Dental assistants perform a variety of patient care, office, and laboratory duties, and often work chair-side as dentists examine and treat patients. They make patients as comfortable as possible in the dental chair, prepare them for treatment, and obtain their dental records. Assistants hand instruments and materials to dentists and keep patients’ mouths dry and clear by using suction or other devices, and also sterilize and disinfect instruments and equipment, prepare trays
of instruments for dental procedures, and instruct patients on postoperative and general oral health care.
Some dental assistants prepare materials for impressions and restorations, take dental x rays, and process x-ray film as directed by a dentist. Helps with office duties schedule and confirm appointments, receive patients, keep treatment records, send bills, receive payments, and order dental supplies and materials.
WHAT SKILLS & TRAINING ARE NEEDED?
- Dental assistants must be a second pair of hands for a dentist; therefore, dentists look for people who are reliable, can work well with others, and have good manual dexterity.
Most States regulate the duties that dental assistants are allowed to perform through licensure or registration, requiring passing a written or practical examination. Certification is available through the Dental Assisting National Board. In addition, applicants must have current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. For many, this entry-level occupa-tion provides basic training and experience and serves as a steppingstone to more highly skilled and higher paying jobs (such as Dental Hygiene).
HOW DO I KNOW IF THIS IS A GOOD FIT FOR ME?
- You work well with others.
- You have strong customer service skills.
- You have good manual dexterity (working with your hands).
WHERE CAN I PURSUE ALIGNED TRAINING?
LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER – NEW ORLEANS
NEW ORLEANS DENTAL COLLEGE
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