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News & Information


Change to CDE Requirements
Update on Emil's Health
Dental Assistant Salaries
Cone Beam Imaging
Change in Grace Period for CDA Certifications
New Regulations for Dental Radiology Programs
DAS of Ocean County
New Certifications Coming Next Year
CPR No Longer Counts Towards CDE Credits Requirements
Discontinuance of CDE Course Approvals
Additional Expanded Functions Approved in NJ
Government Phase-Down of Amalgam Use
Introducing a new DANB Credential: The CPFDA Certificate


Change to CDE Requirements

November 1, 2015

Please be advised that DANB regulations will be changing as of January 1, 2016. The changes being made will reflect CDE or continuing dental education credits. Specifically of the 12 required CDE credits that a CDA certificant must earn every two years, a minimum of two of those credits must be on content pertaining to infection control.

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Update on Emil's Health

April 22, 2016

After nearly three years of fighting, Emil Villanueva lost his battle to glioblastoma (an aggressive form of brain cancer). He passed away quietly and peacefully early in the morning of April 13, 2016. He was more than an office manager at DAS. He was also Gail's husband and Carrie's father-in-law. He was also a photographer whose work is proudly on display on the walls at DAS. Gail and Emil had a great relationship together. He will be never forgotten, but always missed.

November 1, 2015

About three weeks ago Emil lost his vision. He can no longer see anything except for shades of darkness and what he calls "shadows" or "silhouettes" of a person in front of him. The loss of vision is most likely due to the growth of the tumor pressing on his ocular nerves. He continues to have confusion and is fading in between states of consciousness and sleep throughout the day. He has lost all concept of time, which makes caring for him a 24 hour a day job. This is why Gail is always running around and exhausted.

In spite of the declines, a new medication has increased his appetite and given him more energy. While still in bed all day, he is awake more since starting on this new medication. We thank you for your continued support, prayers, patience, and understanding during this difficult time.

August 16, 2015

Emil has surpassed the prognosis of his doctors having survived over two years since his diagnosis. In spite of this significant accomplishment his energy and strength are fading. He is becoming more easily confused and spends most of his time sleeping. Yet at the same time his personality still shines through. Caring for him continues to be a monumental undertaking and as primary caregiver, Gail takes the brunt of the load. She loses a lot of sleep and is under a ton of pressure, but somehow she still finds a way to be compassionate, patient, and loving.

March 31, 2015

We realize that we have not updated this page in quite some time and apologize for that. Emil is still fighting his diagnosis of brain cancer. It has been 20 months since the original discovery of the tumor. For several months periodic MRIs have shown the tumor to be stable. However, in November 2014 Emil had a small stroke. There were no major effects of that stroke, but to be safe the doctors chose to switch him to a different chemotherapy medication.

Although there have been some side effects with the different treatments, all things considered Emil is continuing to be presented as a model patient. He is having trouble with his vision, sleeps alot, and eats very little, but is still mentally alert. He may get confused more easily, but is still fully capable of having a normal conversation.

Though things had appeared to have stabilized for several months, Emil's last MRI showed his tumor to have grown 5mm. His white blood cell count is also dangerously low and he's on medication to address that. The doctors have referred him for additional radiation therapy to attack the new growth. However, until his white blood cell levels increase he cannot be given any additional chemo.

Back in the office, Carrie Villanueva, Emil's step-daughter, has been doing an excellent job. She will continue to be with us for the foreseeable future. Gail may continue to have to cancel some classes unexpectedly to address medical issues, but she remains committed to the success of her students and providing you with the best quality education and service possible. We thank you for your continued concern, understanding, and patience.

November 1, 2013

Our office manager Emil is continuing to recover and to regain his health. As can be expected some days are better or worse than others. While all courses have resumed, at this time Emil is not working at the office. As a result we are short-staffed for the time being. This means that it may take some additional time to return your phone calls, to schedule appointments, complete your paperwork, etc. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

August 8, 2013

Some classes have already begun to resume. In the days ahead others will also begin to resume. Not all classes are currently running as usual and because of ongoing tests and medical appointments associated with Emil's health, even those courses that have already resumed may need to be cancelled on short notice. Please continue to check our website for details. Cancellations will be posted on the homepage and scroll across the top of the screen. We encourage you to check the homepage each week prior to attending your class just to be safe.

