Dental Assistants – Job description
A dental assistant is a member of the dental team who provides support for the dentist. Though they are not licensed to perform any dental procedures, they help dentists by preparing instruments, managing patients’ records, sterilizing equipment, and assisting with various duties during treatment.
Dental assistants are essential to the success of a dental office. A dental assistant is required to have knowledge on how to sterilize instruments, equipment and materials used for procedures, various dental instruments and their uses, x-rays interpretations, dentistry law and ethics.
Dental Assistants are expected to perform a wide range of duties such as:
- Sterilizing dental instruments
- Preparation of materials for dental procedures such as towels, spittoons etc.
- Preparing the work area for patient treatment by setting out instruments and materials
- Helping dentists by handing them instruments during procedures
- Providing Basic Dental Care
- Collecting clinical data such as blood pressure, pulse rate etc.
- Instructing patients in proper dental hygiene
- Take x-rays under the direction of a dentist
- Recording Patient Data
- Scheduling patient appointments
- Working with patients on billing and payment
Dental assistants are often the first person that patients see when they walk through the door, as such, It’s important that they make patients feel comfortable and understand what their dental needs are. The following are skills that dental assistants could be expected to have:
- Demonstrates aptitude in interpersonal skills
- Knowledge of medical terminology
- Ability to work with all age groups
- Ability to follow oral hygiene instructions
- Able to work well with others in team environments
How to Become a Dental Assistant?
A dental assistant can be an entry-level position for people without any formal education in the field of dentistry. However, most dental assistants have at least a two-year certification or degree in dental assisting. The program includes coursework, hands-on training in a hospital setting, and on-the-job observation.
Dental assistants are very important members of the dental team and if you’re considering a career as one, there are many ways to become a dental assistant, but there are four main paths:
1) Get an associate’s degree in Dental Assisting from an accredited college or university;
2) Hold a certificate or diploma in Dental Assisting from an accredited college or university;
3) Complete postsecondary courses through a hospital-based program;
4) Complete postsecondary courses through a non-hospital-based program.
Dental Assistants – Salary
Dental Assistant is a career that requires extensive education and training so people typically need to enroll in programs at community colleges or technical schools to study this field before working as a Dental assistant. Dental assistants are typically the backbone of dental clinics as they primarily work closely with dentists and assist with routine tasks involved in the day-to-day running of the clinics.
How Much Do Dental Assistants Make in Arizona? It is estimated that the annual average salary for a Dental Assistant in Arizona is $41,690
The average hourly wage for a Dental Assistant in Arizona is $20.04, which amounts to about $41,690 per year. The lowest 20% makes about $29,260 annually, while the highest 20% makes about $59,400 per year.