A dental assistant a valuable member of the dental care team and is responsible for assisting a dentist during various dental procedures. She is also the person who takes a patient's x-rays before the dentist comes in and tries to make the patient as comfortable as possible. A dental assistant must be someone who enjoys working with her hands and can communicate effectively with other people. It is also very important for a dental assistant to be very detailed oriented and concerned about hygiene practices.
Dental Assistant Job Description
A dental assistant typically works between 35 and 40 hours a week and will often have to work during evenings and Saturdays. She will work in a clean environment and must always wear gloves, masks and eye wear while working with patients. A dental assistant will normally work near the dental chair so that she can easily arrange different dental instruments and materials. When a dentist needs a certain dental instrument, she will hand it to him right away.
Education and Training
It normally takes just about nine to 11 months to become a dental assistant. A dental assistant will receive her formal education through academic programs and classes at community colleges, vocational schools or dental schools. After she completes a dental assistant training program, she will receive a certificate. Once she is done with her dental assistant training, she must take an examination to receive certification to work in a dental office.
A dental assistant will also have a lot more training on the actual job. It is very important for a dental assistant to continue her education to increase her opportunities. If a dental assistant furthers her education, she will have a lot more advancement opportunities such as becoming an office manager, dental assisting instructor and dental product sales representative.
Most dentists have two or more dental assistants, so the employment opportunities in this field are just great. A dental assistant with have employment opportunities in a variety of different settings including group practices, solo dental practices, hospital dental clinics and dental school clinics.