As far as Emil is concerned, he is back at home and continuing his recovery. He is gradually regaining his strength, but not yet ready to return to work. He is currently dealing with a few physical issues and we do not yet know if they are temporary or will be permanent.

August 6, 2013

Today Emil was discharged from the hospital. He is feeling well, all things considered. While he is very fortunate to be alive and to have had no complications following his surgery, there is still a long road ahead. During the surgery, a byopsy was performed that showed the brain tumor was cancerous. Radiation and chemotherapy will begin shortly to go after whatever remains of the tumor could not be surgically removed. Additional tests are also planned.

This remains a difficult time for the family and may unfortunately require additional cancellations of classes in the future. However, the office will begin to reopen and resume some classes as early as tomorrow. This includes Radiology in the morning and General Chairside in the afternoon. Please check back later regarding the status of Thursday and Friday classes.

August 3, 2013

Thank you again everyone for all of your support, love, and care. Emil had surgery yesterday and the doctors were pleased with the results and their ability to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Fortunately there were no surgical complications such as paralysis or blindness, which were a concern given the intricate nature of the procedure. At this time, Emil is recovering from the surgery and is in intensive-care. Additional tests are scheduled and if things go well he should return to a more traditional hospital room soon to continue his recovery.

July 30, 2013

Emil is doing as well as he can given the current situation, but the situation is dire and his prognosis is not good. He is scheduled to have brain surgery on Friday in an effort to remove a tumor and save his life. We thank you for your care, concern, and prayers during this difficulty time. Another update will be posted later in the week. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

July 28, 2013

The Dental Assistant Services office is closed until further notice. All classes and individual appointments are cancelled for the time being. For those who may not know, DAS is a family-run business. Our office manager Emil was admitted to the hospital on Saturday night after having had a CT Scan performed. Additional tests are currently being performed and we are simply waiting at this point for more information. Gail Scarola-Villanueva is married to Emil and is understandably very concerned.

We will pass along more details regarding Emil's health and the status of the office as soon as they are made available to us. In the meantime we ask that you please be patient with us and respect the family's desire for privacy at this time. We know that your education is very important to you, just as it is to us. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and hope to be up and running again soon.

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Dental Assistant Salaries

August 17th, 2015

The results of a recent DANB salary survey have been released. The survey reveals that those holding a CDA certification earn approximately $2/hour more than those without the credential. Think of it like a $2/hour raise that you're eligible for once you obtain your certification. Over the course of a year if you were to work 40 hours a week that would equate to an additional $4000.

According to the survey, the highest salaries can be earned in California and Alaska were they earn about $25/hour. Utah was the lowest, with an typical salary hovering around $13/hour. New Jersey was in the top ten coming in at $21/hour.

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Cone Beam Imaging

June 15th, 2015

When cone beam technology first became available in dental offices, Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologists were not permitted to perform radiologic procedures involving Cone Beam Computer Tomography (CBCT) units. We have had many inquiries about Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologists using CBCT units.

The Bureau of X-Ray Compliance has made some recent adjustments that will allow LDRTs to perform the task. A strict process has been established to allow CBCT exposures. The protocol can be obtained by either contacting us or the Bureau of X-Ray Compliance at 609-984-5370.

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Change in Grace Period for CDA Certification

It has traditionally been the case that if you let your CDA certification expire, you could within 2 years quickly catch up on the back credits and be able to restore the active status of your certification. As per a conversation with a DANB employee, we have been informed that this will no longer be the case. In other words, if you allow your certification to expire by not earning the required 12 credits each year, you will no longer possess an active CDA certification. In this situation, you would need to retake each of the three DANB exams that pertain to the CDA certification.

