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 309,540 dental assistants employed in the United States.

Next Section: History

Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) None
Duties Take and process x-rays of patients; assist dentists with instruments during dental procedures; keep dental records; and instruct patients in dental hygiene
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $50,000
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Nationwide
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Health
Experience On-the-job training
Personality Traits
  • Conventional
  • Hands On
  • Technical
Skills
  • Business Management
  • Interpersonal
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Excellent
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Much Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Dental Laboratory Technician
  • Dental Hygenist
  • Dental Assistants Supervisor
  • Dental Assistant

Related Industries

Career Update Newsletter

Tips and tools to help you manage your ideal career.