Dental assistants assist the dentist and keep patient records. They also set up the patient and dental equipment. They assist the dentist in times of emergency and instruct patients in proper teeth cleaning, monitor supplies and inventory and may clean and polish hand-held dental instruments.
Many dental assistants are trained on the job, although most choose to enroll in dental assisting programs at a community college or trade school. Many states require that a prospective registered dental assistant graduate from a program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). These programs generally take one year to complete and graduates earn a diploma or certificate. Associate’s degree programs are also available, and typically take two years to complete.
Megan Struemph, Dental Assistant
I love working in a fast-paced environment. There is always something to do from sterilization to cleaning rooms. No patient or procedure is the same so you have to think and act fast and anticipate. Patients compliment my work sometimes too and that makes me feel great. I love making people feel confident about their smile and showing the home care that they can do. I work for a great doctor and office staff that make my job enjoyable.