Dental Assistant Career Profile
By Cixx Admin Date Posted.. 2009-07-06 19:10:36
Views (4518)

Dental Assistant


Description:  Dental Assistants perform a number of duties in the dental office including patient care, lab tests, and office duties.  What they do not do are the procedures that dental hygienists perform.   It’s required that you be well-educated, reliable, and good with your hands to excel as an assistant.  You are required to be registered and licensed as a dental assistant. 

Some assistants are more specialized than others, and when you’re performing radiological procedures you’ll need to take an exam with the Radiation Health and Safety Bureau.  It’s not uncommon for dental assistants to go back to school to become dental hygienists, because the position of assistant has little chance for upward mobility in the office.  It’s expected that this field will grow steadily.  In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that the dental assistant position is the 3rd fastest growing, non-degree position in the nation.

A typical day in the life of a dental assistant involves getting patients comfortable and situated in the dental chair, obtaining their records, and prepping them for the dentist.  Once the dentist arrives, the assistant hands the doctor any tools he/she may need, as well as operating suction devices.  Sterilizing and disinfecting the equipment and various instruments is required, as well as prepping material for impressions, processing x-rays, and making casts from impressions.

Possible office duties include scheduling appointments and answering phones, greeting and receiving patients, filing records, and handling billing and payments for the patients.

Statistics:  In 2006, there were approximately 280,000 jobs for Dental Assistants, with the majority of these working in dental offices across the country.  About 30% of these Dental Assistants worked part-time and for multiple dental offices in their area.

Training:  There are some dental assisting programs, but for the most part this is an on-the-job training position.  Junior colleges and local trade schools will provide schooling in this field, and this will perhaps increase your chances of finding a position in your area. 

Salary:  In 2007, the average wage for dental assistants was $13.62 per hour, with an average annual income of $31,550. 


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