Dental Assistants play one of the most important roles in the dentistry profession. If you’re a caring, organized, and detail-oriented person, becoming a dental assistant might be the career for you! Before enrolling in a dental assistant program, there are a few things that you should know. Keep reading to find out if this career path is right for you!
1. What Do Dental Assistants Do?
Dental assistants spend their days working closely with patients and dentists. A dental assistant's responsibilities are numerous and varied. As they provide support to both dentists and dental hygienists. These dental assistant job duties include:
- Provide patient care and ensure that they are comfortable in the dental chair
- Prepare patients and the work area for treatments and dental procedures
- Sterilize dental instruments
- Hand instruments to dentists during procedures
- Dry patients’ mouths using suction hoses and other equipment
- Instruct patients in proper oral hygiene
- Process x rays and complete lab tasks, under the direction of a dentist
- Keep records of dental treatments
- Schedule patient appointments
- Work with patients on billing and payment1
Dental assistants may also perform a variety of lab tasks such as coronal polishing, sealant application, fluoride application, and topical anesthetic application. Depending on where they work, some may even be trained to take x-rays!
2. Where Do Dental Assistants Work?
“Dental assistants work under the supervision of dentists and work closely with dental hygienists in their day-to-day activities2.” Making it most common for dental assistants to be found working in dental offices. They may also work in the following:
- Dental offices
- Dental specialties – surgery, pediatric, orthodontics
- Dental schools
- Dental supply manufacturers
- Hospital dental departments
- Dental laboratories
- Public health departments and government agencies
- Dental prosthesis manufacturing
- Dental insurance companies
Once you’ve completed a dental assistant training program, you could be eligible for entry-level employment at any of these workplaces!
3. What is the Career Outlook for Dental Assistants?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 20303.” Approximately 44,000 jobs will become available every year.
The BLS states that “ongoing research linking oral health and general health will continue to increase demand for preventive dental services3.”
4. What Will You Learn in Dental Assistant School?
A dental assistant’s primary responsibility is to help the dentist. In your courses, you would learn how to utilize dental equipment correctly. Additionally, you would have the opportunity to practice these techniques. Basic dental procedures may also be taught as part of your training to help patients prepare for more extensive operations.
You will learn dental assistant skills through a combination of lecture hours, lab hours, outside work hours, and externship hours. Dental assistant programs typically include courses in the areas of:
- Dental Anatomy and physiology
- Dental health and nutrition
- Oral histology
- Tooth Form and structure
- Preventive dentistry
- Dental laboratory procedures
- Dental Radiography
- Operative dentistry
- Patient care
- Dental office administration management
These courses will help you build a solid foundation in the area of dental assisting so that you will be prepared to enter the field!
Enroll in National Career College's Dental Assistant program if becoming a Dental Assistant interests you.
Our goal at National Career College is to ensure that taking classes does not interfere with your work-life balance while also enriching your education and job prospects. This is why we offer day and evening classes for our Dental Assistant Program.
National Career College’s dental assistant course takes less than 10 months to complete. In those 10 months, our students receive quality dental assistant training toward completing the necessary dental assistant requirements for employment. Our externship program provides students at NCC with the opportunity to demonstrate their clinical and administrative skills in a dental practice setting.
Upon graduation from NCC, students are eligible to sit for the Registered Dental Assistant examination, RDA (CA DCA, Dental Board of California). Additionally, upon graduation, students will obtain Radiation Safety, Infection Control, and Coronal Polishing certifications, which are approved by the Dental Board of California.