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What Dental Assistants Do

what dental assistants doIf you are interested in this career field, read more to find out what you would do on the job

When you go to a dentist appointment, chances are, you probably interact with a dental assistant. