In 2022, you decided to turn your passion for dentistry into an actual career! Congratulations! Pursuing dental assistant training could prepare you for a rewarding career in the dental industry. Although you're excited to embark on this new path, you're most likely curious as to what work a dental assistant does and what dental assistant duties include. Good! Before you enroll in dental assistant school, it’s important to do your research.
Dental assistants play a vital role in a dental office. Through various dental assistant duties and excellent patient care, they offer something we all can appreciate—a clean smile! Are you ready to learn about dental assistant roles and responsibilities? Continue reading to discover dental assistant duties and how you could enter this exciting career in 2022!
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Before we discuss dental assistant duties, it’s critical to understand dental assistant roles in a dental practice. From the moment they clock in, dental assistants operate as the right hand of the dentist or dental hygienist. Whether they are setting up the treatment room or performing x-rays, the focus of the dental assistant is to help their team in providing exceptional oral care1.
Dental assistants also get to operate as patient advocates by answering questions on dental hygiene or insurance, setting up appointments, or simply leading them to the exam room. By operating in this supportive role, dental assistants help ensure quality dental care and that the patient leaves with a smile!
Dental Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
So what are the responsibilities of a dental assistant? A dental assistant is responsible for many dental assistant jobs, including:
- Ensuring that patients are comfortable in the dental chair
- Preparing patients and exam room are ready for dental procedures
- Cleaning dental instruments
- Handing instruments to the dentist
- Drying patients’ mouths using suction hoses and other equipment
- Teaching patients proper oral hygiene
- Processing x-rays and completing lab tasks, under the direction of a dentist
- Maintaining patient dental records
- Recording patient medical history
- Scheduling patients for dental treatment1!
Duties of a dental assistant could also include obtaining impressions of the patient’s teeth, taking blood pressure before dental procedures, or working with patients on billing and payment.(1) By completing dental assistant duties, dental assistants could also help increase productivity in dental offices and encourage patients in need2.
Work Environment and Job Outlook
Most dental assistants are typically found performing dental assistant duties in dental offices, with only a few working in the government sector or physician's offices3. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of dental assistants in these environments is projected to grow by 11% from 2020 to 20303. These statistics are due to ongoing research connecting oral health to overall health.
With this in mind, researchers predict more and more people seeking to live healthier lives, will pursue preventive dental care2. This could lead to an increase in dental assistant jobs and the opportunity to step into this fulfilling role2.
Dental Assistant Qualifications
Now that you have learned about dental assistant duties, work environment, and job outlook, you may be asking, “What do you need to be a dental assistant?” Every state is different and may require different qualifications for aspiring dental assistants. Nevertheless, the first step on this new career path is dental assistant school.
By enrolling in a dental assistant training program, you could gain technical skills and hone other skill sets like attention to detail, communication skills, dexterity, and organizational skills4. Once students begin dental assistant training, programs typically take about a year or less to complete.
Those who successfully graduate from an accredited dental assistant school could receive a diploma and pass the exam to become certified through the Dental Board of California4. Students who graduate from a dental assistant school could have the skills and experience needed to go far in this career!
Are you ready to pursue formal education and learn dental assistant duties? Through National Career College, you could learn what a dental assistant is responsible for and build a strong foundation for your dental career. The Dental Assistant Program at National Career College provides a higher education experience and the necessary technical skills to succeed in this career.
At NCC, we teach our students dental assistant duties and provide them with the tools they need to excel on the job. After completing their dental assistant training in as little as 9 months, students will be eligible to sit for the Registered Dental Assistant examination, RDA (CA DCA, Dental Board of California).
So what are you waiting for? Are you ready to turn your love for dentistry into a career you could be proud of? Contact National Career College today and see how this career could be right for you!