Dental Assistants

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Also known as:
Certified Dental Assistant, Dental Aide, Dental Assistant, Expanded Functions Dental Assistant, Orthodontic Assistant, Orthodontist Assistant, Registered Dental Assistant, Surgical Dental Assistant

ABOUT DENTAL ASSISTANT CAREERS
Video transcript

To help keep a dental practice running efficiently, dental assistants perform a variety of patient care, office and laboratory duties. It is important not to confuse dental assistants with dental hygienists, who are licensed to perform a wider variety of clinical tasks.

Dental assistants must be organized and competent in handling several duties at once. These duties can range from disinfecting instruments to assisting dentists in examinations and treatments. If you are interested in this carrier, you should enjoy working with, and talking to people - making patients feel comfortable before or during a treatment procedure, and education people about good oral health care.

Although dental assistants do face potential hazards that may include handling radiographic equipment or being exposed to infectious diseases, these risks are minimized when strict safety procedures are followed. Generally dental assistants work in a safe environment where they are able to make a positive a positive contribution to the field of dentistry.

SNAPSHOT
Perform limited clinical duties under the direction of a dentist. Clinical duties may include equipment preparation and sterilization, preparing patients for treatment, assisting the dentist during treatment, and providing patients with instructions for oral healthcare procedures. May perform administrative duties such as scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding information for insurance purposes.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Assist dentist in management of medical or dental emergencies.

Fabricate temporary restorations or custom impressions from preliminary impressions.

Make preliminary impressions for study casts and occlusal registrations for mounting study casts.

Pour, trim, and polish study casts.

Instruct patients in oral hygiene and plaque control programs.

Order and monitor dental supplies and equipment inventory.

Record treatment information in patient records.

Prepare patient, sterilize or disinfect instruments, set up instrument trays, prepare materials, or assist dentist during dental procedures.

Provide postoperative instructions prescribed by dentist.

Expose dental diagnostic x-rays.

Clean and polish removable appliances.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Sales and Marketing Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
TOP SKILLS
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.