Dental Assistant

What Does a Dental Assistant Do?

Dental assistants greatly increase the efficiency of the dentist in the delivery of quality oral health care and are valuable members of the dental care team. If you have strong communication skills, enjoy working with your hands as well as your mind, and want a career with responsibility, dental assisting may be for you.

The dental assistant performs many tasks requiring both interpersonal and technical skills such as:

  • Assisting the dentist with a variety of treatment procedures — working with dental instruments and materials
  • Helping patients feel comfortable before, during, and after dental treatment
  • Taking and processing x-rays
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment
  • Communicating with patients, other health professionals, dental suppliers, business contacts, and insurers
  • Performing a variety of office management tasks

Dental Assistants work in dental offices, dental schools, private and government hospitals and clinics, and state and local public health departments.

Requirements

  • College-level education is encouraged, but careers can begin without college-level courses through on-the-job-training in a dental office work-study program
  • Complete an accredited dental assisting education program
  • For national certification take the Dental Assisting National Board’s (DANB) Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination

See Also

Find an accredited dental assistant program at a local trade school

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