America's Dental Bookstore

(for instructions on using this site, see our home page)

Return to Shopping Cart

America's Dental Bookstore

Dental Books
Anatomy Books Anesthesia & Sedation BooksBehavior of Patients
Clinical Dentistry & Treatment PlanningCosmetic Dentistry BooksDental Assisting Books
Dental EmergenciesDental Hygiene BooksDental MaterialsEndodontics
Fixed ProsthodonticsHistory of DentistryHumor ImplantologyLaboratory Technology
MicrobiologyOcclusion & TMJ BooksOral BiologyOral Pathology & Oral Medicine
Oral PhysiologyOral SurgeryOrthodonticsPediatric DentistryPeriodontics & Prevention
PharmacologyPractice ManagementPractice Mgmt. Finance & Regulations
Practice Mgmt. MarketingPractice Mgmt. TheoryPsychology & Patient AnxietyRadiology
Removable ProsthodonticsRestorative DentistryTest Preparation Books

Consumer Information Books
Amalgam & MercuryBraces Children's BooksGeneral Care & Misc. Books
Consumer Information About Cosmetic DentistryDental Articles


Pearson's Comprehensive Dental Assisting

PCDA Text Features:

Dental Assistant Professional Tip

Utilizing the topics covered in the chapter a brief example or scenario has been provided that describes how the information will be used on the job. The focus of these tips is on being a professional in the field of dentistry and the success that will occur with the knowledge gained from the materials presented in the text.

Internet Activities

Internet activities are suggested in each chapter. These activities expand the students understanding of the material by providing them an opportunity to perform further research on the Internet.

Web References

Web references are provided at the end of each chapter. These references relate to the topics presented in the chapter and offer an opportunity for students and faculty to further research the subjects discussed.

Patient Education or Legal and Ethical Issue

In each chapter a patient education or legal and ethical issue is presented. The patient education scenarios help students consider their role as a dental assistant in providing patient education. Issues such as patient confidentiality are presented in the legal and ethical feature. With the presentation of these issues students can further their understanding of the legal and ethical issues faced in the field of dental assisting.

Cultural Consideration

The cultural consideration feature addresses the dental assistant’s encounters with people of different cultural backgrounds. Brief tips, advice, or general guidelines on how to deal with a specific cultural or communication issue are presented in this feature.

Life Span Consideration

This feature highlights how the dental assistant deals with people of all different ages, with a major focus on older and pediatric patients.

Preparing for Externship

The preparing for externship feature deals with topics and issues relating to students’ participation in an externship program as a capstone to their training. Pertinent issues are addressed including student responsibilities, caring attitude, enthusiasm, grooming/dress, interpersonal skills with patients and colleagues, language skills, poise under pressure, preceptor role, etc.


The focus of this feature is on issues important to being successful as a dental assistant. Issues discussed include grooming/dress, interpersonal skills, ethical standards, language skills, punctuality, dependability, and the need for a caring attitude.

Table of Contents

Unit One Introduction to the Field of Dentistry

Chapter 1 History of Dentistry
Early Times
The Renaissance
Early America
Educational and Professional Development in the United States
Community Dental Health Program

Chapter 2 The Dental Team
Dental Assistant
Credential, Professional Growth, and Development
Dental Specialist
Registered Dental Hygienist
Dental Laboratory Technician
Support Staff in the Dental Office

Chapter 3 Dental Ethics and Law
Ethical Principles in Dentistry
Professional Code of Ethics
State Dental Practice Act
Dental Jurisprudence
Risk Management
Dentist-Patient Relationship
The Patient Record

Unit Two Dental Sciences

Chapter 4 General Anatomy and Physiology
Planes and Body Directions
Structural Units
Body Cavities
Body Regions
Introduction to Major Body Systems
Skeletal System
Muscular System
Cardiovascular System
Lymphatic System
Nervous System
Respiratory System
Digestive System
Endocrine System
Urinary System
Integumentary System
Reproductive System
The Interaction of the Eleven Systems of the Body

