Dental Assistant Overview: What You’ll Need to Know

dental collegeAlthough countless Americans dread going to the dentist, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider a career in the dental field. In fact, you could be the reason why a patient ends up having a great experience when getting their teeth cleaned or a cavity filled. Best of all, you don’t necessarily have to attend dental college for many years before breaking into the field. If this appeals to you, you might want to consider practical dental assistant training.

But what exactly is involved in becoming a dental assistant? Do you have what it takes? We’ll go over some practical information pertaining to future dental assistants in today’s post to give you a good working knowledge of what might be required of you.

Tasks Dental Assistants Typically Perform

Some people assume that dental assistants merely provide help to the dentist or other staff members. While that’s technically part of this role, there are a lot of important tasks for which dental assistants are responsible. Those may include the sterilization of equipment, the processing of X-rays, the performance of lab testing, the scheduling of appointments, the preparation of work areas, the record-keeping of treatments, the education of patients, and the processing of bills and payments. Essentially, you may be asked to do anything from front office obligations to providing physical help to the dentist in the examination room. It means you’ll need to have a firm grasp on a lot of different areas of operations and that you won’t ever be bored with a mundane schedule.

Skills You’ll Need to Be a Successful Dental Assistant

Because the duties of a dental assistant are so varied, you’ll do well if you are well-rounded with a keen interest in learning about several different areas. You’ll also need to be detail-oriented, as you’ll need to understand complex procedures and address the needs of both patients and dentists. You’ll definitely need organizational skills as well, since you’ll be juggling a lot of different tasks and will need to keep your obligations in check. Additionally, you’ll need to be socially gifted and committed to providing a high level of service. Interacting with all kinds of people on a constant basis will require some stellar interpersonal skills. You’ll need to be friendly, communicative, patient, and understanding to be successful in your role.

Required Training, Certification, and Experience for Dental Assistants

If you want to pursue employment at a dental practice as a dental assistant, you will need to complete some formal education. Attending dental college doesn’t mean you’ll spend years as a student, however. There are plenty of hands-on dental training programs that will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need. Some states will require you to complete a specific type of program at an accredited dental college, while others necessitate on-the-job training only. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that even if your state doesn’t require degree completion, it may be within your best interests. Approximately 89% of Dental Assisting National Board Certificants report high levels of job satisfaction, and having this type of certification may make it easier to find employment and feel confident in your role. It’s important to conduct thorough research to assess what’s required and what will benefit you in the long run.

Ready to Start Your Journey in Dental School? We’re here to help you get started. For more information on our dental college and the programs we offer, please contact us today.

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