What Does a Dental Assistant Do?
Dental Assistants work at dentist’s offices, orthodontic practices and dental surgery centers to help administer patient care during dental cleanings and oral surgery. Dental Assistants educate patients about procedures and dental maintenance, give instructions for oral care, order x-rays and other scans and reach out to patients about scheduling routine appointments. They set up dental exam tables, assist during cleanings and fillings and hold dental instruments like suction tubs and mirrors while the Dentist works. Dental Assistants also keep track of administrative duties like scheduling patients, stocking supplies and billing patients or insurance providers.
Dental Assistant Skills and Qualifications
A Dental Assistant is required to hold a minimum of a two-year degree in dental hygiene to learn the proper handling and treatment techniques. Other qualifications the Dental Assistant might possess could include customer service, scheduling software experience and lab work knowledge depending on the scope of their position within the clinic. Skills and qualifications also include:
- Customer service skills to ensure patients feel comfortable during their appointment as well as well-informed about treatment and dental wellness
- Technical and troubleshooting skills to work with a variety of dental, medical, scheduling and other organization software in the office
- Organization skills enable these professionals to keep their workspace clean to ensure patients, dentists and other assistants are safe and healthy while working
- Knowledge of dental instruments
- Prior experience administering dental X-rays
Dental Assistant Salary Expectations
The average Dental Assistant salary is $17.59 per hour in the U.S. Dental Assistant wages commonly range from $7.25 to $33.15 per hour. Salaries typically depend on a candidate’s level of education and experience as well as a practice’s geographic location. The starting salary for your open position will vary based on experience and skills required.
Dental Assistant Education and Training Requirements
Training and certifications requirements for a Dental Assistant will vary by state, so be sure to research this before posting your open position. Some states require Dental Assistants who conduct X-rays, apply sealant or fluoride to be licensed. If your business is in a state that requires a license, note this in your job description. Dental Assistants are generally required to have completed an accredited training program. A high school diploma or GED is also usually required.
Dental Assistant Experience Requirements
Your business will determine what experience level you require of the new Dental Assistant. If you have a team of several assistants, you may not require prior professional experience, which will open your application pool to entry-level candidates. A smaller practice may require more experience and the ability to work alone. In this case, a minimum of two years’ experience and a Dental Assistant license is suggested.
Job Description Samples for Similar Positions
This guide will get you started on your Dental Assistant job description. If you need some more ideas, we have other sample job descriptions available.