University of Southern Indiana

Coronal Polishing for Dental Assistants

Description of Program
Coronal Polishing is a technique used to remove plaque and stain from the coronal surfaces of the teeth. The Indiana State Board of Dentistry allows coronal polishing of the dentition as a permitted function delegable by a licensed dentist to a trained dental assistant. This program will provide didactic (online) and laboratory instruction required for certification as established by the Indiana State Board of Dentistry.   

Refer to 2011 Indiana State rules 82B IAC6-1-1 through 828 IAC 6-1-5.

Who Should Enroll in this Program?
This program is designed for English-speaking graduates of a dental assisting program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association or a dental assistant with one or more years of experience in dental assisting.

Proof of graduation from an accredited dental assisting program OR proof of one or more years of dental assisting experience is required. To verify experience, the employer dentist must submit a signed letter (on company letterhead with a daytime phone number) verifying one or more years of dental assisting experience.  

Delivery of Content
This program is organized into distinct parts: online instruction followed by on-site laboratory instruction.  Finally, participants must complete clinical experience requirements in a dental office under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist or dental hygienist.

Part I: Online Instruction
Didactic course content is delivered asynchronously via Blackboard, the University of Southern Indiana online learning management system.  Participants will be granted access to the course Blackboard site six weeks prior to the laboratory day. This online learning management system provides an opportunity for interaction with program faculty while learning in the comfort of your own home or office.  Program staff are available during business hours by phone or email to assist participants with technical issues or concerns. 

Note: Many businesses, especially government agencies or health institutions, utilize security firewalls.  Access to web links within the course and communication from the instructor or other students may be blocked. We recommend not using a work email address for this course.

The online content is divided into seven modules, which include recorded presentations and corresponding quizzes. The presentations cover an overview of the dental team, ethics and jurisprudence, infection control procedures, intra-oral tissues and dental anatomy, definition of plaque and materia alba, types of stain,  and coronal polishing. Interaction with faculty may occur as feedback to study guides, within discussion boards, or via email.  All modular quizzes must be completed with a minimum cumulative average of 75% prior to the scheduled laboratory date.

Part II: Laboratory Instruction
The onsite laboratory session will occur on a Saturday. The laboratory session will include two (2) hours of practice on a mannequin and two (2) live patient experiences (fellow participants). Participants will receive hands-on instruction in hand dexterity and use of a slow speed hand piece, prophy angle, and occlusal polishing brush. 

Laboratory sessions will be held at the University of Southern Indiana, Health Professions Center, Room 1044; 8600 University Boulevard, Evansville, IN 47712. USI is located on Highway 62, two miles west of Evansville.

Part III: In-office Requirement Completion
Upon completion of the didactic and laboratory requirements, each participant must demonstrate clinical competency on a minimum of five (5) patients under the direct observation of a licensed dentist or dental hygienist.  A form will be provided to each participant on which the observing licensed dentist or dental hygienist will document certification of competency and completion of required clinical cases.  The form must be signed by the certifier and submitted to the University of Southern Indiana’s Coronal Polishing for Dental Assistants Certificate Program.  Upon receipt of the signed form, USI will issue a certificate of completion that must be publicly displayed in the dental office where the dental assistant practices.  Once the certificate of completion is received, participants will be able to legally polish the coronal surfaces of dentition under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist.

A textbook is not required for this program. 

Program Schedule
This activity is offered once a year. Online instruction (access for six weeks) must be completed prior to the scheduled laboratory date. The laboratory session will include two (2) hours of practice on a mannequin and two (2) live patient experiences (fellow participants). Completion of five (5) additional live patient experiences in a dental office is required before certification is complete.

2018 Dates
March 1 - access to online program
April 14 - onsite laboratory session

Learning Outcome
The learning outcome of this program is to enable the learner to incorporate best practices related to coronal polishing of the teeth.   

Program Objectives
At the conclusion of this program, the participant will be able to:

  1. Discuss ethics and jurisprudence as related to coronal polishing by the dental assistant.
  2. Apply proper infection control methods.
  3. Recognize plaque and materia alba and their effects on the oral cavity.
  4. Distinguish the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic stain.
  5. Identify the types of abrasive agents available for use in coronal polishing.
  6. Demonstrate the proper use of the slow speed hand piece and its armamentarium.
  7. Discuss the theory of selective polishing.

Contact Hours
9 contact hours (5 hours for the online instruction and 4 hours for laboratory session)

Successful completion of this program does not guarantee expertise in the content. Clinical experience and judgment, coupled with an understanding of the content, are necessary to attain competency.

Upon completion of the didactic and laboratory requirements, each participant must demonstrate clinical competency on a minimum of five (5) patients under the direct observation of a licensed dentist or dental hygienist.  A form will be provided to each participant on which the observing licensed dentist or dental hygienist will document certification of competency and completion of required clinical cases.  The form must be signed by the certifier and submitted to the University of Southern Indiana’s Coronal Polishing for Dental Assistants Certificate Program. 

Upon receipt of the signed form, USI will issue a certificate of completion that must be publicly displayed in the dental office where the dental assistant practices.  Once the certificate of completion is received, participants will be able to legally polish the coronal surfaces of the dentition under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist.

Criteria for successful completion
Proof of graduation from a dental assisting program accredited by the Commission of Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association OR proof of one or more years of experience is required. To verify experience, the employer dentist must submit a signed letter (on company letterhead with a daytime phone number) verifying experience of one or more years of dental assisting experience. 

  • Submit registration and payment.
  • Complete online course content with a minimum cumulative average of 75%.
  • Complete the laboratory session, including two (2) hours of practice on a mannequin and two (2) live patient experiences.
  • Demonstrate clinical competency on a minimum of five (5) patients in a dental office under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist or dental hygienist and submit a signed form verifying completion.

Faculty Name and Credentials
Kimberly Parsons, EdD, CDA, EFDA, RDH, Chair, Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene Programs

Conflict of Interest Statement
There is no conflict of interest for anyone in a position to control content for this activity.

Accreditation
The University of Southern Indiana is an approved provider for continuing education by the Indiana Health Professions Bureau and the Illinois Board of Dentistry.

The Dental Assisting Program at the University of Southern Indiana is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation and by the United States Department of Education.

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