected level due to physical illness or limitations and/or mental impairment, the student will be dismissed from the clinical setting.
  • The student will be notified that dismissal from the clinical setting will result in a clinical absence or absences that will be addressed as specified in the Program Policy Manual and Clinical Education Guide.
  • The instructor will notify the Program Director of the student’s health status and the action taken within 24 hours.
  • Documentation of the student’s status and instructor’s action will be completed on a Conference Report within 24 hours and a copy will be submitted to the Health Sciences Division Office within 48 hours.
  • A signed note by a physician (MD or DO) will be required at the discretion of the instructor and in consultation with the Associate Dean of Health Sciences before the student can return to the clinical setting. Information provided by the physician must include a statement confirming that the student’s condition has resolved and no longer presents a patient/student safety concern. The student must be able to resume functioning at a level compatible with meeting clinical requirements and achieving clinical competence. 
  • The student will be required to sign a student health statement before returning to clinical. Physical Ability Forms will be available with the Dental Assisting instructors or in the Health Sciences Office.
  • Students in the Dental Assisting program will be required to have drug screening. The cost of the screening is the responsibility of the student.

It is the judgment of the IHCC Dental Assisting Faculty that impairments due to alcohol and other medications are not only dangerous for the student but also risk the safety of others. Because of safety, with appropriate screening or documentation of impairments related to this, immediate permanent dismissal from the program may take place on these grounds.

If the student has a substance abuse problem, they should seek help. The student can contact Student Health Services (641)-683-5336 or local substance abuse center or treatment center.

Physical Examinations & Immunizations

Student Dental Assistants will be in direct contact with patients at the clinical site. It is extremely important that each student have a physical examination prior to starting the clinical component to assure both the student and the affiliate that the student is physically able to participate in the activities required of a Dental Assistant. Each student will have a physical performed by a licensed Physician or Advanced Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant. In addition, documentation and/or results of the following immunizations and tests is required: Poliomyelitis; MMR or Rubella; Mantoux Skin Test for Tuberculosis (1 if test has been performed within one year or two if no test has been performed); Tetanus/Diptheria Booster; and Hepatitis B (optional). The completed form will be uploaded into the student’s Castlebranch account. TB skin tests will be expected to be kept current during the length of the Dental Assisting program, if the skin test expires during the program year it will need to be renewed.

Covid Exemption Policy

Students assigned to a clinical facility that has a COVID vaccination requirement for staff and students, and also allows medical and/or religious exemption requests, may request an exemption if they choose not to receive vaccination. 

If the facility has their own internal form that students are allowed to use, students assigned to the facility may submit an exemption request, following the approval process outlined by the facility.  For facilities that do not have an exemption request form available to students, but do allow requests, the Iowa Department of Public Health exemption request form will be used. 

Requests are submitted to the program director of the student’s program.  Program directors will ensure that forms are properly completed, and notarized for religious exemption requests.  Forms will be kept on file in the program director’s office, unless requested by the clinical facility.

Properly completed forms will follow these steps:

Medical Exemptions:

  • Student has used correct form provided by relevant clinical site or is using the IDPH medical form
  • COVID vaccination is specifically noted as exempt
  • Form is properly filled out
  • Form is signed by an MD, DO, PA or NP
  • Form/certificate has an expiration date (not to exceed 60 days)
  • Form has been submitted to the Program Director in a timely manner

Religious Exemptions:

  • Student has used the correct form provided by relevant clinical site or is using the IDPH religious exemption form
  • Form is appropriately filled out
  • Form is notarized
  • Form has been submitted to the Program Director in a timely manner

Bloodborne Pathogens and HIV Policy

Students may be participating in activities within the Health Sciences programs, which have potential for exposure to infectious diseases including but not limited to: Hepatitis B and HIV. Health Sciences students must take all necessary precautions to minimize the risk of exposure. Students who fail to comply with the bloodborne pathogen and HIV policy may be asked to withdraw from the program.

In the event of a significant exposure (i.e. an incident involving eye, mouth, other mucous membrane, non-intact skin, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious material, including saliva), the student must report the incident immediately to their clinical site supervisor or Clinical Coordinator. The Clinical Coordinator or Program Director will file a safety/loss report form describing the incident. The completed form will be submitted to the Associate Dean of Health Sciences within 24 hours.

Follow-up evaluation will be required consistent with federal regulations. This may involve going to their personal physician or the emergency room. Students are responsible for the cost of their own medical care.

