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Dental Assistant Overview - Preparation - Day In The Life - Earnings -
Employment - Career Path Forecast - Professional Organizations -
Overview PowerPoint - Overview Podcast


Dental assistants work closely with, and under the supervision of, dentists. Assistants perform a variety of patient care, office, and laboratory duties. Dental assistants should not be confused with dental hygienists, who are licensed to perform different clinical tasks. Dental assistants sterilize and disinfect instruments and equipment, prepare and lay out the instruments and materials required to treat each patient, and obtain patients' dental records.

Assistants make patients as comfortable as possible in the dental chair and prepare them for treatment. During dental procedures, assistants work alongside the dentist to provide assistance. They hand instruments and materials to dentists and keep patients' mouths dry and clear by using suction or other devices. They also instruct patients on postoperative and general oral health care.

Dental assistants may prepare materials for impressions and restorations, take dental x rays, and process x-ray film as directed by a dentist. They also may remove sutures, apply topical anesthetics to gums or cavity-preventive agents to teeth, remove excess cement used in the filling process, and place rubber dams on the teeth to isolate them for individual treatment. Some states are expanding dental assistants' duties to include tasks such as coronal polishing and restorative dentistry functions for those assistants that meet specific training and experience requirements.

Dental assistants with laboratory duties make casts of the teeth and mouth from impressions, clean and polish removable appliances, and make temporary crowns. Those with office duties schedule and confirm appointments, receive patients, keep treatment records, send bills, receive payments, and order dental supplies and materials.

Dental Assistant Resources

Online

Overview:
Overview of the work of Dental Assistants
Preparation:
Programs, Degree Fields
Day in the Life:
Specialty Areas, the Workplace
Earnings:
Salary Ranges
Employment:
Statistics, Employment Options
Career Path Forecast:
Predictions for Dental Assistants
Professional Organizations:
Resources, Networking, Support
Podcast:
Overview of the work of a Dentist Assistant
Internet Resources:
American Dental Assistants Association
American Dental Association

Dental Assisting National Board

Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.


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