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Dental Assistant

Career Highlights

  • Dental assistants are the patient's first impression
  • Prepare materials for teeth impressions and restorations
  • Work in a variety of dental environments

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Career Summary

Dental assistants play an integral part in the dental industry, providing support to dentists and dental practices by performing a wide range of tasks.

Some of their duties include:

  • Making patients comfortable during procedures
  • Taking and processing dental X-rays
  • Sterilizing and disinfecting instruments
  • Recording patients' medical histories
  • Providing patients with oral care instruction

Some dental assistants prepare materials for impressions and restorations, assisting in the construction of dentures and models of the teeth and mouth. Those with laboratory duties make casts of the teeth and mouth from impressions, clean and polish removable appliances, and make temporary crowns.

Besides their clinical duties, dental assistants may assist in the daily operation and management of the office. These duties can include:

  • Answering phones
  • Collecting fees for services
  • Keeping the front area clean and organized
  • Maintaining a computerized inventory system
  • Answering patients' questions
  • Scheduling

What makes a good dental assistant?

Dental assistants need to be outgoing and cheerful because they are usually the patient's first impression of the dentist office. Another important aspect of dental assisting is aiding the dentist during oral surgery, which requires that an individual be able to anticipate the dentist's needs and remain at hand for several hours through longer procedures.

Dental assistants work under the supervision of a dentist and usually work in dental offices, public health clinics, hospital dental clinics, health maintenance organizations, dental schools, nursing homes, insurance companies (claims), government agencies, the armed forces, and dental product sales.




Requires a degree in:

  • Dental Assistance

Career Skills

  • Basic Laboratory Skills
  • CPR/Basic Life Support
  • Health Educating
  • Infection Control
  • Maintaining Files and Records
  • Medical Terminology
  • Patient Examination
  • Patient History Taking
  • Patient Preparation
  • Sterile Techniques
  • Workplace Inventory
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Problem Solving & Critical Thinking
  • Stress Management Skills
  • Time & Priority Management

Additional Information



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*Salary ranges based on location, experience, and demand. This number represents a rough nation-wide average.