Dental Assistant

Dental assistants work closely under the supervision of the dentist, acting as the dentist's second pair of hands by performing routine duties that allow the dentist to focus on more complex procedures. Dental assistants perform duties related to patient care, laboratory procedures, and administrative functions. Many dentists learn through on-the-job training, gaining essential experience and knowledge by learning new dental terminology, how to use instruments, and how to properly interact with patients.

The majority of dental assistants work in dental offices, but some work in federal, state, and local governments. Dental assistants wear protective clothing to maintain a sterile environment during dental procedures. Dental assistants can work in varying schedules, working full-time, part-time, or strictly on weekend or evenings.

Key Facts About Dental Assistants:

  • In 2008, there were nearly 300,000 dental assistant jobs and the numbers will continue to grow.
  • Dental assistants can advance to office managers, dental-assisting instructors, or dental hygienists.
  • Dental assistants sterilize dental instruments, explain pre and post operative patient care, and update and maintain supplies and equipment.

The job outlook is excellent for prospective dental assistants. Job employment will increase much faster than average and is projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations over the next 10 years.

Learn More