Skip to content

The Three Things You Need to Know About Becoming a Dental Assistant

Dental Assistants must have extensive skills and attention to detail in order to excel in the Dental Industry. They work in private dental offices, group practices, hospitals, insurance companies, armed services, and educational institutions. It’s an excellent career choice for plenty of reasons. Dental Assistants are important members of the Dental team because of the support they provide for both dentists and the administrative staff.

What are classes like?

Dental Assistant programs are usually offered at a community college, vocational or technical school. They often take one to two years to complete depending on whether the student is pursuing their Associates Degree, Vocational Diploma or Certificate. The class provides hands-on learning within the school’s classroom, lab, or in a clinical setting.

What you’ll learn in class

The students will learn more about the anatomy of the teeth, and other areas of the mouth. They will also learn about the cleaning and sterilization of the instruments using an autoclave, infection control, coronal polishing, sealants, alginate impressions, and dental x-rays under the instructor’s supervision. The students practice on each other every day. Learning in this hands-on environment will help them to experience what It’s like on the job as a Dental Assistant. They are also welcome to invite family and friends to practice on.

Subjects taught in the program usually include:

  • Oral Anatomy
  • Dental office administration
  • Dental radiography
  • Dental materials
  • Dental pharmacology
  • Dental Emergencies

What you do on the job

A duty of a Dental Assistant varies depending on your State and the practice you work for. However, no matter where you are, you’ll be doing administrative work and patient preparation. Their main goal is to assist the Dentist while working and to make the patient feel as comfortable as possible during procedures. Dental Assistants educate patients about oral hygiene and how to take care of their teeth. The common roles of a Dental Assistant include:

  • Maintaining patient records
  • Preparing patients for procedures
  • Assisting dentists during procedures
  • Sterilizing dental instruments
  • Scheduling patient appointments
  • Instructing patients on dental health and hygiene
  • Completing basic lab tasks
  • Ensuring patients feel comfortable in the dental chair

Dental assistants who choose to take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination become nationally certified by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). They can also apply to take the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) in the state of California. Dental Assisting is a fulfilling career with opportunities for higher pay and flexibility. This job opens many doors to other opportunities in the Dental Industry.