Think back to your last dental visit and you should remember at least in part what a dental assistant does. You probably noticed that the dental assistant assisted the dentist in order for the dentist to provide more efficient treatment. With dental assistants doing everything else necessary, dentists are able to focus better in carrying out their tasks.
What a Dental Assistant Does
Dental assistants perform different tasks that are related to laboratory work, patient care, and office duties. When it comes to what a dental assistant does, some of these duties may differ based upon parameters such as the size of the dental office. However, dental assistants are not licensed to perform the tasks that dental hygienists perform.
In 2012, there were over 300,000 dental assistants that were working. Most dental assistants worked in dental clinics while some worked in physician’s offices, school clinics, and hospitals. Out of all dental assistants, around one third of them are working part time, some would even carry out more than just one dental practice.
Dental assistants generally learn their skills on the job, although some would receive proper training from dental-assisting programs held by different institutes. If a high school graduate should be interested in pursuing a dental-assisting career, courses that are strongly related to the matter such as biology, chemistry, healthy science is recommended.
Dental assistants should be dependable, be a team player, and have good dexterity when it comes to handling tools. In some places, in order for you to become a dental assistant, you would need to be license. For you to have this license, you would have to take and pass a licensing exam. Since the broad scope of duties of a dental assistant may involve the use of radiology, in some places, you might have to complete the Radiation Health and Safety Examination. In some places, you might even need another license for radiology.
What Does This Job Have For Me?
Considering a degree is not actually required in order to become a dental assistant, the job outlook seems excellent. With that, employment is expected to grow much faster. According to some sources, this job is now the third fastest growing occupation for which a degree is not required.
The median average pay in 2012 was $34,500.
If you get the job, you also have good opportunities of career advancement. Some dental assistants would later be promoted into office managers, dental-assisting teachers or dental
For those who work in the laboratory, some of their tasks would involve making casts of the teeth and mouth, clean and polish appliances and making temporary crowns.
As for those who are assigned to the office, some of their tasks would include scheduling and confirming appointments, keeping treatment records, organizing files, sending bills and receiving payments and ordering supplies and materials. If what a dental assistant does sounds interesting to you, it may be your stepping stone into the field of dentistry or possibly your lifetime career.