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 play a very important role as they work with the dentists during patient examination and treatment. Professional dentists give the responsibility to assistants to keep dental records, patient preparation for dental treatments and to keep patients as relaxed as possible during dental procedures. They are also responsible for taking X-ray pictures, development of X-ray films and also checking the patient’s blood pressure and temperature before the examination. Preparation of the tools to be used in a procedure is also done by the assistant.

To enter this profession, a course must be taken with the entry requirements that allow for those coming straight from school to those who have been working already. Upon completion of the course, a certificate is issued. There might be further need to be accredited by the local board of dental assistants before starting practice. The dental assistant course includes preparation trays of dental instruments, sterilization procedures, oral surgeries and treatments, patient preparation and postoperative oral health. Good dental assistant colleges will teach patient care duties such as topical anaesthetic application, taking dental x-rays, processing x-ray film, computer dental software, examination of patients, removing sutures, preparing materials for dental impressions, discarding hazardous materials, and much more. You can also further your training by enrolling for an associate degree course which will be for 2 years. This course emphasizes the practical aspects of the training and there is little or no training in the theoretical aspects.

Dental assisting is one of the few professions that have a lot of opportunities regardless of the state of the economy. It offers salaries that are good, a smart working environment and the opportunity to help others. An assistant who learns the trade and stays updated with the current advancements adds value to the organization and is a versatile player. These days many dentists are looking for assistants to undertake basic procedures so that they can focus on more complicated procedures.

Dental assistant jobs can be in different places including private dental offices, in specialty practices such as orthodontia, in dental college clinics and in the public health arena. There are also opportunities available for assistants in health insurance companies, serving in claims, customer service and provider support departments. They may also be part of a large corporation as a dental product salesperson. With college degrees, they may very well find employment as an instructor at a dental school. The job opportunities are tremendous and career opportunities are never ending in the exciting world of dental assisting. Dental assisting is a job that can be very interesting when proper advancement has been done.

By: Selvin Flores

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