Chapter 5 Head and Neck Anatomy
Regions of the Head
Bones of the Skull
Muscles of the Face and Oral Cavity
Lymph Nodes of the Face and Neck
Nerves of the Face and Neck
Circulatory System of the Face and Neck

Chapter 6 The Face and Oral Cavity
Landmarks of the Face
The Oral Cavity
The Oral Cavity Proper
Oral Cancer and Other Conditions

Chapter 7 Oral Embryology and Histology
Oral Embryology
Formation and Growth of the Teeth
Supporting Structures

Chapter 8 Tooth Development

Histology of Tooth Development
Hard Tissues of the Teeth
Formulation of the Periodontium
Dentition Periods

Chapter 9 Dental Charting
Dental Arches
Dentition Periods
Types and Functions of Teeth
Tooth Surfaces
The Morphology of Teeth
Angles and Divisions
Stabilization of the Maxillary and Mandibular Arches
Tooth Numbering Systems
Cavity Classification
Dental Charting Procedures

Chapter 10 Oral Pathology

Diseases and Conditions Affecting the Oral Cavity
Oral Lesions
Conditions of the Tongue
Oral Conditions due to HIV and AIDS
Miscellaneous Disorders

Chapter 11 Microbiology
Pioneers in Microbiology
Major Groups of Microorganisms
Viral Diseases
Bacterial Diseases

Unit Three Oral Health and Prevention

Chapter 12 Dental Disease and Infection Control
The Chain of Infection
The Immune System
Disease Transmission in the Dental Office
Roles and Responsibilities of the CDC and OSHA in Infection Control
Exposure Control Plan
Procedure 12-1: Disinfecting a Treatment Room
Procedure 12-2: Placing and Removing Surface Barriers
Infection Control Practices
Procedure 12-3: CDC Recommendations for Hand Asepsis and Hand Washing
Waste Management in the Dental Office
Additional Infection Control Practices
Procedure 12-4: Infection Control in the Darkroom
Procedure 12-5: Infection Control with a Daylight Loader
Special Considerations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Chapter 13 Dental Caries
The Caries Process
The Importance of Saliva
Diagnosis of Caries
Methods of Caries Intervention
Risk Assessment of Caries

Chapter 14 Periodontal Disease
Structure of the Periodontium
Prevalence of Periodontal Disease
Types of Periodontal Disease
Oral Conditions Linked to Periodontal Disease
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Systemic Conditions Linked to Periodontal Disease
Risk for Periodontal Disease

Chapter 15 Oral Health
Patient Education
Procedure 15-1: Applying a Topical Fluoride
Nutrition and Dental Caries
Plaque Control Program

Chapter 16 Oral Nutrition
Functions of Six Major Nutrients
Diet Modification
Diet Analysis
Reading Food Labels
Eating Disorders
Healthy Eating Habits

Chapter 17 Instrument Processing and Sterilization
Introduction to Instrument Processing
Classification of Patient Care Items
Transporting and Processing Contaminated Patient Care Items
Instrument Processing Area
Procedure 17-1: Processing Contaminated Instruments
Precleaning Instruments
Procedure 17-2: Operating the Ultrasonic Cleaner
Procedure 17-3: Testing the Ultrasonic Cleaner
Packaging and Storing of Materials
Sterilization Monitoring
Procedure 17-4: Performing Biological Monitoring
Methods of Sterilization
Procedure 17-5: Operating the Autoclave
Procedure 17-6: Operating the Chemical Vapor Sterilizer
Sterilization Failures
Handpiece Sterilization
Procedure 17-7: Sterilizing Handpieces

Chapter 18 Occupational Health and Safety
Types of Safety Standards
Hazardous Chemicals
Waste Handling and Disposal

