Skip to main content
Toggle Menu of ADA WebSites
ADA Websites
Toggle Search Area
Toggle Menu
e-mail Print Share

Dentists have new training tool for dental assistants

January 26, 2017

By David Burger

Photo of Debbie Robinson
Ms. Robinson
To many, the manual “Modern Dental Assisting” is the gold standard when it comes to teaching aspiring assistants in the classroom.

The authors of that text, Doni Bird and Debbie Robinson, have also co-authored “The Essentials of Dental Assisting,” an abbreviated version of “Modern Dental Assisting” to meet the needs of dental assistants that are office-trained.

 “The Essentials of Dental Assisting” is the latest title in the ADA’s Practical Guide Series.

Besides being a valuable reference for dental assistants, the 505-page book can serve as a training tool for dentists wishing to share knowledge of the dental profession with their employees, said the authors.

“There are areas covered in ‘The Essentials of Dentist Assisting’ to prepare the dental assistant in chairside assisting, general and specialty practices, infection control procedures, preparation of dental materials, dental radiology and also to prepare for additional credentialing in expanded functions,” said Ms. Robinson, a dental assistant and research associate with the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. “For the administrative side of the office, the dental terminology throughout the manual is helpful as a resource for understanding scheduling, billing and insurance.”

The authors have worked together for 27 years. “Doni and I have always been referred to as the East Coast/West Coast team,” Ms. Robinson said. “This is actually more important than people realize. With the ever-changing nature of state credentialing from one state to another for the dental assistant, it is important that we provide a encompassing representation for all.”

Image of the Essentials of Dental Assisting manualWith color photographs and detailed step-by-step instructions, this reference focuses on the core clinical skills and knowledge a practicing dental assistant needs, said Ms. Bird, a Glen Ellen, California-based dental assistant and hygienist. “There’s nothing missing,” she said. “It’s all in there.”

Ms. Bird said writing new editions of the “Essentials of Dental Assisting” every three years keeps the information in the ADA guide current up-to-date. Over the years, the authors have updated their material to include digital imaging, changes in infection control guidelines, current dental materials and new procedures to be relevant in the evolving dental landscape.

Another feature that makes “The Essentials of Dental Assisting” appealing to dentists and dental assistants include free access to online resources such as quizzes, practice exams and videos that allow the office-trained assistants to practice on their own time.

The manual (P050) is $89.95 for members and $134.95 retail. Save 15 percent on all ADA Catalog products by using the promo code 17111 by March 10.
Shop online at or call 1-800-947-4746.