Dental Assistants work side-by-side with dentists, and they also have a variety of administrative duties in a dental office. They are sometimes responsible for scheduling appointments, keeping records and taking X-rays of patients' mouths. Dental Assistants are also responsible for sterilizing dental equipment and making sure that patients are comfortable. Dental Assistants prepare patients for dental procedures and are usually in charge of performing work like coronal polishing, sealant application, fluoride application and topical anesthetics application. Assistants must be detail-oriented and exhibit good communication skills because they will be working directly with the public. Similar positions include Dental Hygienist Jobs.
Dental Assistant Education Requirements
One may become a Dental Assistant after completing a technical training program, which is usually offered at community college. Some programs last one year, and others may last two. Such programs include hands-on training with dentists to help prepare students for the workforce. However, one does not necessarily have to complete a formal training program to become a Dental Assistant. In some cases, one may simply have a high school diploma and learn required duties through on-the-job training. Some regions require Dental Assistants to pass exams to complete certain tasks, like coronal polishing.
Dental Assistant Job Market
The job outlook for this field is especially promising because the demand for Dental Assistants is expected to increase by 25 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than the average increase for all occupations. The increasing demand for Dental Assistants can be attributed to ongoing research that links dental health to overall general health.
Dental Assistant Salary
The median annual wage for Dental Assistants is $35,080. Dental Assistants in the highest-earning percentile make as much as $47,580 annually, and they typically work for insurance carriers, specialty hospitals, federal executive branches, facility support services and state government agencies. Most Dental Assistants are employed by dentists' offices, outpatient care centers, physicians' offices and other health care services.