Career Profile: Dental Assistants

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Job Description:

Dental assistants play an integral role in delivering quality dental care to the patients. The presence of dental assistants can significantly boost the service efficiency of dental clinics, and allow dentists to take on more important functions.

Responsibilities of dental assistants are greatly varied. They can be assigned to perform a wide range of duties including administrative, clinical, and laboratory tasks. Some of the routine tasks delegated to dental assistants include the following:

  • gather vital information from patients regarding dental history, purpose of visit, and past treatments
  • prepare and set up the equipments needed for the dental procedure
  • assist patient before, during, and after the procedure
  • file, sort, and keep patients' records
  • answer phone calls, and schedule dental appointments
  • follow-up laboratory results
  • educate patients about proper oral hygiene
  • keep track of dental supplies and communicate with suppliers
  • take impressions of patient's teeth for study cast
  • handle payments and insurance claims

Overall, dental assistants work under the close supervision of dentists. They cannot perform any types of dental procedures unlike the dental hygienist.

Work Environment:

Most dental assistants work at a well-lighted, air-conditioned, clean, and relaxing dental clinic. They are required to wear gloves, mask, eyewear, and other protective covering during dental procedures. They usually stand beside the dentists so they can easily hand over the needed instruments. Full-time dental assistants work 40 hours and 5 days a week. Meanwhile, part-time dental assistants typically work in the evening or during weekends.

Education and Training Requirements:

There is no set requirement or standard training needed to be able to work as an entry-level dental assistant. However, aspiring dental assistants are still encouraged to take formal training and education from credible community colleges or vocational schools. Short courses on dental assisting usually last for 4 to 6 months, while certificate programs usually take nine to eleven months to complete. Most dental assistants undergo on-the-job trainings to effectively hone their skills.

Salary Range:

Dental assistants can earn roughly around $26,980 - $38,960 annually. Those who have acquired certifications, and have higher educational degrees can earn up to $46,150 yearly. Most dental assistants enjoy functional benefits in the form of paid vacations, retirement plans, and medical insurance.

Job Outlook:

The employment rate of dental assistants is expected to increase by 36 percent until 2018. Moreover, job prospects are very promising especially to those who have gained relevant experiences. Plenty of lucrative career opportunities will become available for both entry-level and experienced dental assistants.

Begin a rewarding career as a dental assistant as early as NOW by checking out our extensive list of dental assisting schools!

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