Overview of Dental Assistant

Dental assistants will always be needed as people will always want to have their teeth taken care of. In a dental department, you will find a dentist, dental hygienist and a dental assistant. These three professionals should never be confused for they play different roles in the system which however complement each other.

Dental assistants need to be flexible with their personalities as they are often faced with a lot of patients who can be quite demanding at times. They need to be able to regulate the mood of the clinic so the patients in the waiting area don’t get frustrated and leave. Dental assistants who work well with kids are instant favorites of their employers because kids can be the hardest to work with in the area.

Dental assistant job aren’t always in the office, writing patient histories and placating frustrated customers, they can also work in the field with the dentist. The field can be inside the clinic, where they prep patients, sterilize equipments or hand out the tools for the procedure, or outside the clinic for medical missions where they can do basic cleanings on people who need dental work. Their jobs are often divided into clerical as well as clinical. Most dental assistants are responsible for conducting massive inventories of the clinic. The inventories will not only include the equipments used in the field, but also the paperwork, cleaning utensils and even washing agents used for the area.

The skills needed to become a dental assistant are often acquired through constant practice in the area, but being educated in a school ensures that theory is properly melded with actual performance. Finding a school with proper accreditations can get the dental assistant a very promising job in a dental clinic. These schools must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation or CODA. These schools often offer 1 year training programs for those who want to know the basics of being a dental assistant. Training for 2 years earns one an associate’s degree. There are vocational schools that offer quicker 4-6 month courses, but these short courses are not recognized by the CODA.

An aspiring dental assistant must have a strong background in science. He will learn the basic medical terminology used in the field so he will know what the dentist is talking about. The dentist will also teach his new assistant the names of the instruments used, the protocols he will have to follow and how to perform his daily tasks so everything works fine in the office.

Some dental clinics will offer a decent salary for dental assistants who are just starting out. Once you are comfortable working in the area, you will also learn to love the work that you do. Most employers offer wonderful incentives for loyal employees like paid vacations and sick leaves and some even go far as to reimburse their assistants for whatever their education.