Employment Information and Job Duties for a Dental Assistant
What is the role of a dental assistant in a healthcare dental facility? The role of a dental assistant involves executing instructions to provide clinical, laboratory and administrative support given to him/her by a dentist. A dental assistant makes sure patients are kept in comfort while preparing them for treatment. He/she also sets up instruments, get patient records and execute other tasks to make the work of a dentist run efficiently and smoothly.
As the name suggests, a dental assistant work is to assist the dentist during dental procedures and operations. He/she is responsible for assisting the dentist in performing procedures in the office and laboratory.
Do not think that a dental assistant does not execute duties of a dental hygienist which normally include cleaning teeth, flossing and general examination of patients.
In the United States, each state has different guidelines for duties in this profession. Normally, the duties of a dental assistant include preparing patients to be treated, preparing examination instruments for use by the dentist, preparing tray set ups for dental operations, sterilizing dental instruments and suctioning the mouth of patients.
Some other duties include creating casts of teeth and mouths, cleaning of appliances, preparing materials for making restorations and impressions, processing of dental x ray film and applying seals.
You can also perform clerical work such as organizing appointments and dental check ups, give patients post-operational instructions, order dental supplements and keep dental records.
Most dental offices offer on the job training for the program without prior dental education or experience. Many states don’t require that you have a formal dental education before becoming a dental assistant. But it is recommended those interested in this field to take a chemistry course at college level, biology or health course. Interested candidates can also pursue a certificate or diploma program at college level.
There are more than 281 recognized dental assistant programs you can study in the United States. These programs can be completed by a candidate within a year. Interested candidates should have a high school diploma or General Education Development. Some of these programs require candidates to have science or computer-related qualifications.
Diploma and certificate program
Education programs can have courses in dental science, dental anatomy, dental materials, and dental office management. A dental assistant trains at a dental school laboratory to get hands on experience skills in dental radiology, preventive dentistry methods and dental laboratory procedures.
To get practical experience, you enroll in a local dentist office or dental school clinic. A graduate in this profession is required to sit for the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) examination to get a practicing license
Employment opportunities and Salary
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics shows dental assistants held 297,200 jobs in the year 2010. It continues to show that most dental assistants work in dentists offices. They may work closely with dental hygienists in their daily activities. It is required in this profession you wear protective clothing such as surgical mask, safety glass and gloves during dental procedures.