According to DANB, the Dental Assisting National Board, dental assisting is among the top 25 fastest-growing occupations in the United States. As a dental assistant, you will not only enjoy increased opportunities in a growing field, you will also enhance the efficiency of a dental care team.
Variety of Responsibilities
The duties and responsibilities of a dental assistant vary depending on state regulations, but usually involve a variety of office, patient care and laboratory duties. Some of the duties you may perform as a dental assistant, as outlined by the American Dental Association (ADA), include:
Assisting a dentist with treatments and procedures
Taking and developing dental radiographs (depending on state requirements)
Communicating post-surgery instructions to patients
Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments and equipment
Although many dental assistants work full-time in private dental practices, over one-third work part-time. Others divide their schedules among more than one dental office. If you are seeking a long-term career with flexible or part-time hours, dental assisting is for you.
Contact with People
As a dental assistant, you will have contact with every patient who walks in the dental office, whether it’s by scheduling appointments, taking blood pressure readings or communicating post-surgery instructions. You can make a positive impact on people’s lives by providing them with quality oral healthcare and helping them feel more comfortable.
Wide Range of Career Options
In addition to working chairside with the dentist, many dental assistants pursue different career options after they receive formal training and DANB Certification. Some of these options include:
The duties of a dental assistant are among the most comprehensive and varied in the dental office. The dental assistant performs many tasks requiring both interpersonal and technical skills. Although state regulations vary, responsibilities may include:
assisting the dentist during a variety of treatment procedures
taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays)
asking about the patient’s medical history and taking blood pressure and pulse
serving as an infection control officer, developing infection control protocol and preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment
helping patients feel comfortable before, during and after dental treatment
providing patients with instructions for oral care following surgery or other dental treatment procedures, such as the placement of a restoration (filling)
teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health;
(e.g., tooth brushing, flossing and nutritional counseling)
taking impressions of patients’ teeth for study casts (models of teeth)
performing office management tasks that often require the use of a personal computer
communicating with patients and suppliers (e.g., scheduling appointments, answering the telephone, billing and ordering supplies)
helping to provide direct patient care in all dental specialties, including orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and oral surgery
Mainspring is now open for student enrollment in Boise, Idaho. The Dental Assistant Training Program provides a hands-on approach to training in the shortest time possible, with the most realistic clinical experience available. The Dental Assisting course consists of 78 hours of lecture and a lab, and a 50 hour externship with a practicing dentist. Classes are held in the office of a practicing dentist. This environment gives students access to the actual equipment used by practicing dentists and enhances their comfort and skill with actual tools of the trade.
The Dental Assisting curriculum includes lectures on the fundamentals of general dentistry and the basic skills, knowledge and technical proficiency necessary to assist the dentist in the various operative procedures performed in a dental clinic. Completion of the program will allow the individual to become employable for an entry-level position in a dental office. Often, this entry-level position serves as a stepping stone to more highly skilled and higher paying jobs.