The dental field, like so many fields in the health care profession, is in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, this chosen career is growing "much faster than the average" in today's job market. This is great news! With today's job market as it is and unemployment up, this is reassuring.
A career as a dental assistant is very rewarding. It is fulfilling and no one day is ever the same.
It's All In The Details
Being a successful dental assistant means paying extra special attention to all the details. Here are some ways being detail-oriented will help you succeed in this career path.
- Sterilization - Sterilization is crucial! Strict guidelines have been set forth by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to protect dental personnel and the public. Of the many rules in place, gloves and masks must be worn when in direct contact with a patient to prevent the spread of bacterial and viral infections. Hazardous materials such as used needles, gauze, and instruments must be properly handled and disposed of in a safe manner. Dental assistants must adhere to these rules.
- Excelling In Work Flow - It is vital that the assistant be able to follow rules. The assistant that is able to anticipate needed instruments for patient procedures and treatments helps fulfill the expectations of the dentist. This ability helps with the flow and efficiency of the office.
Overall People Skills - As an assistant, you really must enjoy helping people, be a good listener and communicator. You will assist all kinds of people and experience several different personalities. It is important that you stay focused and professional at all times. You want to make the patient feel comfortable and their experience a positive one while at the dental office. When patients have a positive experience, like their dentist and the dental staff, they will be more than likely refer their family and friends to the office.
Duties Of A Dental Assistant
The dental assistant has a wide range of duties which vary throughout the day. Duties include, but are not limited, to patient care, taking x-rays, taking teeth impressions, lab procedures, and office tasks.
Becoming A Dental Assistant
There are a couple of paths available to take when becoming a dental assistant. Dependent upon the state in which you live, you may be able to learn with on the job training; however, with that said, it is best to attend and graduate from an accredited school such as Carrington College.
Dental assistant programs provide students with an education in oral anatomy, sterilization, charting, front office techniques, and technical training in preparation for state or national boards for in becoming a CDA (Certified Dental Assistant) or a RDA (Registered Dental Assistant).
The RDA is licensed and continued education is required. The amount of hours and criteria varies among states, so be sure to check the requirements with the state in which you live. An RDA has expanded duties and earns more than a CDA.
For more information regarding dental assisting programs, peruse Carrington College's different training options.
If you enjoy working with people, want to help others, and are detailed oriented then this just may be the career for you.