Careers in Dental Health: What Does a Dental Assistant Do?

posted by Chris Valentine

Working in the medical field can be exciting, rewarding, and lucrative. Working oral health, in particular, can be all of these things and more. It can be hard, however, to determine where to land in this field.

One career path you might want to look into is that of a dental assistant. Dental assistants increase the efficiency of dental care and form one-on-one relationships with patients that are unlike any others.

What does a dental assistant do, exactly? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.

Duties of a Dental Assistant

So what does a dental assistant do? The duties of an assistant are often among the most comprehensive and varied in any traditional dental office. Regulations may vary from state to state, but in most places, an assistant will take on many tasks.

One of the primary roles an assistant will take on is assisting a dentist during treatment procedures. They will be the ones to initially meet a patient, look over their teeth, take X-Rays, and performing cleanings.

They are also often the first line of defense for a patient and will be the one to educate and advise them on proper dental health and oral procedures. Proper brushing, flossing, and cleaning procedures will all be taught to a patient via the dental assistant, not the dentist.

In many cases, there is a level of office management and organization that most dental assistants also take on. They stay on top of communicating with most patients and medical providers. This means they often put in orders, schedule appointments, and set up surgeries.

Skills and Education Required

What do you need to know if you’re interested in becoming a dental assistant? There are many skills and strengths an aspiring assistant needs to have.

One should have an interest in medicine and science, and a basic understanding of the human body. Strong communication skills will be a must based on how much contact assistants have with patients, providers, and other medical staff.

Concern and empathy for others, as well as a desire to always be learning, are two other traits that will be helpful for any aspiring assistant to have.

Most states will require dental assistants to become certified or registered through an official process. You can look into the State Board of Dental Examiners in your location to determine what the requirements for work might be within the state that you reside.

Often, an aspiring assistant will need to go through a long on-the-job training process before they can become officially certified. While this can be a long and difficult process, the rewards of the position can be great and well-worth all the effort.

What Does a Dental Assistant Do?

What does a dental assistant do? If you had questions about this important position, the above information should provide everything that you need to know.

Need more career advice or information? Keep scrolling our blog for much more.

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