Career As a Dental Assistant: Things You Need to Know (2023)

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Dental assistants are a part of the dental team. They work along with other dental groups such as dental therapists, dental hygienist and dental technicians. These health workers help dentists in providing more efficient dental care.

Their role, work experience and raining is differs from other dental auxiliary. A dental assistant generally passes on instruments during clinical process. Their work includes helping a dentist in providing an efficient dental treatment.

They prepare patients for the treatment, help them in providing oral hygiene skills, sterilizes instruments and assists during dental procedures.

It was normal during 1980 for them to work without wearing gloves, masks or eye protection. Since 2018 masks, gloves and eye protection have been a part of the dental care procedure.

These people are required to be educated enough, trained and experienced to practice infection control. Infection control in oral health care protects both patients and dental assistants.

In the whole process, they play major role in providing health care from patient’s care to laboratory duties. Their main objective is to help dentists in providing more efficient dental treatment.

Dental assistants have an option of advancing their career to a dentist, dental hygienist, dental technician and an educator.

You must have interest in science, understanding of human body and concern for others to become a dental assistant.

Dental assistants work 40 to 50 hours weekly. And they work in quite clean environment.

As per 2016 reports 332,000 jobs held by these people. Their work also includes removing of teeth, taking x-rays and applying sealants. But a dental assistant’s duty may vary from state to state.

Their main objective is to let dentists spend more time with the patient by providing them help with other things during a procedure.

90% of dental assistants work in dental offices while remaining work with for government or for physicians.

Dental Assistant Career Path:

– Dental assistant: Entry level dental assistants earn $12 hourly. They are the assets of dental offices, laboratory and dental work areas.

Certified dental assistant: One year of experience is required to be a certified dental assistant. They have number of duties and responsibilities to perform in dental offices.

Expanded function dental assistant: EFDS is a licence by the state to place sealants and different types of fillings. This is considered as the highest level of employment for dental assisting.

– Dental assistant instructor: An instructor educates students on dental work areas. They teach students on topics such as radiology, names and uses of dental tools, patient interaction, dental record keeping and hands on instruction.

Dental office business team administrator: dental administrators work include scheduling patient’s appointments, finances, meetings and record keeping. They track patients’ payments and check on insurance claims. 

Dental sales representative: dental representative does the job of providing instruments, supplies and technology to dental offices. They work with the dental team effectively in order to meet their dental requirements.

– Dental hygienist: Dental hygienists work includes examining the patient’s teeth and cleaning process. They examine patient’s teeth using x-ray machines and jaws. They use modes to educate patients about oral hygiene.

– Dental consultant: dental consultant analyses the dental practice. They help in improving the dental practice. Later on they train and educate doctors and staff on systems that add value to the practice.

– Dentist: Dentists do the job of diagnosing and treating patient’s teeth. They provide proper dental care through the dental procedure. Dentists provide patients with instruction on diet, brushing, flossing and other aspects of dental care. They also prescribe medicines to the patient.

Duties and Responsibilities:

– Assisting dentists

– Handing them equipment in hand

– Repeating to the patient that has been asked by the dentist

– Opening up tools for the doctor

– Keep tray, equipment and models clean

– Anticipate the doctor’s need

– Communicate efficiently

– Help patient’s with the directions to the payment counter

– Take x-rays, keep records, schedule appointments

– Taking blood pressure

– Checking on patient health and pre-medications

– Place napkin on patient’s neck

– Position the chair as per patient’s need

– Keep carpule ready in case doctor needs extra

– Put equipment in sequence so it’s easier for the doctor to use

– Inform patients regarding early finishing off or running late.

Watch this video to get more insight on Duties and Responsibilities of a Dental Assistant.

What are the skills required?

– X-ray skills: should know how to take x-rays

– Communicative skills: An assistant must communicate effectively with the patient during and after the process.

– Scheduling: A dental assistant need to schedule appointments, – inform them of time periods and working hours.

– Clinic experience: They should be experienced in clinical setting.

– Infection control: Needs to be trained for practicing infection control.

– Customer service: Need to provide effective services to the patient. Need to meet the requirements of the patient.

What is the process to becoming one?

  1. Complete a 2-year assistant program from college or technical school.
  2. It may be a diploma, certification or bachelor’s degree.
  3. Some program includes teaching in a clinical setting.
  4. Course work includes: Oral anatomy, dental office administration, dental radiography, dental materials, dental pharmacology and CPR & first aid.
  5. Complete certification and licensing process. You may learn more about this after contacting state dental board or visit Dental assistance national board website.
  6. Need to pass DANB’s examination which includes area: General chair side, radiation health and safety, and infection control.
  7. DANB administers National Entry Level examination which you have an option to give.
  8. Have an option to complete master’s degree for advancing in dental assistant.
  9. Moreover, an experience from a clinical setting is the key to become a valuable dental assistant.

Salary and Scope of a Dental Assistant:

Dental assistants are the assets to the country, to the world probably.

Everybody have teeth and everybody need to treat them right. Dental assistants help people by providing dental care.

According to Bureau of labour statistics the growth of employment will grow 18% by 2024.

64,600 jobs are occupied by Dental Assistants. However, unemployment rate is 3.4%.

An average salary of a dental assistant is $37,630. However, the range of salary depends on the year of experience.

Here is a video from the YouTube channel ‘Teeth Talk Girl’ – A Day In The Life Of A Dental Assistant”. 

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