A dental assistant is responsible for a variety of duties in the dental office. Organization skills and the ability to multi-task are a must. Regulations vary according to state. Some dental assistants are allowed to perform more dental procedures than others.
If you are wondering if becoming a dental assistant is right for you, here is a breakdown of some of the duties you may be responsible for on a daily basis:
Job Requirements of a Dental Assistant
- Sterilization of dental equipment and instruments using proper procedures.
- Organizing dental instruments and acting as procedure assistant to the dentist during procedures such as tooth extractions, fillings, and root canals.
- Assisting the dentist during procedures by using swabs and suction to keep the patient’s mount dry and clear from debris.
- Taking x-rays and preparing them for dentist viewing.
- Taking patient’s oral impressions.
- Applying anesthetic before dental procedures.
- Removal of patient stitches.
- Advising patients on instructions and care after procedures.
- Keeping patient records updated.
- Making temporary crowns.
- Making sure dental patients are protected from any possible infectious diseases by using masks, eyewear, protective clothing and gloves during procedures. You will also be required to protect dental patients during x-rays.
- Questioning new patents and obtaining information to create charts, files, and records
- Making sure dental patients feel comfortable and informed before, during, and after all dental procedures. Doing so requires the dental assistant to possess a caring personality with the ability to explain situations and comfort patients of all ages.
- Answering phones, scheduling dental appointments, keeping records, billing, and ordering supplies for the office as well as the dentist.
As a dental assistant, you will also be responsible to keep up with safety issues and any changes in the dental profession through your annual continuing education.
Since working in a dental office is a people oriented career, you’ll need to possess or develop good interpersonal skills. The ability to think proactively, recognizing and dealing with potential patient tension, as well as the ability to teach patients of all ages about proper home dental care are all part of your duties.
You’ll also need to be available to work full time hours, since most dental assistants are full time employees who occasionally work on Saturdays or evenings, depending on client needs or possible dental emergencies.
If the above duties sound like something that is right for your personality and capabilities, it’s time to check out your options for education. A career as a dental assistant has become one of the fastest growing fields, with excellent expectations for future growth. Solid dental assistant training is your ticket to a new and rewarding career.
The current salary of a dental assistant ranges from $23,000 to $47,000 depending on your experience. With the proper personality skills combined with quality education, you’ll be on your way to a lifetime rewarding career as a dental assistant.