What is a Dental Assistant?

What is a Dental Assistant?

Basically, dental assistants execute a wide range of responsibilities such as laboratory duties, office and patient. They also sterilize as well as disinfect dental equipment and obtain patient's record. In addition to their roles, dental assistants also make patients comfortable and prepare for the necessary treatment that patients need. They also provide assistance to the dentist during dental procedures wherein they are going to hand dental instruments to dentists as well as instructing patients on oral healthcare. When instructed by the dentist, dental assistants may also prepare dental materials such as restorations, removing sutures, removing excess cement utilized in the filling, processing dental x rays and placing dental dams.

Education and Other Qualifications

There are many dental-assisting programs offered by various institutions such as community and junior colleges, Armed Forces, technical institutes and trade schools, but there are also many assistants who learn their skills on their job. Most dental-assisting programs take a year to complete. For most States, they don't require formal training or education in entry level of dental assisting job while other States require dental assistants to have a certification or license.


In 2008, the available jobs for dental assistants has held about 295,300 wherein 93 percent of the jobs were at the dentists offices and a small number were in local governments, State and Federal. From 2008 to 2018, dental-assisting jobs will grow 36 percent and considered as the fastest growing jobs over the projection period. The drive for job openings is replacement of assistants who transfer to other jobs.

Reference:  http://stats.bls.gov/oco/ocos163.htm