Many people go to the dentist each year and it can either be a terrible experience or a really relaxed and fun experience. One of the people that play a very impactful role in this experience is the dental assistant. If you are interested in helping to create a pleasant experience for people when they visit the dentist, or you just are really interested in dental health, being a dental assistant may be the career for you. Listed below are some of the different job duties of a dental assistant and how to pursue it as a career.
As a dental assistant, you will perform many different tasks in order to prepare the patient for the orthodontist. If the patient doesn't need any additional work done from the orthodontist, you will be the see the patient through from start to finish. Some of the tasks that dental assistants perform are taking x-rays, coronal polishes, sterilizing dental equipment, record-keeping, and assisting the orthodontist with procedures such as crowns and fillings. As a dental assistant, it is also important to be able to interact with people well and to enjoy getting to know many new people. Having a casual conversation with patients will help them to feel more at ease as they visit the dentist. Some dental assistants are also responsible for coordinating a patient's appointments as well.
In order to become a dental assistant in most states, you need to graduate from a dental assistant program at a technical or community colleges. These programs will generally take one to two years to complete. Some states may also require certification. The most common certification is the Dental Assistant National Board's Certified Dental Assistant examination. Some students also complete externships. An externship is an opportunity for a student to have training in the actual workplace. After graduating and completing certifications or externships, there are many opportunities across the country for dental assistant openings. It is one of the fastest-growing careers with a projected employment growth rate of nearly 20% over the course of the next 10 years. The rate of growth in this field is much higher than the national average. Once you get a dental assistant position, your job tasks could vary significantly depending on how large of an office you work in.
Dental Assistants are growing in demand. Depending on your personality and interests, being a dental assistant may be something you should seriously consider. If you are still unsure that you want to be a dental assistant, you should consider doing a job shadow. This will help you to get an understanding of what the day-to-day work is like for a dental assistant. Job shadows are helpful to provide an understanding of different occupations before you pursue a degree in that field.