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Dental Assistant - Training & Careers

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Dental AssistantThey are usually the first and last person you see at the dentist’s office. And they are usually the person you see for the longest amount of time as well. They prep you, soothe you, comfort you, advise you. They are the dental assistants.

What is a Dental Assistant?

A dental assistant provides help and support to the main dentist(s) of the office. Taking X-rays, cleaning tools, doing general dental cleaning, processing paperwork, making appointments, greeting patients; because of all of the leg work and preparation that a dental assistant performs, the dentist need only see you for a few minutes unless there is some type of complication.

Becoming a Dental Assistant

While many dental assistants learn their training on the job, a good many complete dental-assistant programs. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the American Dental Association has approved over 250 accredited schools and programs for this purpose.

Given the range of duties that you’ll be expected to perform (everything from paperwork to actually cleaning), it is a good idea to complete your formal education first. Your job and job-hunting will be infinitely easier as a result. You’ll thank yourself later.

Job Outlook and Working Conditions for a Dental Assistant

You’ll usually work a standard 40-hour work week, but be prepared to work on Saturdays and Sundays as well. In addition, be prepared for the occasional emergency case in the middle of the night.

Job outlook is good for this particular industry. In fact, the U.S. Department predicts that it will be one of the fastest growing occupations over the next several years. It cites longer lives (and older teeth) as a major factor in this anticipated growth.

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