Hepatitis B Information

It is highly recommended that all students providing direct patient or child care in the Health Sciences Division receive an immunization against Hepatitis B. Although it is not required, it is highly recommended and is considered to be an extremely good investment. Students are particularly vulnerable to contamination as their hand washing skills generally are not yet developed. Although the incidence of the infection is relatively low, the outcome can be fatal. Since there is a vaccine available, all health care providers who are at risk are encouraged to become immunized.

Health care professionals are at an increased risk of contracting Hepatitis B infection. Hepatitis B is usually spread by contact with infected blood or blood products and the risk of acquiring Hepatitis B increases with the frequency of blood contact. Hepatitis B virus may also be found in other body fluids such as: urine, tears, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk. Hepatitis B infection can have severe consequences, including progressive liver damage and the possibility of developing hepatocellular carcinoma. Six to ten percent of the people who contract the virus become chronic carriers.

Vaccination is the only available means of protection against Hepatitis B. No currently available therapy has proven effective in eliminating the infection. This vaccine, prepared from recombinant yeast cultures, is free of association with human blood or blood products. Full immunization requires three doses of the vaccine over a six month period. Because of the long incubation period for Hepatitis B, it is possible for an unrecognized infection to be present at the time the vaccine is given, and in that case, the vaccine would not prevent the development of clinical hepatitis. You will need your physician’s approval or order prior to being immunized. They will provide you with information regarding the contraindications and side effects of the vaccine. Contact your physician for additional information.

As part of the curriculum, all students in Health Sciences programs will receive instruction regarding Hepatitis B and HIV prior to providing patient care. This instruction shall include but not be limited to:

  • Epidemiology
  • Method of transmission
  • Standard blood and body fluid precautions
  • Types of protective clothing and equipment
  • Work practices appropriate to the skills they will perform
  • Location of appropriate clothing and equipment
  • How to properly use, handle and dispose of contaminated articles
  • Action to be taken in the event of spills or personal exposure
  • Appropriate confidentiality and reporting requirements
  • Review of program policy related to refusal to care for specific patients.

Post Exposure Procedure for Health Sciences Students:

If a student has been exposed to a contaminant parenterally (needle stick or cut) or superficially through a mucous membrane (eye or mouth) they are to follow the following procedure:

  • Stop work immediately
  • Immediately wash the affected area with the appropriate solution (soap & water or alcohol & water)
  • Seek appropriate medical attention through their personal physician (students are responsible for their own medical care). This may include baseline testing for HIV antibody at this time, followed by a recommended series of testing. (Physicians may also inquire about the students’ status in regard to tetanus and hepatitis immunization at this time
  • Follow instructional (facility) policy regarding determining HIV and hepatitis status of patient (students are responsible for the costs to any testing).
  • Maintain confidentiality of patient
  • Seek appropriate counseling regarding risk of infection.
  • Fill out and submit all required IHCC forms to the Program Director that day.

Guidelines for HIV Positive Health Care Providers:

The Center for Disease Control has specific guidelines for health care workers which are revised periodically. They have been incorporated into these policies and are reviewed annually.

  • There shall be no routine serological testing or monitoring of students for Hepatitis B or HIV infection.
  • Barrier or standard blood and body fluid precautions are to be used routinely for all patients. These include:
    • The use of gloves when:
      • Assisting chairside with any patient.
      • There is, at any time, a possibility of spillage of blood or body fluid onto the student’s hands.
      • Taking any kind of impression, bite registration or delivering any kind of appliance
    • The use of masks, protective eye wear and over-gowns when there is a possibility of fluids splashing onto the face or body and clothing.

Specific Guidelines for Known HIV Infected Health Occupations Students:

  • HIV positive health occupations students who do not perform invasive procedures need not be restricted from work/clinical experiences unless they have other illnesses or signs and symptoms for which such restrictions would be warranted.
  • HIV positive health occupations students should wear gloves for direct contact with mucous membrane or non-intact skin of patients.
  • HIV positive health occupations students who have exudative lesions or weeping dermatitis should refrain from direct patient care and from handling patient care equipment and utensils.
  • Reasonable accommodations will be made within the curriculum to assist the HIV positive student to meet course/program objectives.
  • The facility policy for clinical experiences will supersede college policy if they are more stringent.

Confidentiality will be maintained whenever possible, with only appropriate individuals being informed of the HIV status of a health occupations student. 

