Dental assistants are trained to aid dental surgeons during procedures that involve the use of anesthesia. They perform administrative duties and clinical duties, including scheduling appointments, taking patient information and ordering dental supplies, keeping patient records, sterilizing dental instruments, and handling equipment. Also, assistants may prepare X-ray films and take x-ray photos. They prepare patients for dental procedures by cleaning their teeth and hands.
The responsibilities of a dental assistant are similar to those of an x-ray technician. However, dental assistants must have additional training to qualify for this position. They are required to have a diploma from an accredited training program. The program must be accredited by The Joint Commission On Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Persons wishing to train to become dental assistants need to pass an oral surgery licensing exam at Dental Assistant Schools.
There are two types of dental assistants: those who have a two-year Associate Degree in Dental Surgery and those with an Associate Degree in Oral Medicine. Those with an Associate Degree in Oral Medicine may specialize in orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, or pediatric dentistry. Those with an Associate Degree in Dental Surgery can choose to pursue other career opportunities as oral surgeons, periodontists, or dentists. Oral medicine specialists complete a two-year course in periodontics or perform their specialty within an orthodontic unit. Those with an Associate Degree in Dental Surgery may specialize in dental surgeries or prosthodontics.
Students who complete their courses successfully attain the Associate’s Degree in Dental Surgery, which is a four-year program. Upon graduation, dental assistants must obtain a professional license from their state’s Board of Dentistry. Training can take place at dental clinics, hospitals, private practices, vocational schools, and training academies. Students have the opportunity to complete a course in x-ray technology and may also elect to take additional courses in anatomy, nutrition, pharmacology, radiology, and physiology.
Individuals hoping to enter this profession have an assortment of job growth prospects. Careers as dental assistants can be found in many different areas and will vary depending on the geographic area and experience level. Assistants working in a hospital setting will have much more responsibility and may not have as much job growth potential. These assistants will typically begin as part-time receptionists and may later be promoted to administrative assistant. A dental assisting specialist will have a higher starting salary but will typically have more job growth potential.
Career growth for those with an Associate Degree in Dental Surgery is quite varied and includes positions in both the public and private sectors. Many dental assisting graduates decide to pursue their education by obtaining either a certificate or an Associates Degree in Dental Surgery. An Associates Degree in Dental Surgery can take three years to complete. Those with a Bachelor’s degree will generally only be able to get a job in the field of dentistry after completing an Associate Degree in Dental Surgery. Individuals hoping to open their own dental office or looking to join an existing dental practice should consider pursuing either an Associate Degree or a Bachelors Degree in Dental Surgery.
With a good amount of job growth, dental assisting positions are expected to continue to grow in size over the next few years. Dental assistants need to understand the advancement that comes with becoming a successful dentist. The better dental assistants understand what they need to do to succeed, the better their chances will be of finding a good job with a good pay package. Taking classes at reputable dental assistant job growth schools can help aspiring dental assistants prepare for their new role.
For students looking to make a change and move forward, dental assisting can be an exceptional option. Job opportunities are expected to grow and dental assistants have benefits. Graduates of quality training programs can find great employment opportunities within the dental assisting industry. Pursuing a career as a dental assistant can give students a rewarding experience and a step into the world of dentistry.