You're a Good Fit: Dental Assisting

  • 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 is for you.

    What does a Dental Assistant do?
    The duties of a dental assistant are among the most comprehensive and varied in the dental office. The dental assistant performs many tasks requiring both interpersonal and technical skills, including:

    • Assisting the dentist during a variety of treatment procedures.
    • Exposing and developing dental radiographs (X-rays).
    • Updating the patient’s medical history and taking blood pressure and pulse.
    • Serving as an infection control officer, developing infection control protocol and preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment.
    • Helping patients feel comfortable before, during and after dental treatment.
    • Providing patients with instructions for oral care following surgery or other dental treatment procedures, such as the placement of a restoration (filling).
    • Teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health;
      (e.g., toothbrushing, flossing and nutritional counseling).
    • Taking impressions of patients’ teeth for study casts (models of teeth).
    • Performing office management tasks that often require the use of a personal computer.
    • Communicating with patients and suppliers (scheduling appointments, answering the telephone, billing, and ordering supplies).
    • Helping to provide patient care in all dental specialties, including orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and oral surgery.

    Here’s what it takes to become a successful dental assistant:

    • Good communications skills (able to read, write and speak effectively; understand and follow written instructions; dental assisting requires a great deal of documentation and verbal interaction with people).
    • Is a detail-oriented person.
    • The ability to work under stress.
    • Should be a person of character, honesty and integrity.
    • Has the ability to work cooperatively as part of a team.
    • Believes that people are worthy of respect and dignity.
    • Dedicated and caring professional.