Successful Dentists have Successful Dental Assistants

Dental Assistants are the Secret Sauce for Dentists

dental assistant

It is expected that through the year 2012, the demand for dental assistant jobs will significantly increase. As a dental assistant, the job can be quite challenging but equally rewarding. Being a part of a dental health care team requires technical knowledge but it would also require one to be in close contact with patients. This is definitely perfect for those with good people skills and whose passion is to put their hands and minds to work.

A dental assistant basically works chair side. He practically serves as the extra pair of hands of the dentist. A dental assistant plays an important role in preparing the patients before a particular procedure. This involves asking them about their medical history and making them feel more comfortable.

Furthermore, dental assistants sterilize and disinfect medical instruments and equipments, prepare instrument trays and hand instruments to the dentist during procedures. It is also part of his job to take dental x-rays and process the film, apply anesthetics, ready materials for impressions and restorations and give patients advice on how to take care of their dental health.

A dental assistant is entirely different from a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists are actually licensed to do certain clinical tasks unlike a dental assistant. A dental assistant with his own lab can also perform tasks such as making casts from impressions, making sure removable appliances are cleaned and polished and making temporary crowns.

Some of the other tasks of a dental assistant include some office duties like confirming appointments, billing tasks, ordering dental supplies, and welcoming patients and making sure that their records are always updated.

The employment opportunity for dental assistants today is remarkably high. The jobs they usually perform are in the dentist’s office. In fact, in 2002 a total number of 266,000 dental assistants were able to work in dental offices. Some of the dental practice options are specialty practices which include oral and maxiofacial surgery, orthodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, and pediatric dentistry.

But the job opportunity isn’t just exclusive inside the dentist’s office. Dental assistant jobs are also in demand in public health settings such as schools and clinics. Some hospitals may even have dental clinics that provide dental care for bedridden patients. Aspiring dental assistants can also land a job in dental school clinics wherein they will assist future dentists while learning dental procedures.

Usually, a dental assistant works for about 35 to 40 hours a week and may even include Saturdays or evenings. He could also apply for part-time or full-time positions. Moreover, a dental assistant can also find jobs with insurance companies and could also work as product sales representatives.

Opportunities definitely abound for those who want to start a career as dental assistants. In fact, it is currently one of the fastest growing occupations due to the fact that many assistants are retiring or changing jobs. One proof is the job postings at Daily Herald where in you could find 26 recent listings looking for dental assistants.

One of the factors that drive people to work as medical assistants is that they want to help middle-aged and older people retain their natural teeth longer. But in order to start a career as a dental assistant, it is important to have proper training or education. They can get on the job training but it would be wise that they study first and gain sufficient experience.

Dental assistant schools are offering training for dental assistant skills, dental hygiene, dental materials and others. They would also require you to gain practical experience in dental clinics, dental schools and dental offices.

A dental assistant certificate can be earned in one or two years after studying at various programs being offered in colleges, universities, vocational and dental schools. But you have to make sure that the school you chose is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.