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Dental Assistant Career Profile

Dental Assistants typically work in dental offices either in administrative roles or treating patients under a dentist’s supervision. Their patient care responsibilities include greeting patients, managing the movement of patients to and from treatment areas, preparing treatment areas and instruments, presenting (during treatment) instruments and materials to the dentist, and suctioning fluids during treatment.

Dental assistants might also apply fluoride and sealants and polish teeth, depending on their licensing/certification. The dental assistant plays a key role in putting patients and their loved ones at ease. In administrative roles, dental assistants answer phones, maintain patient records, discharge patients and bill patients and their insurers. Dental assistants are often called upon to teach patients good dental hygiene. Duties vary by state and by the dentists' offices where they work.

People looking for a rewarding career in health care that they can get into quickly might consider becoming a dental assistant. At Concorde, students can get through the dental assistant training program in as few as eight months. You can start training through dental assistant programs such as Concorde that can help you achieve your exciting future in health care in a short time. Concorde is committed to preparing you to offer the highest level of dental care.

The ideal individual for a dental assistant's job is detail oriented, high energy and anticipates the needs of others, in this case, the dentist and their patients. Team play and an ability to remain calm and communicate in stressful situations is also critical. Working chair-side with the dentist requires manual dexterity.

Concorde's dental assistant training school emphasizes the clinical and administrative aspects of serving in a dental office setting, immersing you in the practical aspects of providing dental patient care in a hands-on environment. Upon completion of this program, graduates can take the licensing exam to qualify for employment.

Most dental assistants work full-time days but many with some level of job tenure are afforded flexible schedules. Almost all dental assistants work in dentists' offices. The work environment is team-oriented, highly professional fast paced and structured.

What is it really like to be a dental assistant?

The work is exacting, especially relating to instrument sterilization, room preparation, instrument passes to the dentist, and measuring dental materials. At the same time you are expected to skillfully manage patient anxiety over treatment pain or appearance. You will experience the joy, gratitude and respect of your patients. The tearful thanks an accident victim with a beautiful new smile or the pride of a child after their first dental exam and cleaning will bring personal fulfillment. You will be a respected, appreciated member of a highly professional team. Dental Assisting is ranked 67th among U.S. News and World Reports 100 best jobs.

Dental Assisting is a growing profession. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth in dental assistant employment of 7 percent through 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. That's expected to add 23,400 new jobs into the work force between 2019-29. Ongoing research linking oral health and general health will likely continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services.

What is the career path for dental assistants?

There are several possible paths to becoming a dental assistant. Some states require assistants to graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam. In other states, there are no formal educational requirements. Dental Assisting at the entry level might not require formal training, but most employers require at least a diploma (nine months to one year of training). Many dental assistants continue their education, progressing to higher levels of licensure and certification. Dental assisting, along with dental hygienist training programs are also an excellent launching pad to become a dental hygienist or dentist.