Dental assistants are often considered to be the backbone of the dental office. They must have a broad knowledge of many aspects of dentistry, and they perform many tasks at the dental practice. Duties can vary depending on the state as well as the office in which they are working.
The role of a dental assistant can involve everything from supporting the operations of a practice, working in a dental lab, to working directly under the supervision of a dentist treating patients.
What Does a Dental Assistant Do?
Some of the most common responsibilities of a dental assistant can include:
- Working with patients directly, making sure they are comfortable in the dental chair while preparing them for procedures and treatment
- Disinfecting dental tools and in-office technology
- Preparing the work area for treatment by setting out the right tools and materials
- Assisting the dentist during procedures by handing them the necessary tools
- Helping keep patients’ mouths clean using suction or other equipment
- Removing sutures from inside the mouth
- Educating patients about proper dental hygiene
- Processing x-rays and other lab tasks under the direction of the dentist
- Organizing and updating dental records
- Scheduling appointment for patients
- Working with patients on billing and payments
Dental assistants perform tasks that help the dental office and the dentist stay organized. A dental assistant may also be able to help clean and polish teeth, and apply sealants and fluoride when needed.
Can I Become a Dental Assistant If I Don’t Have a Background in Dental Care?
Absolutely! Many licensed Dental Assistants start their training with little to no dental healthcare experience. It is a good idea to take the time to learn about the course requirements and training needed to become a dental assistant before moving forward.
What Kind of Training is Needed?
Most dental assistant courses are provided at a secondary school or an institution for proper training. You must complete a high-school education before enrolling in this program. In about a year or two, you should have a certificate or diploma that shows you completed your dental assistant training. The length of these programs also differs by state.
It is important to know that dental assistants work very closely with patients, so your training will also be very hands-on.
Are There Other Career Opportunities for Dental Assistants?
Some individuals who complete their dental assistant training may use it as an introduction to the dental field. It is not uncommon for a dental assistant to gain a few years of experience in the field and go back to school to become a licensed hygienist later and eventually, a dentist!
Still Not Sure if Dental Assisting is the Right Career for You? Ask Yourself These 6 Questions!
Choosing the right profession can be intimating. This is why it is essential to weigh out all your options and do your due diligence when determining your future career.
When deciding to become a dental assistant, try asking yourself the following questions:
- Do I see myself doing the work that comes with this position?
- Will I be happy performing these tasks every day?
- Will I feel comfortable in this type of work setting?
- Do I have the patience and personality needed to become successful?
- How does the job market look for this position?
- Will the typical salary for this profession satisfy me?
Get Started Towards Your New Career Today!
Are you looking for an exciting career? Do you want to help people enjoy improved confidence and quality of life through a healthy smile? If so, then a profession as a dental assistant may be ideal for you!
At Summit Dental Assisting Academy, we’ve been helping individuals throughout Lee’s Summit find their perfect profession for many years. Contact our friendly and knowledge administration staff for more information today!