Chapter 19 Dental Unit Waterlines
Introduction to Dental Unit Waterlines
History of Waterline Quality
Methods of Reducing Bacterial Contamination
Infection Control and Dental Unit Water

Unit Four Caring for the Dental Patient

Chapter 20 The Dental Office
Dental Office Setting
Administrative and Reception Area
Dentist’s Private Office
Dental Staff Lounge
Daily Routine Office Care
Procedure 20-1: Opening the Dental Office
Procedure 20-2: Closing the Dental Office
Clinical Treatment Rooms
Clinical Equipment
Central Sterilization Area
Dental Laboratory Area

Chapter 21 Examination and Treatment Planning

Patient Record and Confidentiality
Creating and Maintaining the Patient Record
Patient Record Forms
Obtaining the Health History
Exam and Diagnostic Techniques
Procedure 21-1: Preparing the Patient for the Extra and Intra oral Dental Examinations
Clinical Examination of the Patient
Documentation of the Dental Examination
Care Plan Formulation
Documentation of Dental Treatment

Chapter 22 Caring for the Dental Patient
Establishing Patient Rapport
Reviewing the Patient Record
Preparing the Treatment Area
Greeting and Seating the Patient
Assessing Patient Needs
The Rights of All Patients
The Role of the Dental Assistant
Caring for Patients with Special Needs

Chapter 23 Obtaining Vital Signs
Factors that Affect Vital Signs
Body Temperature
Procedure 23-1: Taking Temperature Orally
Blood Pressure
Procedure 23-2: Measuring Blood Pressure
Procedure 23-3: Taking Pulse and Respirations

Unit Five Basic Dental Clinical Skills

Chapter 24 Dental Instruments

Identifying Hand Instruments
Instrument Classifications
Rotary Equipment
Instrument Systems

Chapter 25 Ergonomics

Ergonomics in the Dental Office
Injuries Sustained by Dental Assistants
Muscle Strengthening Exercises
Four-Handed Dentistry
Motion Economy
Operating Zones
The Expanded Functions Dental Assistant

Chapter 26 Moisture Control
Oral Evacuation Systems
Procedure 26-1: Placing the High-Volume Evacuator Tips
Rinsing the Oral Cavity
Procedure 26-2: Performing a Limited Mouth Rinse
Procedure 26-3: Performing a Complete Mouth Rinse
Isolation of Teeth
The Dental Dam
Dental Dam Placement and Removal
Procedure 26-4: Placing a Dental Dam
Procedure 26-5: Removing a Dental Dam
Procedure 26-6: Placing a Quick Dam
Special Applications of the Dental Dam

Chapter 27 Pharmacology

Overview of Drugs
Categories of Drugs
Drug Reference Materials
Drug Administration
Controlled Substances Act
Classification of Drugs
Antibiotic Prophylaxis
Adverse Drug Effects

Chapter 28 Anesthesia and Pain Control
Local and Topical Anesthetic Agents
Procedure 28-1: Application of Topical Anesthetic
Injection Techniques
Local Anesthetic Setup
Procedure 28-2: Assembling the Local Anesthetic Syringe
Procedure 28-3: Assisting in the Administration of Local Anesthesia
Complications and Precautions
Electronic Anesthesia
Inhalation Sedation
Procedure 28-4: Assisting in the Administration and Monitoring of Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen
Antianxiety Agent
Intravenous Sedation
General Anesthesia
Documentation of Anesthesia and Pain Control

Unit Six Assisting with Dental Procedures

Chapter 29 Dental Radiography

Discovery of X-Radiation
The Dental X-ray Unit
The Production of X-rays
Radiation Effects
Radiation Measurement
Radiation Safety
Operator Protection
Controlling Radiation
Radiation Image Characteristics