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New Regulations for Dental Radiology Programs

June 23rd, 2013

The Bureau of X-Ray Compliance has implemented a number of changes that affect all state-approved dental radiology courses in New Jersey (including ours). 

These changes include an increase in the number of didactic (classroom) and lab hours as well as more stringent regulations related to the clinical component.  With respect to the clinical component, students will now be expected to specifically expose a number of digital exposures, full mouth periapicals by the paralleling technique, and several exposures using the bisecting technique. These changes will likely require that many students complete their clinicals in more than one office in order to perform all of the required exposures. 

Additionally, the Bureau of X-Ray Compliance is requiring that prospective students obtain an agreement with an area dental office where they can expect to complete the clinical portion of the Radiology program prior to being permitted to register or enroll in a state-approved dental radiology program, such as the one offered at Dental Assistant Services.

We have prepared a letter that prospective students can carry with them to help explain these recent changes. Nevertheless, we understand that the new process may carry with it some questions. Current students, prospective students, and dental offices are encouraged to call DAS at 732-919-1816 with any questions or concerns they may have about these changes.

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DAS of Ocean County

August 24th, 2012

It has come to our attention that there is a school that has opened up in Forked River, NJ which goes by the name DAS of Ocean County.  While their name may be similar to ours, they are in no way affiliated with Dental Assistant Services.  Their website address is also very similar to another dental assisting program with offices in Forked River and New Brunswick.

Please know that DAS of Ocean County is not in any manner affiliated, associated, or connected with Dental Assistant Services.  Dental Assistant Services operates out of a single office located in Farmingdale, NJ. 

If you are a prospective student trying to decide where to go, we encourage you to speak with those already in the field.  For example, you could ask at your own dentist's office where they would recommend you go. 

We have a lot of students who transfer to our school after taking a class elsewhere only to feel unprepared.  But even if you don't attend our program, we want you to find a place where you feel comfortable and prepared to begin your new career. 

Of couse, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

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New Certifications Coming Next Year

January 24th, 2012

Two additional DANB  [DANB Disclaimer] certifications are expected in 2013.  For dental assistants new to the field there will be an Entry-Level Dental Assistant (ELDA  [DANB Disclaimer]) credential, and for more experienced assistants a Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA  [DANB Disclaimer]) certification.  The intention of these additional credentials is to further develop and expand the dental assisting profession. 

A concrete date for the new credentials has not yet been announced, and with it still being early in 2012 changes and/or adjustments to the current plans may be possible.  As always, Dental Assistant Services will keep you apprised of any updates.

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CPR No Longer Counts Towards CDE Credits Requirements

January 24th, 2012

With the new year came some changes to the DANB  [DANB Disclaimer] Recertification Requirements.  Whether certificants (credentialed dental assistants) realize it or not, there are a number of categories that describe the different ways by which a person can collect continuing dental education credits, also known as CDE credits.  One of the changes is that some categories have been combined and the total number of categories has decreased to four. 

Perhaps the most significant change impacting your recertification requirements is a change made with respect to the CPR requirement.  Having an active certification in Cardiovascular Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) was previously and still remains a requirement in order to maintain your CDA  [DANB Disclaimer] or other DANB certification.  However, CPR courses will no longer count towards the required number of CDE credits.

So to clarify, if for example you have a CDA  [DANB Disclaimer] certificate that you are looking to renew you will need to complete the following three requirements:

(1) Pay the annual renewal fee
(2) Maintain a current CPR certification
(3) Earn 12 CDE credits (not including CPR)

Additional DANB  [DANB Disclaimer] certifications (e.g. COA  [DANB Disclaimer], CPFDA  [DANB Disclaimer]) may carry additional recertification requirements.  One more change to the recertification requirements is an increase in the renewal fees, which now begin at $60.  These changes went into effect on January 1, 2012.

