Choosing a Career in Dental Assisting
Whether you are fresh out of high school, looking to enter the workforce, or seeking a career change, dental assisting may be an excellent option for you to consider. Dental assisting is a great field for those who are teeth obsessed and have a desire to help others.
What Does a Dental Assistant Do?
In this role, you will work closely with a dentist, orthodontist, oral surgeon, endodontist, etc., depending on what type of dentistry you pursue. Dental assistants play a critical role in the day-to-day procedures of every kind of dentistry. They are a necessity for all specialties and general dentistry.
You not only work closely with dentists but with all other team members, including front desk receptionists, hygienists, and any other staff. Additionally, dental assistants may be responsible for communicating with patients, serving as a smiling face to greet patients, bringing them into the exam rooms, and then helping them exit.
Job Duties of a Dental Assistant
Job duties will vary from clinic to clinic and depend on the type of dentistry you work in. Generally, dental assistants may be responsible for the following:
- Assisting in procedures – handing instruments to the dentist, receiving instruments, maintaining organization of instruments, suctioning, rinsing, etc.
- Greeting and preparing patients for procedures
- Taking vitals
- Applying fluoride
- Placing sealants
- Dental impressions
- Pre-procedure set up
- Post-procedure cleanup
- Sterilizing dental instruments and equipment
- Scheduling patients
- Updating records
- Follow-up phone calls post procedure
Education for Dental Assistants
Education requirements vary from state to state, but a certification is required in Minnesota. This generally involves completing training at a vocational school. Usually, this is a 9-11 month training period in which the student may receive a certificate, diploma, or associate degree upon completion.
Upon completion of training, you will need to pass the following exams to become a Certified Dental Assistant:
Additionally, dental assistants may choose to become a Licensed Dental Assistant, which involves graduating from an accredited education program with at least a certificate and passing licensing exams.
After passing your exams and completing training, you will need to continue your education. This involves:
- Maintaining CPR Certification
- CEUs: 25 credit hours for each biennial cycle
- Minimum of 15 hours – fundamental
- Maximum of 10 hours – elective
Where can I work?
You have a lot of options, which include:
- General dentistry clinic
- Oral surgery
- Dental suppliers
- Dental labs
- Educational settings
Interested in a Career in Dental Assisting?
Come shadow us! One of the best ways to learn if this field is right for you is by seeing exactly what the job entails. If you are interested in learning more, connect with us: 763.546.1301