Provision of Care

Assignments are made in the clinical setting to enhance and/or reinforce student learning. It is the expectation that students will provide care for clients to whom they are assigned. In the event that a student refuses to care for an individual the following will occur:

  • In consultation with the student, the facility member will determine the reason for the refusal.
  • If the reason is determined to be valid the student will be reassigned.
  • If the reason is determined to be not valid the student will be counseled about unethical conduct and discriminating against a client regarding but not limited to the following: age, race, sex, economic status or illness of the patient or client.
  • If it is determined that the reason for refusal to care for a specific individual is as noted above, the student will be counseled to reconsider their future in health care. 

The Associate Dean of Health Sciences shall be notified of any such occurrence and may meet with the student, along with the faculty member to discuss options, one of which may be withdrawal from the program.  

Pregnancy Policy

According to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Regulator Guide 8.13 a student enrolled in the Dental Assisting program who becomes pregnant will be provided the following options related to the pregnancy:

The regulations allow a pregnant student to decide whether to formally declare the pregnancy to the advantage of lower dose limit for the embryo/fetus.

The choice whether to declare a pregnancy is completely voluntary.

The Dental Assisting program provides the following options:

  • A student may voluntarily declare the pregnancy by notifying the Program Director in writing and providing a physician’s statement that includes name, a declaration of pregnancy, the estimated month and year of conception and the date that the Program Director was provided the letter. If this option is chosen the student will conference with the Program Director regarding the regulations and potential risks.

If the student chooses to voluntarily declare the pregnancy, the following options will be provided. The student may:

  • Sign a Release of Liability Statement releasing Indian Hills Community College and the dental clinical education setting from liability and to continue in the program. The signed, “Release of Responsibility for Pregnancy” (available through the Program Director), will be included in the student’s permanent IHCC record. The student will review a copy of the Radiation Protection Regulations and Current Reports from the National Council for Radiation Protection and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding the effects of ratios on the unborn fetus. The student will be required to wear an additional fetal monitoring dosimeter and will be directed in the use of this dosimeter. The fee for the fetal dosimeter is the responsibility of the student.
  • Withdraw from the program and reenter when an opening is available. Typically, this would be the following year.

If the student chooses not to declare the pregnancy, no further action by the Program Director or other officials will result. 

  • Students will be required to sign off on the pregnancy policy, stating their understanding of it, in the Appendices.

Tuberculosis Policy

Indian Hills Community College Health Sciences programs have adopted the following policy:

Students enrolled in the clinical education portion of all Health Sciences programs will not knowingly be assigned to provide care to individuals who have active tuberculosis.

IHCC requires and will continue to require an annual Mantoux tuberculosis test on all students at their own expense. Initially students will be required to complete two Mantoux tests if they have not had a previous one within the past year. See Student Physical Form.

If a student is exposed to an individual who tests positive for tuberculosis, the protocol for medical follow-up will be implemented.

Infection Control Policy

Indian Hills Community College is informing that all students entering the dental assisting program will  have exposure to infectious diseases.  Infection control procedures are mandated to prevent the contamination and spread of diseases.


  • All students and faculty will wash their hands with soap and water at the beginning and end of lab and preclinical work.
  • All faculty and students will wash their hands and any other skin with soap and water, or flush mucous membranes with water, immediately or as soon as feasible following contact of such body areas with blood or other potentially infectious materials.
  • All faculty and students will wash their hands immediately or as soon as feasible after the removal of gloves or other personal protective equipment.
  • The use of an alcohol-based hand rub is allowed between patients or when changing gloves during patient treatment, provided hands are not visibly soiled with blood or other potentially infectious material. 
  • An alcohol-based hand rub cannot be used in place of handwashing at the beginning of the clinical session or end of the clinical session.

Examination Gloves

  • Worn for all intraoral procedures and when working with contaminated objects in the laboratory such as study impressions
  • Cover the sleeve of the gown or lab coat
  • Change if discolored, torn, or sticky
  • Must not be washed or otherwise reused
  • Change between patients
  • Are not to be worn any area other that direct patient care

Heavy Duty Gloves

  • Worn for all cleaning and disinfection of instruments, dental units or equipment, and environmental surfaces.

Masks and/or Faceshields

  • Worn for all intraoral procedures
  • Change for each patient
  • Change if it becomes moist
  • Face shields may be worn over the mask
  • Worn for all cleaning/disinfecting procedures


  • Worn for all intraoral and laboratory procedures
  • Cover the entire orbit
  • Have side extensions
  • Be cleaned and disinfected between clients
  • Worn for all cleaning/disinfecting procedures.
  • Faceshield may be worn in place of goggles or eyeglasses

Protective Clothing

  • Worn for all lab/preclinical/clinical days

Surface Barriers

  • Change between clients
  • Cover equipment and objects being touched during the intraoral procedure
    • light handles
    • chair switches
    • headrest
    • hoses
    • X-ray head and collimator
    • control panel/button in the x-ray area
    • mouse/keyboard
  • Cover client’s chest region with a disposable bib (include a plastic cover for high moisture procedures).

