Dental Assistants

Health Science > Therapeutic Services

Projected Growth: Much faster than average

44800+
Projected Job Openings

Medium Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to Assist dentist, set up equipment, prepare patient for treatment, and keep records.

Common job titles of Dental Assistants include:
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Experience and Education

Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

  • 62.54% said they needed a Post-Secondary Certificate.

  • 11.99% said they needed a Associate's Degree.

Tasks & Responsibilities

Essential Tasks

    Prepare patient, sterilize or disinfect instruments, set up instrument trays, prepare materials, or assist dentist during dental procedures.

    Fabricate temporary restorations or custom impressions from preliminary impressions.

    Apply protective coating of fluoride to teeth.

    Clean teeth, using dental instruments.

    Assist dentist in management of medical or dental emergencies.

    Record treatment information in patient records.

    Take and record medical and dental histories and vital signs of patients.

    Provide postoperative instructions prescribed by dentist.

    Expose dental diagnostic x-rays.

    Pour, trim, and polish study casts.

    Clean and polish removable appliances.

    Order and monitor dental supplies and equipment inventory.

    Instruct patients in oral hygiene and plaque control programs.

    Schedule appointments, prepare bills and receive payment for dental services, complete insurance forms, and maintain records, manually or using computer.


Regular Tasks

    Make preliminary impressions for study casts and occlusal registrations for mounting study casts.

    Fabricate and fit orthodontic appliances and materials for patients, such as retainers, wires, or bands.


Occasional Tasks

What Tools and Technologies do Dental Assistants use?

Tools

X ray machine cones

Vacuum formers

Universal curettes

Ultrasonic sterilization units

Torqueing pliers

Tongue forceps

Thyroid collars

All Tools

Thermal disinfectors

Straight utility pliers

Sterilizers

Steam sterilizers

Steam cleaning equipment

Splinter forceps

Slow-speed dental handpieces

Single-ended periodontal probes

Saliva ejectors

Rubber dams

Rubber dam punches

Rubber dam clamp forceps

Rotary handpieces

Root elevators

Radiation dosimeters

Pulse oximeters

Pulp testers

Protective shielding equipment

Prophylaxis angles

Power vacuum mixers

Posterior matrices

Personal computers

Panoramic x ray equipment

Oxygen tanks

Orthodontic separators

Orthodontic pliers

Orthodontic brackets

Orthodontic band slitters

Orthodontic band pushers

Offset utility pliers

Needles

Needle holders

Molar clamps

Model trimmers

Matrix bands

Manual blood pressure cuffs

Light curing units

Lead aprons

Intraoral x ray equipment

Intraoral detailing pliers

Instrument sharpening devices

Impression trays

High-velocity evacuators

High-speed handpieces

High-intensity lights

Hemostatic forceps

Headgear

Gracey curettes

Gingival retraction cords

Filling instruments

Extracting forceps

Evacuator systems

Electrosurgery units

Electronic calculus detectors

Electronic blood pressure devices

Electric surgical handpieces

Electric general dentistry handpieces

Electric endodontic handpieces

Double-ended probes

Denture, acrylic and porcelain polishing kits

Denture model presses

Dental x ray machines

Dental x ray film processors

Dental wedges

Dental tweezers

Dental spatulas

Dental scalers

Dental retainers

Dental pliers

Dental laser systems

Dental handpieces

Dental furniture units

Dental explorers

Dental cutting instruments

Dental crimping pliers

Dental chairs

Crown scissors

Cotton forceps

Contouring orthodontic pliers

Computerized pressure/vacuum casting systems

Collar scissors

Chemiclaves

Cartridge syringes

Caries detection aids

Burs

Bitewing film holders

Bite blocks

Bench lathes

Band seating pliers

Autoclaves

Aspirating syringes

Articulators

Apex locators

Amalgamators

Amalgam carriers

Air/water syringes

Air compressors

Air abrasion units

Technologies

Henry Schein Dentrix

Intuit Quicken

Kodak Dental Systems Kodak SOFTDENT Practice management software PMS

Patterson Dental Supply Patterson EagleSoft

The Systems Workplace TDOCS

What Skills Do Dental Assistants Need to Have?

Skills

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Speaking

Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Service Orientation

Actively looking for ways to help people.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Monitoring

Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Abilities

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Everything Dental Assistants Should Know…

Knowledge

Medicine and Dentistry

Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

English Language

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Education and Training

Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Psychology

Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

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