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Discontinuance of CDE Course Approvals

August 12th, 2011

Individuals in the dental assisting field are familiar with the various DANB  [DANB Disclaimer]certifications; most notable to New Jersey dental assistants is that they offer a CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certificate.  In order to maintain a valid CDA certificate it must be renewed annually.  As part of the renewal process you are required to collect 12 continuing dental education (CDE) credits each year.  While you are not required to submit evidence of your CDE credits each year, certain individuals may be randomly audited.  Those certificants who are chosen to be audited must then submit the following documentation:

  1. Your name
  2. Your certification number
  3. The name of the course sponsor (e.g. if you take one of our CDE courses, Dental Assistant Services would be the sponsor) 
  4. The course date
  5. The course title
  6. A description of the material in the course
  7. The number of credits earned

While nobody may want to be audited, inevitably some people will be audited.  Traditionally to assure that your collected credits would pass an audit, providers (or sponsors) such as Dental Assistant Services could in advance obtain DANB  [DANB Disclaimer]approval for the CDE courses they wanted to offer.  Sponsors could then advertise not only that they offered a CDE course, but that they offered a CDE course that was approved by the same agency responsible for establishing the criteria that determines what makes for an acceptable course.

As of July 2011, advance DANB  [DANB Disclaimer]approval for CDE courses will no longer be provided.  That is, CDE course sponsors can no longer ask for pre-approval of courses that they may like to offer to the public.  Courses however that have already been approved will continue to be recognized until their respective expiration dates. 

It was emphasized that DANB's  [DANB Disclaimer]decision to no longer pre-approve CDE courses does not mean that they will not accept CDE courses provided by Dental Assistant Services and other entities for the purposes of renewing your credentials, but rather that sponsors will no longer be permitted to advertise that their courses have DANB approval.

Put another way, CDE courses will still be required and accepted for renewing a dental credentials, but pre-approval and advertising of CDE courses as having DANB  [DANB Disclaimer]approval will not continue.

In addition, a number of other changes and requirements with respect to how DANB  [DANB Disclaimer]trademarks, service marks, and certification marks can be used have been implemented.  This includes what parts of speech that DANB marks can and cannot be used in, as well as how they can and cannot be used in a sentence.  As such you will likely notice specific terminology and phraseology being used along with additional disclaimers when and wherever references to DANB marks are made.  This would include the footnotes (crosses or daggers) that are present throughout this site.

So what then is a person who holds a DANB  [DANB Disclaimer]certificate supposed to do in order to assure that their CDE courses will be accepted and that their certification will be renewed and continue to be valid?

A recent DANB  [DANB Disclaimer]statement explained that people have mistakenly believed that they approve course sponsors (as opposed to specific courses), that DANB approval reflects the quality of a course, and/or that certificants may only take CDE courses that have been pre-approved.  DANB's statement continues that certificants may take any CDE course that relates to the practice of dentistry or dental assisting for the purpose of renewing a certificate so long as the course meets their Recertification Requirements.

This means that certificants will now have to take a more active approach to determining which CDE courses they should take.  In essence the recertification policies include the following:

For the full list of recertification policies, please see page four of their Recertification Requirements.  Worth noting is that you will be granted a three month grace period if you do not meet all of your renewal requirements by the expiration date before you are denied permission to continue calling yourself a certificant (certificate holder).

Specifically with respect to CPR certification, DANB  [DANB Disclaimer]approval does not extend to specific providers of CPR courses.  Instead they have established a list of pre-approved providers.  If you take a course that is offered in conjunction with one of these pre-approved providers, then a copy of your CPR card will be considered acceptable if asked to document your CPR certification.  The full list of approved CPR providers can be seen on page seven of their Recertification Requirements.

We realize that all of this information may be difficult to follow and it is certainly very important with respect to your career.  If you should have any questions, please feel free to call our office at 732-919-1816.  You may also call them directly.  DANB's  [DANB Disclaimer]number is 1-800-367-3262.

