Dental Assistants

Dental assistants perform a variety of duties in the dental office, including helping the dentist examine and treat patients and completing laboratory and office work. They assist the dentist by preparing patients for dental exams, handing the dentist the proper instruments, taking and processing X-rays, preparing materials for making impressions and restorations, and instructing patients in oral health care. They also perform administrative and clerical tasks so that the office runs smoothly and the dentist's time is available for working with patients. There are more than 297,000 dental assistants employed in the United States.

Quick Facts
Duties Taking and processing x-rays of patients; assisting dentists with instruments during dental procedures; keeping dental records; and instructing patients in dental hygiene
Alternate Title(s) None
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $50,000
Employment Prospects Excellent
Advancement Prospects Good
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities exist in all regions
Education and Training
  • High School Diploma
Related School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Health
Experience On-the-job training
  • Business Management
  • Interpersonal
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
Personality Traits
  • Conventional
  • Hands On
  • Technical
Licensure/Certification Recommended
Special Requirements None
Career Ladder
  • Dental Laboratory Technician
  • Dental Hygenist
  • Dental Assistants Supervisor
  • Dental Assistant

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