If you are a real “people person “and working in the field of dentistry appeals to you, one great entry point into this ever growing profession is to become a dental assistant. Becoming a dental assistant is far faster than going to dental school or even training as a dental hygienist so it is a career path that is popular with those who need to enter the workforce quickly or who are simply not ready for the demands of a great deal of schooling.
What does a Dental Assistant do?
Just as the job title seems to suggest the Dental assistant spends their day assisting dentists with various dental procedures as well as helping with the basic day to day workings of the dental practice where they are employed.
A dental assistant is the individual responsible for the preparation of the examining room before a dentist sees a patient. Once a patient is in the chair the dental assistant then becomes the dentist’s “right hand person”, handing them instruments, helping calm nervous patients, administering suction when required and so on.
In most practices the dental assistant is also the individual who is responsible for providing patients with their ‘post procedure” instructions if they have undergone a filling, extraction or root canal.
In a smaller practice the dental assistant will also be the person in charge of ordering all the dental supplies for the office and even on occasion meeting and greeting patients as they arrive. Record keeping may also be a large part of their day-to-day activities.
What Schooling does a Dental Assistant Need?
How long it will take to become a dental assistant and be ready to work in a real live dentist’s office varies. There are a number of “fast track” dental assistant certificate programs that can get a student out into the workforce within six months. On the other end of the spectrum a two year program of schooling leading to an Associate of Science degree represents the most complete and comprehensive education available to aspiring dental assistants.