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The Role of a Dental Assistant

The healthcare field offers a number of different types of healthcare to people. Dental care is an important part of the field, that continues to grow at an increasingly fast rate. As the workloads of dentists continue to increase, the job of dental assistants are not only becoming more important, but also causing them to be in high demand. A dental assistant performs a number of jobs in dental offices and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental assistants will be one of the fastest growing occupations in the next several years.

Dental assistants perform a number of jobs in the offices in which they work. They handle patient care, laboratory duties, and may also take care of administrative and clerical duties in the office. They are responsible for preparing clients and the rooms in which the patients will be seen in by the dentist. They sanitize and set up instruments and equipment that the dentist will be using, as well as take x-rays, updating patient records, and help dentists through procedures and routine check-ups. They also inform patients on how to care for their mouth and teeth after procedures and hand and clean instruments to the dentist while they work on patients.

Dental assistants work closely with and under the supervision of dentists. They may also be responsible for making casts and impressions of teeth, mixing and creating crowns and fillings, and performing administrative duties. Such duties may include scheduling patients, answering phones, handling insurance procedures and claims, ordering and maintaining office and dental supplies, and billing. In addition, dental assistants should be reliable and have good manual dexterity, as they often serve as another set of hands for a dentist. Many states have limitations on types of duties a dental assistant is allowed to perform.

Although some dental practices offer on the job training, ideal dental assistant candidates should have a training certification, dentist assistant program certification, or previous work experience. Many programs that prepare dental assistants meet the requirements of several employers and take about a year or less to complete. However, there are no state requirements on being licensed to practice as a dental assistant, it is left solely up to the employer on what type of training and experience they see necessary for their employees.

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