If you’re considering a career as a dental assistant, there are a few things you need to know before you get started. Dental assistants are key members of a dental team and play a vital role in helping to make for a pleasant experience for the patient. If you’re thinking about becoming a dental assistant, here’s what you need to know.
Dental assistants typically need to complete formal postsecondary education. Depending on the program, it can take anywhere from six months to two years to complete a dental assistant program. Some programs may be offered at a technical school or community college. It’s important to make sure the program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Though not mandatory, it’s also a good idea to become certified or registered as a dental assistant. The certifications and registrations will vary depending on the state, but you can check with your state’s dental board to see what’s available.
Dental assistants have a variety of responsibilities. They may prepare patients for dental treatment, take and process x-rays, sterilize instruments, perform basic laboratory tasks, and assist the dentist during a procedure. Dental assistants may also provide patient instruction on proper oral hygiene and may complete administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments and maintaining patient records.
Dental assistants typically work in a dental office with a dentist and other dental professionals. The job may require a great deal of standing, bending, and kneeling. Dental assistants may also have to work with patients who are in pain or anxious, so it’s important to have excellent customer service skills. The hours may vary depending on the practice, but most dental assistants work full-time hours.
The salary of a dental assistant can vary depending on the state, experience, and type of practice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for dental assistants was $38,660 in 2018.
If you’re interested in becoming a dental assistant, it’s important to do your research, understand the responsibilities and expectations, and complete the necessary education and training. Dental assistants play a critical role in helping to make for a pleasant experience for patients in a dental office, so it’s important to make sure you are prepared. With the right education, training, and experience, you can be well on your way to a successful career as a dental assistant.