Chapter 30 Dental Film and Processing Radiographs

Dental Film Holders
Dental X-ray Film
Types of Film
Film Storage
Film Speed
Film Processing
Processing Errors
Legal Considerations in Dental Radiography
Quality Assurance in Dental Radiography
Infection Control in Dental Radiography
Procedure 30-1: Manual Dental Film Processing and Infection Control
Procedure 30-2: Automatic Dental Film Processing and Infection Control

Chapter 31 Intraoral Radiographic Procedures

Intraoral X-ray Techniques
Procedure 31-1:Patient Preparation for Intraoral Radiographs
Paralleling Technique
Procedure 31-2:Assembly of the XCP Paralleling Device
Periapical Radiographs Using the Paralleling Technique
Procedure 31-3: Full Mouth Radiographs Using the Paralleling Technique
Bisecting Angle Technique
Bitewing Technique
Occlusal Radiographs
Patients with Special Needs
Positioning Difficulties Encountered with Intraoral Radiography
Technical Errors in Intraoral Radiography
Mounting Intraoral Radiographs
Procedure 31-4:Mounting Intraoral Radiographs

Chapter 32 Extraoral and Digital Radiographic Procedures
Panoramic Radiography
Other Extraoral Radiography
Digital Radiography

Chapter 33 Restorative and Esthetic Dental Materials
Standards of Dental Materials
Properties of Dental Materials
Procedure 33-1:Mixing, Placing and Carving of Dental Amalgam
Procedure 33-2:Chemical Preparation, Placement, Curing and Finishing of Composite
Procedure 33-3:Preparing and Delivering Intermediate Restorative Material
Procedure 33-4: Preparing and Delivering of Provisional Restorative Material

Chapter 34 Dental Liners, Bases, and Bonding Systems

Cavity Preparations
Supplemental Dental Materials and Applications
Pulpal Stimuli and Responses
Dental Liners
Procedure 34-1:Application Process of Calcium Hydroxide Liner
Procedure 34-2: Application Process of Glass Ionomer Liner
Procedure 34-3: Application Process of Zinc Oxide Eugenol Cement Liner (ZOE)-Two Paste
Procedure 34-4: Application Process for Dental Varnishes
Dentin Sealer
Procedure 34-5: Application Process for Dentin Sealers
Dental Bases
Procedure 34-6: Application Process for Zinc Oxide Eugenol Cement Base (ZOE)
Procedure 34-7: Application Process for Zinc Phosphate
Procedure 34-8: Application Process for Polycarboxylate Cement Base
Dental Bonding
Procedure 34-9: Application Process for Dental Acid Etchant
Dentin Bonding
Enamel Bonding
Procedure 34-10: Application Process for Dental Bonding

Chapter 35 Dental Cements

Classification of Dental Cements
Types of Cements
Procedure 35-1:Mixing ZOE TYPE I - Temporary Cement
Procedure 35-2:Mixing ZOE Type II for Permanent Cementation
Procedure 35-3:Mixing Zinc Phosphate for Permanent Cementation
Procedure 35-4:Mixing Polycarboxylate Cement
Procedure 35-5:Mixing Glass Ionomer Cement
Procedure 35-6:Mixing Commercial Resin Cements
Removing Excess Cement
Procedure 35-7:Removing Excessive Cement

Chapter 36 Impression Materials
Types of Impressions
Impression Materials
Procedure 36-1:Alginate Impression Procedure
Procedure 36-2:Vinyl polysiloxane Cartridge Single Phase Impression Procedure
Procedure 36-3: Vinyl polysiloxane Bite Registration Procedure

Chapter 37 Laboratory Materials and Procedures

Safety in the Dental Laboratory
Dental Laboratory Equipment
Dental Laboratory Instruments
Diagnostic Cast Models
Pouring Dental Models
Procedure 37-1:Pouring Dental Models using the Inverted Pour Method
Trimming Dental Models
Procedure 37-2:Trimming Diagnostic Cast Models
Custom Impression Trays
Procedure 37-3:Constructing an Acrylic Custom Tray
Procedure 37-4: Visible Light Cure Impression Tray
Dental Waxes