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NJ State Board of Dentistry Approves of Additional Expanded Functions

July 23rd, 2011

Dental Assistant Services would like to clarify the following.  As of February of this year (2011) New Jersey Registered Dental Assistants (RDAs) can apply topical anesthesia, apply fluorides, and apply pit and fissure sealants as they relate to the prevention of oral disease and discomfort.  However, RDAs cannot perform prophylaxis.  Please click here and scroll down to pages 30-10 and 30-11 (items 23 and 34) to see the law itself directly from the NJ State Board of Dentistry's "Dentistry Regulations" (13:30-2.4).

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Government Phase-Down of Amalgam Use

June 10th, 2011

In the past few years the United Nations Environmental Programme has met and discussed the use of mercury (in all forms).  In 2009 it was agreed that an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee would be developed to create a legally binding agreement between nations regarding the trade and use of mercury.  Specific goals included reducing the supply of mercury, reducing the amount of mercury traded between nations, reducing atmospheric emissions of mercury, enhancing environmentally sound storage of mercury, and enhancing public awareness around potential mercury toxicity. 

While these meetings were not exclusively focused on dental amalgam, its use was included in their discussions as a mercury containing product.

In early 2011, many opponents of dental amalgam use began speaking up about what is being called a "government phase down" of the use of mercury-based amalgams.  As an example, Charles G. Brown, the President of the World Alliance of Mercury-Free Dentistry, is cited on April 5th, 2011 as saying:

In an extraordinary development that will change the global debate about amalgam, the United States government has announced that it supports a “phase down, with the goal of eventual phase out by all Parties, of mercury amalgam”...  [With this announcement] the U.S. speaks up for protecting children and the unborn from amalgam, recommending that the nations “educate patients and parents in order to protect children and fetuses”... [and] for the human right of every patient and parent to make educated decisions about amalgam. (Source: The Center for Natural Dentistry)

Much of the information made available to the public about this phase down is based primarily on commentary and/or incomplete information, while the US government's actual and specific statements and intentions appear less readily available.  Below is a brief summary of the actual statements made by both the United Nations and the United States.

Tooth with an amalgam fillingAt their January 2011 meeting in Japan, the United Nations Environmental Programme reported that "representatives of non-governmental organizations on dental amalgam expressed support for a reduction in the use of amalgam in dentistry while acknowledging that its elimination was not feasible. Research into and development of alternatives to dental amalgam was suggested."

Later on, the recently formed United States Mercury Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) put out a report indicating that they support "the development of a comprehensive, legally-binding instrument on mercury that will significantly reduce global mercury use and releases and improve the global environment... The United States is providing these comments to give further clarity or additional information on specific elements".

In this report they specifically address dental amalgam by stating that, "The United States supports further consideration of dental amalgam by the INC such that the agreement is able to achieve the phase down, with the goal of eventual phase out by all Parties, of mercury amalgam upon the development and availability of affordable, viable alternatives... Such a paragraph could commit Parties to phase down the use of mercury amalgam or address mercury releases through conducting and promoting further research on alternatives, mandating the use of separators in dental offices, promoting and incentivizing prevention strategies, educating patients and parents in order to protect children and fetuses, and training of dental professionals on the environmental impacts of mercury in dental amalgams."  (Source: The United Nations Environment Programme)

In other words, while the anti-mercury movement is promoting the fact that the United States government has decided to work towards phasing down the use of dental amalgam, what is often left out is that there is no set timeline for when this will occur.  The government has basically stated that they would like to stop using mercury, but only when they determine that suitable and affordable alternatives are available.

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Introducing a new DANB Credential: The CPFDA Certificate

April 5th, 2011

The CPFDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certificate or Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant certificate is a newly offered DANB  [DANB Disclaimer]certification.  The CPFDA certificate is a newly offered credential that went into effect on April 1, 2011.  The CPFDA certificate shows proficiency in four task areas: coronal polishing, topical fluoride application, sealant application, and topical anesthetics application.  According to the NJ State Board of Dentistry no New Jersey based dental assistant is permitted to do coronal polishing (prophy).  The other three tasks (fluoride application, sealant application, and topical application) can all be performed by an RDA.  Thus in the state of New Jersey, the CPFDA certificate is essentially not applicable.  Click here for additional information about the CPFDA credential.

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