What is a Dental Assistant and What Do They Do?
The primary role of a dental assistant is to assist doctors during procedures using four-handed dentistry. Though this is the primary role, they have many other jobs in the dental office that may vary depending on the office.
Our goal is to prepare students for a variety of dental offices and tasks a dentist may require them to perform.
Some of these roles are (but not limited to):
- Seating patients
- Dental charting
- Help patients to feel comfortable
- Assist dentists by handing them instruments and materials during procedures
- Sterilize instruments
- Patient education
- Perform certain procedures such as teeth polishing, digital crown design, or minor orthodontic adjustments
- Take and develop patient x-rays
- Give patients pre- and post-procedure instructions
- Schedule patient appointments
- Prepare operatories by sterilizing the room between patients, and setting up for the next procedure
- Dental supply ordering and working with product representatives
- Taking patient impressions
- Pouring patient models
- Making soft night guards, bleaching trays, and sports guards
- And so much more!
Why a Career in Dental Assisting?
Becoming a dental assistant can be a very rewarding experience with positive job benefits:
- Pay: Dental assistants are typically paid a healthy hourly rate and many offices offer a bonus system.
- Hours: Most dental assistants work daytime hours during the week.
- Expected Job Growth: According to the US Department of Labor, the dental assistant field is expected to grow by 31%, which is much faster than average careers.
- Benefits: Many dentists provide healthcare and dental benefits, paid time off, retirement plans, and sick leave.
- Rewarding: Working in the dental field allows assistants to help others in need. It is an extremely gratifying career!
- Career advancement: Not only is there a need for new dental assistants, but the career is also one that allows for continued training and the opportunity to advance in your job. Many of our graduates have gone on to become lead dental assistants in their offices or have gone back to school to become Dental Hygienists or Dentists!
*Dental Assistant Statistics may be found at www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm
Hear what some of our alumni have said about the Dental Assisting Program: