FAQs  (Frequently Asked Questions)


A.   Is Orthodontic Assisting more advanced than Dental Assisting?

 Most definitely, since orthodontics is a specialty in dentistry.  Previous experience as a dental assistant helps a lot, but is not necessary to train an orthodontic assistant.

B.   What does an Orthodontic Assistant do?

Much of the “Hands On” work needed  to treat patients is done by assistants e.g. Impression taking, X-rays, Photos, Inserting and removing wires, instructions on various aspects to patients etc etc.

C.   What is the difference between a hygienist and a dental Assistant in an orthodontic practice?

Both are assistants. But the  hygienist is a graduate from a University Dental School and can work in a patient’s mouth.  Only the hygienist is allowed to take impressions, insert and remove wires, remove braces etc. The Dental Assistant does everything else, except physically work in the patient’s mouth.

D.   Do students receive CPD points?

Yes the new HPCSA regulation requires that dental assistants and oral hygienists need CPD points.  They need 30 CPD points per year.  This is to encourage them to attend continuing education courses.

E.   Does the University or Technicon provide this education in their Curriculum?  

No.  It is not possible to teach what this Academy is teaching, because Orthodontic Assisting is mostly in-house training.  Also Practice Management cannot be taught at Universities or Technicons.

F.    Can this course become a career option and a stepping-stone to bigger careers?

Yes.  This course teaches both Clinical and Practice Management.  It combines two worlds, i.e. working on people’s health matters and administration of the service.  In clinical you get to learn how to treat patients and in administration  you learn how to manage people and finance.

G.   Will this course make it easier for you to get a job?

Most definitely.  This advance level course will attract prospective employers, especially dentists and dental specialists, who won’t need to train. 

H.   Who pays for the course?   

Either you or your employer.  If your employer pays then he/she can write it off tax.  Even better your employer can claim back a large portion of the fees from skills development based at the South African Revenue Services.  In fact it is beneficial for your employer to pay. A large portion of the levy can be claimed back from the various SETA’s (in this case HWSETA).  This is what must be done by the practice if the practice does not have an accountant.


                                          i.    Appoint Skills Development Facilitator

                                        ii.    Submit a Workplace Skills Plan

                                       iii.    Submit an Annual Training Report.

However, the accountant can sort this out with ease.

I.      If you are not a hygienist what conditions are there to enroll for the course?  

A dental assistant can enroll if he/she is registered with the HPCSA and / or has ±5 years of experience working for a dentist.  If the assistant is already working for an orthodontist, then, all that is required is a reference letter from the orthodontist proposing him/her as a student.