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Dental Radiology

Course Description Prerequisites Typical Course Sequence Requirements for licensure
Additional information about the clinical FAQs about the clinical component
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Course Description:

Picture of mannequin having radiographs takenOur Dental Radiology course is approved by the Technologist Certification Section of the Bureau of X-Ray Compliance (in turn a part of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection) and is designed to prepare students to take the exam that will lead to becoming a Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologist (LDRT).  In other words, you'll have an x-ray license to perform dental-specific procedures.  You may also see the phrase Limited Dental Radiologic Technologist, which refers to the fact that you are limited to performing only dental-specific radiological procedures as opposed to performing radiological procedures on other parts of the human body.

The course is broken down into three components:
  1. A didactic component
  2. A laboratory component
  3. A clinical component

The didactic component

The didactic (or instructional) component is the more traditional classroom time.  It is here that you will first be introduced to the required radiology concepts and practices that you will need to know and be able to perform in order to obtain your license.  In this part of the course students will learn about radiation physics, radiation biology, exposure and processing techniques, radiation safety, processing chemicals, and mounting films.  Students will spend a total of 30 hours in a classroom setting and will receive a thorough course manual that will aid in studying and preparing for DANB's  [DANB Disclaimer]RHS  [DANB Disclaimer]exam discussed below.  Course manuals are provided in class.  

The laboratory component

The laboratory component of this course is designed to provide students a truly hands-on opportunity to practice their newly learned skills.  You will practice actual procedures with real instruments, equipment, and live radiation using a mannequin as your patient.  Students will expose actual radiographs (x-rays) and later process (develop) those radiographs.  Students will however, not be allowed to practice exposing films on each other.  A total of 20 hours are allotted to laboratory time.  

The clinical component

This clinical component of the course can only begin after completion of the first two components (the didactic and laboratory components).  The "clinical" must be performed in a state approved (Bureau of X-Ray Compliance approved) dental office where you are supervised by a properly licensed individual.  If you are already working in a dental office you may be able to use your current employer to complete your clinical, pending approval.

New regulation from New Jersey's Bureau of X-Ray Compliance requires that prospective students obtain an agreement with a dental office where they can and plan to complete their clinical component before being permitted to register or enroll in a state-approved dental radiology program.

Many dental offices may not yet be familiar with this new regulation. Dental Assistant Services has provided a form that helps to summarize the recent regulatory changes to dental offices and dentists. We encourage you to print out and take this form with you when asking a dental office for permission to complete your clinical at their site. Should the office have any questions or concerns, please encourage them to call our office at 732-919-1816. We'd be happy to explain the new regulations.

Download the Clinical Process Letter

For more specific information about the clinical component please click here or visit the clinical section of our Frequently Asked Questions page. Of course, if you still have questions please feel free to contact us.

Exposing a radiographThe entire course runs for a total of 22 weeks and ends with the student being fully prepared to take the Dental Assisting National Board's (DANB's  [DANB Disclaimer]) Radiation Health & Safety (RHS  [DANB Disclaimer]) exam that will lead to your becoming a Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologist.  Put another way, this course will leave you fully prepared to take the exam that will lead to your dental x-ray license.

After obtaining a NJ dental x-ray license most dental assistants will begin working on their Certified Dental Assistant (CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]) certificate.  One of the requirements for becoming a CDA certificant is to pass DANB's  [DANB Disclaimer]RHS  [DANB Disclaimer]exam.  If you complete all of the other requirements to become a CDA certificant within five years (which is certainly realistic), having passed the RHS exam now in order to become a Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologist will exempt you from having to take the RHS exam a second time as part of earning your CDA certification.

Students who are pregnant or who may become pregnant are allowed to take the full radiology course including both the laboratory and clinical components.  Upon becoming aware of your pregnancy, Dental Assistant Services will provide you with a written pregnancy policy as mandated by the Department of Environmental Protection.

The purchase of a separate textbook will be required for this course.  The required book is called "Dental Radiography: Principles and Techniques" (5th edition).  It is written by Joen M. Iannucci and Laura Jansen Howerton and was published by Elsevier in 2017.  The ISBN number is 978-0-323-29742-4. 

We encourage you to shop around online for the best price.  Click here for a list of some useful websites that may assist with locating a textbook.  At times we may have used textbooks from previous students available for sale.  Please call to find out if there are any used copies currently available.


Although there is no strict and formal prerequisites to taking this radiology course, it is highly recommended that you first take Introductory Dental AssistingAt a minimum you should be familiar with the following:
  1. Maxillary and mandibular
  2. Anterior and posterior
  3. Quadrants
  4. Universal numbering system
  5. Names of the teeth
  6. Surfaces of the teeth
  7. Tooth anatomy
  8. Oral anatomy
After reviewing this list, if you are still unsure about whether or not you would be prepared to take this course, please contact us at with a brief summary of your experience or call our office at 732-919-1816.

Typical Course Sequence

This chart displays the usual order that students will take our courses and the order in which they obtain their credentials.  For a more detailed overview, please click here.

Credential/License: Courses:
N/A 1. Introductory Dental Assisting None
Dental X-Ray License (LDRT)
2. Dental Radiology
Radiation Health & Safety (RHS  [DANB Disclaimer])
Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) Certificate  [DANB Disclaimer]
3. Review of Radiation Health & Safety*
4. Infection Control
5. General Chairside
Radiation Health & Safety (RHS  [DANB Disclaimer])
Infection Control
General Chairside
Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)
6. Expanded Functions
Expanded Functions

*If you obtained your dental x-ray license in NJ you will most likely not have to take the Review of Radiation Health & Safety course in order to obtain a CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certificate.

Requirements for licensure:

  1. You must be at least 18 years old.
  2. You must complete a form indicating that you are "of good moral character".
  3. You must provide documentation of having completed at least a high school level education in the United States or its equivalent.  The following documents satisfy the requirement set by the DEP:Viewing a radiographic film
  4. You must complete an approved course such as this one.
  5. You must fill out an application from the DEP.
  6. You must pass an exam approved by the DEP
For further information about the Limited Dental Radiologic Technology license, please visit the Bureau of X-Ray Compliance (a division of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection) online. 

The process of obtaining your dental x-ray license can be confusing as there are several steps and requirements.  At Dental Assistant Services we try to simplify the process as much as possible.  We've been through the process several times and are here to offer you the benefit of our experience.  We will not simply teach you the course content and send you on your way.  We understand the process and how confusing it can be, and will actually take the time to walk you through the process.

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