Chapter 38 General Dentistry
Cavity Preparation
Procedure 38-1:Assisting with a Class I Restoration
Procedure 38-2:Assisting with a Class II Restoration
Veneers and Bonding
Procedure 38-3:Assisting with a Chair-side Veneer
Tooth Whitening

Chapter 39 Matrix Systems for Restorative Dentistry
Posterior Matrix Systems
Procedure 39-1:Preparing the Tofflemire Matrix System
Procedure 39-2:Placement and Removal of Retainer, Matrix Band and Wedge for a Class II
Restoration by an Expanded Duties Dental Assistant
Anterior Matrix Systems
Procedure 39-3:Placement of a Clear Polyester Matrix for Class III and IV Restorations
Alternative Matrix Systems

Chapter 40 Fixed Prosthodontics
Treatment Planning
Indirect Restorations
Overview of a Crown Procedure
Procedure 40-1:Placement and Removal of Gingival Retraction Cord
Procedure 40-2:Assisting with a Crown or Bridge Restoration
Procedure 40-3:Assisting in the Cementation of a Fixed Prosthesis
Overview of a Bridge Procedure
Machined Restorations
Patient Instructions
Role of the Laboratory Technician

Chapter 41 Provisional Coverage
Criteria for Provisional Fabrication
Procedure 41-1:Custom Provisional Bridge Procedure
Procedure 41-2: Aluminum Shell Provisional Procedure
Provisional Restoration Materials
Home Care Instructions

Chapter 42 Removable Prosthodontics
History of Removable Dental Prosthesis
Factors Influencing the Choice
Removable Partial Denture
Procedure 42-1:Making a Final Impression for a Partial Denture
The Complete (Full) Denture
Immediate Dentures
Denture Relining
Denture Repairs
Denture Duplication

Chapter 43 Dental Implants

The Dental Implant Patient
Types of Implants
Preparation for Implants
Dental Implant Maintenance
The Future of Implants

Chapter 44 Endodontic Procedures
Causes of Pulpal Damage
Symptoms of Pulpal Damage
Endodontic Diagnosis
Endodontic Procedures
Instruments and Accessories
Medicaments and Materials in Endodontics
Overview of Endodontic Treatment
Procedure 44-1:Endodontic Procedure
Surgical Endodontics
Procedure 44-2:Apicoectomy and Retrograde Filling

Chapter 45 Periodontal Procedures
The Periodontal Practice
The Periodontal Examination
Periodontal Instruments
Non-surgical Periodontal Treatment (NSPT)
Surgical Periodontal Treatment
Lasers in Periodontics

Chapter 46 Oral Surgery Procedures

Indications for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
The Oral Surgeon
The Dental Surgical Assistant
The Surgical Setting
Specialized Instruments and Accessories
Surgical Asepsis
Procedure 46-1: Surgical Scrub
Procedure 46-2: Putting on Surgical Gloves
Surgical Preparation
Surgical Procedures
Instructions for Patient Care
Post Surgical Complications

Chapter 47 Pediatric Dentistry Procedures
Pediatric Team
Pediatric Dental Office
The Pediatric Patient
Patient’s with Special Needs
Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
Preventative Dentistry Procedures
Procedure 47-1: Fluoride Application
Restorative Procedures and Equipment
Endodontic Procedures
Procedure 47-2:Pulpotomy on a Pediatric Patient
Prosthodontic Procedures
Procedure 47-3:Placement of Stainless Steel Crowns
Dental Trauma
Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect

Chapter 48 Coronal Polishing
Coronal Polishing
Dental Stains
Coronal Polishing Materials and Equipment
Coronal Polishing Steps
Procedure 48-1: Coronal Polishing

Chapter 49 Dental Sealants
Dental Caries and Sealants
Indications for Sealants
Contraindications for Sealants
Types of Sealant Material
Storage and Use of Sealants
Precautions for Dental Personnel and Patients
Procedure 49-1: Dental Sealants
Factors in Sealant Retention

