DENTAL ASSISTANTS perform a variety of patient care, office, and laboratory duties and help dentists when they examine and treat patients. Dental assistants work at chair-side as dentists examine and treat patients. They make patients comfortable, prepare them for treatment, and obtain dental records. Dental assistants sterilize and disinfect instruments and prepare tray setups for dental procedures. They hand instruments and materials to dentists. Dental assistants with office duties schedule and confirm appointments, receive patients, and keep treatment records.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $37,000 average per year ($17.75 per hour)
- A large occupation (294,000 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow rapidly (3.6% per year)
DENTAL ASSISTANTS are trained in dental assisting programs offered by 2-year colleges, trade schools, technical institutes, and the military. High school students interested in becoming a dental assistant should take courses in biology, chemistry, health, and office practices. Some dental assistants learn their skills through programs approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association (ADA), and complete a Radiation Health and Safety examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc.(DANB).