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Dental Assistant

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All About Dental Assistants

Position Description Assist dentist, set up equipment, prepare patient for treatment, and keep records.

Life As a Dental Assistant: What Do They Do?

  • Provide postoperative instructions prescribed by dentist.
  • Prepare patient, sterilize or disinfect instruments, set up instrument trays, prepare materials, or assist dentist during dental procedures.
  • Clean teeth, using dental instruments.
  • Fabricate and fit orthodontic appliances and materials for patients, such as retainers, wires, or bands.
  • Order and monitor dental supplies and equipment inventory.
  • Schedule appointments, prepare bills and receive payment for dental services, complete insurance forms, and maintain records, manually or using computer.

Dental Assistant Skills

When polled, Dental Assistants say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

  • Expanded Duty Dental Assistant (EDDA)
  • Dentist Attendant
  • Orthodontic Assistant (Ortho Assistant)
  • Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)
  • Dental Office Manager

Job Demand for Dental Assistants

There were about 332,000 jobs for Dental Assistant in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 19.5% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 64,600 new jobs for Dental Assistant by 2026. The BLS estimates 45,900 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Dental Assistants in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Dental Assistant are Arizona, Maryland, and Utah. Watch out if you plan on working in Rhode Island, Mississippi, or Kansas. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Dental Assistants Salary

The average yearly salary of a Dental Assistant ranges between $26,940 and $54,800.

Salary Ranges for Dental Assistants

Dental Assistants who work in Minnesota, New Hampshire, or District of Columbia, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Dental Assistants in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $33,650
Alaska $47,330
Arizona $40,680
Arkansas $34,080
California $41,030
Colorado $40,390
Connecticut $44,520
Delaware $41,060
District of Columbia $49,220
Florida $39,590
Georgia $36,710
Hawaii $38,860
Idaho $34,800
Illinois $39,370
Indiana $40,790
Iowa $41,100
Kansas $37,040
Kentucky $36,060
Louisiana $32,340
Maine $42,250
Maryland $42,080
Massachusetts $46,070
Michigan $37,140
Minnesota $49,880
Mississippi $32,900
Missouri $38,350
Montana $37,310
Nebraska $36,860
Nevada $38,240
New Hampshire $48,760
New Jersey $43,110
New Mexico $34,870
New York $39,130
North Carolina $41,790
North Dakota $46,640
Ohio $38,960
Oklahoma $36,550
Oregon $43,440
Pennsylvania $39,200
Rhode Island $43,710
South Carolina $39,750
South Dakota $37,820
Tennessee $37,610
Texas $36,820
Utah $31,280
Vermont $42,640
Virginia $44,640
Washington $43,680
West Virginia $31,410
Wisconsin $38,630
Wyoming $35,220

What Tools do Dental Assistants Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Dental Assistants:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Web browser software
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • Intuit Quicken
  • Henry Schein Dentrix
  • Patterson Dental Supply Patterson EagleSoft
  • Kodak Dental Systems Kodak SOFTDENT Practice management software PMS

How do I Become a Dental Assistant?

What education is needed to be a Dental Assistant?

Dental Assistant Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Dental Assistant?

Dental Assistant Work Experience

Dental Assistants Sector

Dental Assistant Sectors

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Dental Assistant Industries

Those thinking about becoming a Dental Assistant might also be interested in the following careers:

Career changers with experience as a Dental Assistant sometimes find work in one of the following fields:

References:

Image Credit: Sgt. Dallas Edwards via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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