Dental Assistant Job Description
What Do Dental Assistants Do?
Dental assisting is an increasingly popular career option, but what do dental assistants actually do? Each day may be varied as a dental assistant, but most of the time you would be performing some or all of the following tasks:
- Prepare patients for treatments
- Prepare instruments and hand them to the dentist during procedures
- Use suction and/or rinse to maintain the patient’s mouth
- Teach patients about proper oral hygiene
- Process x-rays and manage patient records
- Schedule appointments and assist patients with billing
Dental assistants can choose to specialize in something so that their day-to-day job emphasizes a few particular treatments or tasks, or they can take on some of everything!
How to Become a Dental Assistant
Becoming a dental assistant generally requires some post-secondary education in a dedicated program. Each state also has unique requirements for other tasks and procedures. Most states require licensure or certification for more technical tasks, in addition to the ones listed above, such as:
- Topical anesthesia
- Application of sealant
- Fluoride treatments
Check with your state licensing or certification board to to find out what your state requires for dental assisting. At Pittsburgh Career Institute, located in Pennsylvania, licensing as a dental assistant is done by passing the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
About Dental Assisting Programs
Dental assisting programs will vary in what they teach state by state, but most of them cover similar skills and topics. A good dental assistant program should also include training and preparation for state licensure or certification in the state the program is offered. Most programs fall in the range of nine months to two years in length, depending on the licensure, degree, or diploma awarded upon completion. Pittsburgh Career Institute, for example, offers a 10-month program that awards graduates with a diploma. This can allow graduates to begin their careers more quickly compared to students that have to work through a two-year program to earn a degree.
Learn With Pittsburgh Career Institute
Pittsburgh Career Institute can help you if you want to get your education and certification in dental assisting. Our 10-month program is designed to prepare you for the CDA exam so you can certify as a dental assistant as quickly as possible. Read our blog to learn requirements to enroll in dental school, or contact us to learn more about the program