America's Dental Bookstore

(for instructions on using this site, see our home page)

America's Dental Bookstore

Dental Books
Anatomy Books Anesthesia & Sedation BooksBehavior of Patients
Clinical Dentistry & Treatment PlanningCosmetic Dentistry BooksDental Assisting Books
Dental EmergenciesDental Hygiene BooksDental MaterialsEndodontics
Fixed ProsthodonticsHistory of DentistryHumor ImplantologyLaboratory Technology
MicrobiologyOcclusion & TMJ BooksOral BiologyOral Pathology & Oral Medicine
Oral PhysiologyOral SurgeryOrthodonticsPediatric DentistryPeriodontics & Prevention
PharmacologyPractice ManagementPractice Mgmt. Finance & Regulations
Practice Mgmt. MarketingPractice Mgmt. TheoryPsychology & Patient AnxietyRadiology
Removable ProsthodonticsRestorative DentistryTest Preparation Books

Consumer Information Books
Amalgam & MercuryBraces Children's BooksGeneral Care & Misc. Books
Consumer Information About Cosmetic DentistryDental Articles

Anesthesia & Sedation ArticlesClinical Dentistry ArticlesCosmetic Dentistry ArticlesDental Assisting ArticlesDental Hygiene ArticlesDental Humor ArticlesDental Materials ArticlesEndodontics ArticlesFixed Prosthodontics ArticlesImplant ArticlesLaboratory Technology ArticlesOral Surgery ArticlesOrthodontics ArticlesPedodontics ArticlesPeriodontics and Prevention ArticlesPractice Finance & Regulations ArticlesPractice ManagementPractice Management - MarketingRadiologyTest PreparationTMJ and Occlusion Articles

Dental Assisting as a Career • Dental Assisting Training • The Ideal Dental Assistant • Post-Operative Instructions

To browse America's Dental Bookstore's huge selection of dental books, click here.

Education for a Dental Assisting Career

Dental Assisting as a Career

Dental assistants must be a second pair of hands for a dentist; therefore, dentists look for people who are reliable, can work well with others, and have good manual dexterity. High school students interested in a career as a dental assistant should take courses in biology, chemistry, health, and office skills.

With no more education than a high school diploma, an energetic person can obtain employment as a dental assistant, under an on-the-job training arrangement. The remainder of the assisting education can be obtained from books, multi-media presentations, and work experience.

Dental Assisting Working Conditions

Dental assistants work in a well-lighted, clean environment. Their work area usually is near the dental chair so that they can arrange instruments, materials, and medication and hand them to the dentist when needed. Dental assistants must wear gloves, masks, eyewear, and protective clothing to protect themselves and their patients from infectious diseases. Following safety procedures also minimizes the risks associated with the use of x-ray machines.

About half of dental assistants have a 35- to 40-hour workweek, which may include work on Saturdays or evenings.

Dental Assisting Employment

Dental assistants held about 266,000 jobs in 2002. Almost all jobs for dental assistants were in offices of Dentists. A small number of jobs were in offices of physicians, educational services, and hospitals. About a third of dental assistants worked part time, sometimes in more than one dental office.

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement in Dental Assisting

Most states regulate the duties that dental assistants are allowed to perform. Licensure or registration may be required, and may involve passing a written or practical examination. These states usually require some amount of continuing education to maintain licensure or registration. A few very liberal states allow dental assistants to perform any function delegated to them by the dentist.

Certification of dental assistants is available through DANB (The Dental Assisting National Board) and is recognized or required in more than 30 States. Other organizations offer registration, most often at the State level. Certification is an acknowledgment of an assistant’s qualifications and professional competence and may be an asset when one is seeking employment. Candidates may qualify to take the DANB certification examination by graduating from an accredited training program or by having 2 years of full-time or 4 years of part-time experience as a dental assistant, in addition to current certification in CPR. Continuing education is required to maintain certification status.

Dental assistants can advance by becoming office managers, dental-assisting instructors, or dental product sales representatives. Others go back to school to become dental hygienists. For many, this entry-level occupation provides basic training and experience and serves as a steppingstone to more highly skilled and higher paying jobs.

Job Outlook in Dental Assisting

Job prospects in dental assisting are excellent. The US Department of Labor estimates that dental assisting will be one of the fastest growing occupations through the year 2012.

In addition to job openings due to employment growth, numerous job openings will arise out of the need to replace assistants who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the labor force for other reasons. Many opportunities are for entry-level positions offering on-the-job training.

Population growth and greater retention of natural teeth by middle-aged and older people will fuel demand for dental services. Older dentists, who have been less likely to employ assistants, are leaving the occupation and will be replaced by recent graduates, who are more likely to use one or even two assistants. In addition, as Dentists’ workloads increase, they are expected to hire more assistants to perform routine tasks, so that they may devote their own time to more profitable procedures.

Pay and Benetifs for Dental Assistants

According to the US Department of Labor, median hourly pay for dental assistants was $13.10 in 2002. The middle 50 percent received pay between $10.35 and $16.20 an hour. The lowest 10 percent was paid less than $8.45, and the highest 10 percent received pay of more than $19.41 an hour.

Benefits vary substantially by practice setting. According to the American Dental Association, almost all full-time dental assistants employed by private practitioners received paid vacation time. Many receive medical coverage, retirement plans, and other benefits. The ADA also found that 90 percent of full-time and part-time dental assistants received dental care as an employment benefit.

To find books about dental assisting training, click here.

More articles
America's Dental Bookstore maintains this collection of articles on dentistry submitted by visitors to our site. These could be clinical tips, research articles, opinion articles, dental jokes, or whatever. Do you have something you'd like to submit? If so, click here to submit an article.