Life After Dental Assistant Training

30 JAN 2013
Career Path : Dental Care

Looking into a career as a dental assistant and wondering what people with diplomas from dental assistant schools can expect on the job market?

A Day in the Life of a Dental Assistant

Dental assistant training prepares students to perform a variety of tasks, such as:

  • setting up treatment rooms for the day’s procedures
  • greeting patients
  • reviewing dental histories
  • taking X-rays
  • taking impressions of patients’ teeth
  • making temporary crowns
  • preparing fillings
  • passing and retrieving instruments (mouth mirror, etc.)
  • providing chairside support as anesthesia is administered
  • suctioning patients’ mouths
  • entering information on the patients’ charts
  • counseling patients on preventative dental care and nutrition
  • scheduling appointments
  • sterilizing equipment
  • disinfecting treatment rooms
  • attending meetings to review upcoming cases

Perhaps the most important task taught in dental assistant training? Making sure that the patient is comfortable at all times. Dental assistants help patients relax.

Specialties

Dental assistant training can prepare graduates to assist a variety of specialists, including:

  • pediatric dentists
  • oral surgeons
  • orthodontists

Dental assistants can choose to work in small clinics or large bustling offices. Job satisfaction often depends on the rapport with the employer and other staff members.

Protective Gear of a Dental Assistant

Dental assistant schools teach students about the personal protective equipment the job requires, including:

  • goggles
  • disposable gloves
  • face shields
  • regular-wear scrubs
  • disposable scrubs

Dental assistant training also includes a review of the importance of hand washing.

Other Tools of a Dental Assistant

Dental assistant training exposes students to other tools that they will use, namely:

  • air/water syringes
  • saliva ejectors
  • high volume evacuators

Traits of a Dental Assistant

To succeed, dental assistants must:

  • like working with people
  • enjoy multitasking

They should also possess:

  • typing skills
  • a strong work ethic (dentists depend on dental assistants to make sure that their clinics run smoothly)
  • an understanding of various dental procedures
  • an understanding of some dental terminology
  • familiarity with the tools used in dentistry
  • an understanding of head and neck anatomy
  • knowledge of CPR / First Aid

Benefits of the Job

  • relatively easy to find work – demand for dental assistants is expected to increase by 36 percent by 2018 compared with 2008 according to some statistics
  • the good feeling that comes from helping others
  • the pleasure of interacting with new people
  • the pleasure of building relationships over time

Challenges of the Job

  • depending on the clinic, the hours can be long
  • dental assistants can spend a lot of time on their feet

Sounds Interesting?

Call the dental assistant schools in your area for information on dental assistant training today.