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A dental assistant has many tasks in a dental office, and their duties vary by state/province and by the dentists’ offices where they work. Typically, a dental assistant will either work to support office operations, work in dental labs, or work under the supervision of a dentist who treats patients.
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Some responsibilities of a dental assistant include:
All dental assistants do tasks such as helping dentists with procedures and keeping patient records, but there are four regulated tasks that assistants may also be able to do, depending on the state where they work, including:
- removing soft deposits such as plaque, giving teeth a cleaner appearance
- painting a thin, plastic substance over teeth that seals out food particles and acid-producing bacteria to keep teeth from developing cavities
- applying fluoride directly on the teeth as another anti-cavity measure
Topical Anesthetics Application - some dental assistants may be qualified to apply topical anesthetic to an area of the patient’s mouth, temporarily numbing the area
Almost all dental assistants work in dentists' offices. Dental assistants work under the supervision of dentists and may work closely with dental hygienists in their day-to-day activities.
As a dental assistant, you have so many options to grow professionally and expand your career. The biggest challenge you’ll have is figuring out where you want to grow.
If you are seeking a rewarding career in the health industry and would like to keep your period of education reasonable, you may want to explore becoming a dental assistant. This is a great way to begin a career in the dental field, and the training to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) is relatively short (approximately 10 months long).
Michelle Schooley has always had a slight obsession with teeth, due to having teeth problems throughout her life. So when a friend raved about how much she loved being a dental assistant, that was all the motivation Michelle needed to enrol in a dental-assisting program during her senior year in high school.
Dental Assistants share their stories on how they came into the profession.
The dental assistant is the most critical link between the patient and the dentist before, during, and after treatment. The person in this position plays a principal role in the successful delivery of treatment.
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.