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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Temecula Students Get Inside Look at Registered Dental Assistant Exam

May 26, 2016

Temecula Dental Assisting students visit with Zena Dilling of J & Z Kit RentalsTemecula’s Dental Assisting Program Director Cindy Ovard wants to do all she can to alleviate unnecessary exam stress when her soon-to-graduate Dental Assistant students and a few who just graduated take their State Board exam to become licensed Registered Dental Assistants (RDAs).

“The 90-minute practical exam is all hands-on,” says Cindy, “and covers three areas: Fabricate a temporary crown, cement the crown and place a temporary filling on a specific tooth on a typodont (mannequin).” Dental Assisting exam-takers bring their own ‘kit’ that contains all the instruments and materials they need to complete these tasks.

Every few months, Cindy has Zena Delling of J & Z Kit Rentals visit the campus to make a presentation to Dental Assisting students about what they will need for – and what they might expect from – this exam. Ms. Delling itemizes the contents of the dental kit that play an important role in their preparedness.

“She shows them what the kits are, tells them what the test is about, so that they’re not going in cold and so fearful of what to expect,” says Cindy. “They go in with a little more knowledge, and it helps the student perform better. Preparation is important.”

The kits include acrylic material, temporary impression material and cement, as well as equipment and instruments to trim models and temporary crowns that test-takers will make. Kits are very expensive to piece together, but are about $80-$150 to rent.

“We encourage students to rent a kit so that there’s no headache, and it gives them peace of mind when they’re taking their State Board exam,” says Cindy.

Dental Assisting program students had many good questions for Ms. Delling. They wanted to know how strict the proctors (judges) are and what kinds of mistakes a student can make and still pass the exam. Ms. Delling stressed the importance of following test rules and policy and cautioned them that overthinking it might inhibit them from performing well.

“It (presentation) helped me not be so fearful of the exam,” says Adriana Ramirez, a recent Dental Assisting program grad. “I’m more confident going in for my State Boards.”

The State Boards are administered 10 times each year, four in Northern California, four in Southern California and two in Central California.

“We will actually have three Dental Assisting classes taking the test in September,” says Cindy, who feels the information in Delling’s presentation really brings an important message home to her students. “They are thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, this is real; this is what we are working towards.’”

SJVC’s Dental Assisting program, its faculty and support staff are doing all they can to ensure success for their students.


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