What Dental Assistants do:


The Dental Assistant professional is a key member of the dental health care team. If you have great interpersonal skills, are detailed oriented, love to help people and want the responsibility and rewards of a professional career dental assisting is for you.

Dental Assistants typically do the following:

  • Ensure that patients are comfortable in the dental chair
  • Prepare patients and the work area for treatments and procedures
  • Sterilize dental instruments
  • Hand instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Dry patients’ mouths using suction hoses and other equipment
  • Instruct patients in proper oral hygiene
  • Process x rays and complete lab tasks, under the direction of a dentist
  • Keep records of dental treatments
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Work with patients on billing and payment

Work Environment:

  • Dental assistants work under the supervision of dentists and work closely with dental hygienists in their day to day activities.
  • They work in well lighted clean environments.
  • Almost all dental assistants work in private dental offices.
  • A small amount work in dental schools, hospitals, public health department or clinics.

Salary Information:

  • The median annual wage for dental assistants was $36,940 in May 2016. *
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  • The lowest 10% earned less than $25,460 and the highest 10% earned more than $52,000. *
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  • Employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 10% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. On going research linking oral heath to general health will continue to increase the demand for preventative dental services. *
  • * Information is based on the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the US Department of Labor. Individual Student earnings may vary.

 

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