Chapter 50 Orthodontic Procedures
The Orthodontist
Orthodontic Assistant
The Orthodontic Office
Understanding Occlusion
The Alignment of Teeth and Arches
Orthodontic Records and Treatment Planning
Case Presentation
Specialized Instruments
Orthodontic Treatment
Procedure 50-1:Placing and Removing Brass Wire Separators
Procedure 50-2:Placing and Removing Steel Separating Springs
Procedure 50-3:Placing and Removing Elastomeric Ring Separators
Procedure 50-4: Assisting in the Fitting and Cementation of Orthodontic Bands
Procedure 50-5: Assisting in the Direct Bonding of Orthodontic Brackets
Auxillary Attachments
Procedure 50-6: Placing the Arch Wire and Ligature Ties
Adjustment Visits
Oral Hygiene and Dietary Instructions
Completed Treatment
Procedure 50-7: Completion Appointment

Chapter 51 Assisting in Emergency Care

Preventing Medical Emergencies
Emergency Preparedness
Recognizing and Emergency
Protocol for Emergency Situations
Procedure 51-1:ABC’s of CPR
Procedure 51-2:Operating the Automated External Defibrillator
Emergency Equipment and Supplies
Procedure 51-3:Operating the Automated External Defibrillator
Emergency Responses
Procedure 51-4:Obstructed Airway Management
Dental Emergencies
Documentation of an Emergency

Unit 7 Dental Office Management

Chapter 52 Communication Techniques

The Communication Process
Verbal Communication
Non-Verbal Communication
Listening Skills
Communicating with Members of the Dental Team
Cultural Diversity
Phone Skills
Office Equipment
Written Communication
Dental Office Procedure Manual

Chapter 53 Practice Management Procedures

Operating Procedure Manual
Computer Applications in the Dental Office
Record Keeping
Filing and Storing of Patient Records
Appointment Scheduling
Preventative Recall Programs
Inventory Management
Equipment Repairs

Chapter 54 Financial Management
Preventative Account Management
Accounts Receivable
Procedure 54-1:Basics to Managing Financial Transactions
Accounts Payable Management
Writing Checks
Procedure 54-2:Check writing steps

Chapter 55 Dental Insurance

Dental Insurance Terminology
Dental Insurance Plans
Dental Procedure Codes
Processing Claims
Management of Claims

Chapter 56 Marketing Your Skills
Professional Career Goals and Opportunities
Locating Employment Opportunities
The Resume and Cover Letter
Procedure 56-1:Steps to Preparing a Professional Resume and Cover Letter
The Interview and Follow Up
Employment Negotiations
Rights as an Employee
Advancing One’s Career

Pearson’s Comprehensive Dental Assisting
Lori Tyler, Editor

Pearson’s Comprehensive Dental Assisting is all about ensuring that you will be a successful student and dental assistant. To help ensure this success, a focus is placed on learning both technical and people skills. This comprehensive textbook helps you learn the right skills for becoming the very best and most effective Dental Assistant by presenting a step-by-step, competency based approach that covers all the facets of the dental assisting profession. People skills are covered throughout the text including cultural and lifespan considerations and students are consistently encouraged to be professionals in the dental assisting workplace and beyond.

This text was developed and organized with both the needs of the instructor and student in mind. Attention was paid to ensure that the information flowed smoothly and that the topics were presented simply for students to be able to grasp the concepts.

Pearson’s Comprehensive Dental Assisting ensures success for the student and the instructor by:

· Preparing the student to take the certification exam

· Presenting a series of new professional photos that highlight dental conditions and procedures

· Providing a full instructional package including an instructor’s manual, and instructor’s CD, PowerPoint presentation and TestGen

· Including interesting special features encompassing professional tips, lifespan considerations, legal and ethical issues and cultural considerations.