The Ins and Outs of the Dental Assistant Job

Whether you are a student just graduating high school or an adult seeking a new career path, you might be interested in entering the medical field. Besides the staples of doctor, nurse, and dentist, there is actually a broad range of opportunities available that require less schooling but are just as important for the care of patients. The American Dental Association highly recommends that more individuals consider becoming dental assistants, the significant professionals who help in the care of patients and the treatment of oral problems among infants, children, adults, and the elderly alike.

Dental Assistant Job Description

Someone who has not visited a dentist in a while might ask the question: “What do dental assistants do?”

The duties and responsibilities of a dental assistant are complex and can vary based on where they are employed and who they work for. Within an office, an assistant could be expected to do any of the following interpersonal or technical tasks:

  • Assist the dentist during cleanings and surgical procedures
  • Taking and developing x-rays of patients for future treatments
  • Taking a patient’s medical history, pulse, and blood pressure
  • Helping direct and explain care to patients
  • Teaching patients the proper way to care for their teeth, including the right brushing and flossing techniques
  • Taking impressions or ‘models’ of teeth to create implants and dentures
  • Managing office work and creating infection control policies
  • Communicating with patients and suppliers who contact the office for information

Other duties and responsibilities may be different depending on the state where you want to become licensed. Sometimes you might want to move to another location and will need to be re-licensed to suit your new home’s standards. Despite this, there are numerous advantages to becoming a dental assistant.

They are in constant demand as the population increases, and more and more people need to receive proper treatment. The position is also flexible and allows practitioners to develop not only their medical skills, but also interpersonal ones since there is a reasonable amount of socialization and creating relationships between the office and patients. You will also learn how to handle insurance, which is another skill that is in constant demand.

Potential Salary

Dental assistants make a respectable amount, although the total will vary between states and just where you wind up employed. In a city like Indianapolis, an assistant can make between $25,000 and $48,000 a year. In a state like Georgia, the amount increases slightly to $28,000 or $50,000 because there is a much higher demand in the southern states. The field is projected to grow by another 18% over the next ten years, meaning more and more people are going to be needed.

Educational Requirements

At present, there are no formal requirements to become a dental assistant. However, having some form of postsecondary education from a specialized program can increase one’s chances of being hired. The best dental schools are ones that prepare hopefuls for state licensure and certification exams that need to be passed to become a full dental assistant. These programs can be found throughout the United States but are especially common at community colleges and other institutions designed to more easily meet the needs of the people.

There are a couple of technical and admin skills that the average individual will need to develop to become a dental assistant. These skills can be picked up while undergoing training a secondary program. Technical skills often require practical experience, so the best programs will often allow students to work in a practice office or meet with real professionals to learn the ins and outs of equipment.

Where to Receive an Education

For individuals seeking a great dental assistant school in Alpharetta, Georgia, there are a couple of opportunities. One of the best and most reliable schools for this type of program is the AS4U Career Center, which gives students the opportunity to not only learn the ins and outs of the profession, but to also get the chance to work with qualified dentists to sharpen their skills and get practical experience. Sign up today for dental assistant classes near you.


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