Are you considering becoming a dental assistant?
If your answer is yes, you should also know that becoming a dental assistant can be rewarding.
Dental assistants are very important as they help dentists in making their practice successful. They do important tasks around the clinic or hospital to support the dentist.
Let’s take a closer look at what the various roles and responsibilities of a Dental Assistant are and how you can enter the world of dentistry.
What Is A Dental Assistant?
When you go to the dentist, you might see someone else there helping the dentist.
This important person is called the dental assistant. Dental assistants are essential for the dentist’s clinic to function smoothly.
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They help the dentist and make sure patients feel comfortable and taken care of.
Roles and Responsibilities
A dental assistant handles many important tasks at the dentist’s clinic. They take care of the proper hygiene of the equipment, get patients ready for treatments, and keep records up-to-date.
Some of their jobs include:
- Helping the dentist during treatments.
- Escorting or taking patients to the treatment rooms.
- Collecting payments from patients.
- Making appointments for patients.
- Cleaning dental tools and equipment.
- Taking x-rays and making impressions of teeth.
- Updating patient records.
Skills Required to Become a Dental Assistant
If you want to become a dental assistant, you might be thinking, “What skills do I need to become one?” Since the tasks are quite diverse, you’ll need different skills.
Let us further discuss what skills are required to become a Dental Assistant.
1. Technical Skills
A major part of a dental assistant’s job is to assist dentists during the procedures. Dental assistants work closely with dentists to help with tasks like fillings, and other procedures.
Some technical skills that can be helpful include:
- Knowing about advanced dental procedures so they can plan ahead for the treatment.
- Being able to take X-rays, check blood pressure, and make dental impressions.
- Knowledge about dental materials and how to take care of the equipment.
People skills are very important for a dental assistant. When patients come to the dentist, the dental assistant is usually the first person they meet. So, it’s essential to be friendly and kind.
Some things a dental assistant does are:
- Helping patients get ready for their check-ups, surgery, or treatments.
- Asking about their medical history.
- Listening carefully to what patients say.
- Making sure patients feel comfortable before, during, and after treatment.
Administrative skills are needed in many jobs, including this one. Besides knowing how to use computers and being good with people, you’ll also have to do different administrative tasks daily.
The tasks can be different depending on the office, but they may include:
- Managing the office tasks
- Talking to patients to schedule appointments, making reminder calls, and helping with billing.
- Keeping track of supplies and ordering the same when necessary.
What Education is Required to Become a Dental Assistant
If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a dental assistant, here are the typical steps to follow:
Education: While there are no specific educational requirements to become a Dental Assistant. You can generally take classes through a school or technical program where you will develop the technical skills for the job.
Dental Assisting programs can take between one and two years to complete, depending on whether the desired outcome is a certificate, diploma, or associate degree.
Training: Sometimes, you can learn on the job from experienced dentists or other dental assistants. This helps you get used to how things work in the dental office.
Certification: Once you finish the training program, there’s a test from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) called the NELDA certification exam.
This test has three parts: Infection Control Exam(ICE), Radiation Health and Safety(RHS), and Anatomy, Morphology, and Physiology(AMP).
You can choose to take these exams all at once or one by one. After passing this exam, you become a National Entry Level Dental Assistant.
Additionally, there’s another certification from DANB called Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). This certification also has three parts: Infection Control, Radiation Health and Safety, and General Chairside Assisting.
Just like before, you can take all three exams together or separately. Passing these exams will make you stand out as a Certified Dental Assistant and get recognized for your skills.
State License: In some places, you might need a license to work as a dental assistant. Check your state’s rules.
Dental Assistant Salary
According to BLS, the average salary for a Dental Assistant is $38,660 per year, or
$18.59 per hour. However, Dental Assistant Salary can vary, depending on factors such as experience and job location.
Are you ready to take the next step in your dental career?
So, are you ready to explore dentistry? If yes, then go ahead and get the right education and training and work hard, to become a successful dental assistant. It’s a rewarding job where you can help lots of people.
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