Dental Assistants: All you need to know about them


Dental assistants make life at the dentist’s office smoother, easier and more effective. They take on many tasks that help make oral treatment easier. Even then. Very few people understand what they do. As far as most are concerned, the dentist gets all the work done. However, that cannot be further from the truth. So many core activities in a lab clinic or a dentist’s office cannot proceed without the help of a dental assistant.

The most important thing to note about dental assistants is that they are well equipped and trained to be in that space. This means that they are more than capable of handling the duties and tasks assigned to them, including patient care, office duties, and laboratory tasks.

Things you know before you become a dental assistant

Becoming a dental assistant is not something you just wake up and decide to do. There are several things that you must factor in, including how you will get enrolled in a dental assistant school. Other than that, here are a couple of things you must know beforehand:

Get an education

You have to be certified at a legit dental school to qualify for duty as a dental assistant. For some states, there are no formal education requirements that you must meet before you become an assistant. You can learn on the job while working under a dentist. However, it is core to have an education that gives you the knowledge you need about this field of medicine. You can study for a certificate or diploma in a community college or a dental assistant school near you.


There are a lot of responsibilities you have to take up as a dental assistant. This post requires tenacity to withstand the long working hours that might stretch to the weekends. Other skills include:

  • Keenness to details
  • Organizing skills
  • The precision with your hands
  • Recordkeeping, filing, and compilation skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Customer service and relations, among others

Before writing your resume, you may want to look into dental assistant resume tips to find out which skillsets will make you more attractive for the job offer.

Roles and duties

After enrolling in school for training on becoming a dental assistant, you will fairly aware of the tasks you will take up in the workplace. However, the duties vary from one state to another. Most of the tasks you will handle will be learned on the job. Besides, it matters where you will be positioned, and which dentist you will be working under. Among the many functions of a dental assistant, some of the core ones include:

  • Helping with treatment procedures – this will be under directives from your supervising dentist
  • Dental x-rays – taking and developing them
  • Infection control officer – for all the patients that come in, you are charged with helping control the infections on their wounds. This means sterilizing instruments and equipment for treatment, offering aftercare tips and guidelines, to mention a few.
  • Keeping the patients comfortable – before and after treatment, patients can be very uncomfortable. A dental assistant is tasked with easing them into the process.
  • Oral hygiene – teaching, guiding and advising patients on oral hygiene practices. This includes teaching them how to floss and brush their teeth.
  • Customer service – dental assistants are in charge of follow-up with patients, especially for appointments and treatments.
  • Record keeping – to keep track of patients coming in and out, and following through with their progress.

Granted, there is a lot for a dental assistant to do when in practice.

Work opportunities for dental assistants

Every dentist needs one or more dental assistants to get the job done. This means that there is a high demand for dental assistants in the market. The opportunities are numerous, considering the high number of dentists globally, not to mention, the improving value of oral health in society. The fortunate thing is that you can work for:

  • Solo dental practices where you work under one dentist
  • A group of dental practices where there are more than two dentists
  • Schools and government institutions to work on prevention of dental problems in society
  • Specialty practices like pediatric dentistry, endodontics, periodontics, orthodontics, and dentofacial orthopedics, among others.

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