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What is a Dental Assistant?

Browse available Dental Assistant Jobs. This person is compulsory in any professional dentists’ office. A dental assistant is the individual who aids, assists and manages dental procedures liaising the dentist. There are numerous other management and organizational functions which an individual in this position is expected to do while on the job. The designated person is expected to provide proper care and medical aid during dental procedures in absence of a dentist. Thus, a dental assistant is supposed to assist from both medical and managerial aspects working closely with a dentist and other management staff. Being a dental assistant is not an easy task to do by any means but it is quite a lucrative job opportunity which is very much in-demand.

Dental Assistant Jobs Overview

A dental assistant is a compulsory presence who has more direct contact with customers or patients than a dentist himself. He is the one who does most of the talking and gives more than just a lending hand in the state of affairs. They are also responsible for comfort and convenience of a patient throughout the process.
A typical dental procedure includes catering to the patient’s pre-procedural formalities, prepping equipment for the technique, the dental operation itself, post-operation diagnostics, medication and feedback. A dental assistant is supposed to coordinate and regulate every single aspect of this whole process to the convenience and satisfaction of the customer.

Minimum Age to Be a Dental Assistant: 

Any individual above 16 and preferably above 18 can be a dental assistant. Experience is a very important factor in this sector. Thus it is obvious that dental assistants with experience to show are preferred above others.

Dental Assistant Education Requirements: 

A high school diploma is the minimum necessity in this field. However, this is a technical sector and assisting a dentist in an operation requires technical knowledge as well. Thus a dental assistant requires a minimum certification to be able to perform the duties efficiently.

Dental Assistant Job Description

Healthcare is among the most booming industrial sectors. And with dentistry catering to both health and cosmetic operations, dental assistant job sector is projected to grow more than 25% over the upcoming years. This is turning out to be one of the hottest upcoming job sectors over the years. There are other aspects to this which are expected of a dental assistant. The most important aspects are of management and customer service to a certain extent. To assist a dentist is to leave him with the minimum responsibilities other than the procedures themselves. There are many job placements for a dental assistant other than providing support to a dentist at their offices, private care centers or physicians’ clinics. Dental assistants are employed by insurance agencies, specialty hospitals and state or federal agencies for their expertise and knowledge in the field.

Dental Assistant Job Duties and Responsibilities

A conclusive list of duties and responsibilities other than dentistry which are expected of a dental assistant are as follows:

  • Managing appointments and work schedules.
  • Keeping historical record of patients or customers.
  • Providing proper care; catering to post-operational feedback and follow-up from patients.
  • Managing in-between customers and individuals from the reception to operation chair.

Among the fundamental duties assigned to a dental assistant relating to dentistry are:

  • Placing temporary sedative dressing, liners and bases.
  • Crowning including sizing stainless steel crowns, temporary crowns, etc.
  • Operating X-ray equipment for taking intra-oral X-rays and other oral radiography procedures.
  • Assisting in nitrous oxide administration, removing post-operational dressings etc.
  • Using caries detection instruments for proper analysis and diagnosis for the dentist.

Dental Assistant Requirements

To become a dental assistant, an individual can participate in vocational courses provided by over 200 community colleges and similar educational institutions throughout the country post-high school. Completion of the course is to be followed by either participation in the DANB exams or in an on-job-training as a CDA intern under a dentist for at least 2 years. Upon completing either of these, the individual becomes a CDA.

How to Become a Dental Assistant

The industry-specific designation is - certified dental assistant (CDA). To be a CDA in USA, an individual has to complete vocational training courses which are acknowledged by The Commission of Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. After completing a course which might extend for 1 or even 2 years, an individual then has to appear for the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) examinations. They might also take at least 2 years of on-job-training instead to become a licensed and certified CDA.

Dental Assistant Salary

The average median salary for a CDA comes in at around $35,000 per annum. The highest earning group is the one which strangely work outside the dentists’ office taking in $48,000. Insurance carriers, specialty healthcare institutions, facility aid services and other government run agencies are the ones who give off the highest pay-scales. With the least paid margin being around $25,000, the most important criterion to the pay-scale of dental assistant has much to do with the experience and skills.

Dental Assistant Jobs