Processing Radiographs

  • Cover equipment with barrier wraps and covers
  • Expose images with gloved hands
  • Discard gloves after digital imaging and wash hands

Sharps Disposal

  • Anesthetic containers are disposed of in the “sharps box”

Dental Water Lines

  • Flush all water lines following the manufacturers’ recommendations (generally at the beginning and end of each day)
  • Empty the antimicrobial bottles and rinse thoroughly – set upside down to dry
  • Flush the water syringe for 1 minute
  • Evacuation tubing must be flushed with the commercial cleansing liquid at the end of each day

Environmental Surface Disinfection

  • Spray heavily, spread, and respray (leave wet according to manufactures instructions)
    • Cabinets and drawer pulls
    • Saliva ejector end
    • Patient chair and control buttons
    • Operator stool including up/down handle
    • Air/water syringe handle
    • Pens and pencils
    • Clean suction supports and cover with an impermeable

Disinfection of removable and orthodontic appliances

  • Place in a double bagged zip-lock bag filled with disinfection solution(non-toxic)
  • Place in the ultrasonic cleaner for 3 minutes (longer for heavily contaminated appliances)             
  • Removal from solution in bag is done with gloved hands
  • Discard solution
  • Rinse and brush the appliance under running water

Disinfection of study model impressions (prior to pouring)

  • Rinse under running water
  • Spray with an appropriate disinfectant (tuberculocidal) and leave wet according to manufactures directions
  • Place in plastic bag with patients name and pour up within an hour

Instrument Sterilization

  • Students’ contaminated instruments
    • Containment, decontamination, and packaging is in the dispensary area
    • Must be handled with heavy duty household gloved hands
    • If placed in holding tank, remove, rinse, and place in the ultrasonic cleaner
    • If holding tank was not used, place cassette of instruments in the ultrasonic clean for 5 to 10 minutes (5 minutes for small load; 10 minutes for large load)
    • Rinse and check for visible debris by rotating instruments while in their cassette
    • If visible contamination is still present, remove with a scrub brush or end of another instrument and reuse the ultrasonic cleaner
    • Re-inspect - if clean, proceed; if not, repeat steps 5-8 until visible clean
    • Wrap, insert paper monitor, tape, and label the cassette or place loose instruments in paper wraps
    • Place in storage bin for contaminated instruments next to the sterilizers

After Sterilization

  • Keep wrapped and store in your assigned unit shelf
  • Open after your client has arrived and dump on pre-set tray
  • Cover with patient’s clean bib
  • Arrange them after are gloved just prior to intraoral procedures

Hazardous Substance List

This is a partial list of the main hazardous substances found in a dental office that you may be exposed to. You are entitled (under law) to be informed of any material(s) or chemical(s) you work with that may be hazardous to your health or the environment. Employers must make available to employees, Safety Data Sheets, (SDS) supplied by manufacturers. SDS must explain in detail, the hazard associated with the material; preventative measures to avoid danger, and the first aid measures to be taken. DA Faculty have made SDS sheets for these materials and chemicals available to students by compiling in the red SDS Binder located in the Dental Materials Lab.

The following substances are used in the Dental Assisting program or students may be exposed to during clinicals:

Substance Concern Treatment
Lysol (phenol) Flammable, avoid eye and food contact Flush Eyes (remove contact lenses)
Bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite)  Skin and lunch irritant.  Don’t mix with any other cleanser Flush  skin or eyes
Glutaraldehyde Avoid skin and eye contact Flush
X-ray Developer Avoid skin and eye contact Flush
X-ray Fixer Can cause eye, skin or respiratory irritations
Avoid contact inhalation
Acid Etch Gel Avoid eye, skin or mucous membrane contact Flush
Cavity Varnishes May contain acetone, ether or chloroform
Flammable avoid inhalation
Keep away from open flame
Use in well ventilated area
Gypsum products  Eye and lunch irritant Wear protective shields
Curing light Blind spot or retina damage
Do not look at light
Wear special glasses
Acrylic Monomer
(Methyl Methacrylate)
Avoid inhalation
Avoid skin contact
Do not use near heat source or flame
Work in well-ventilated area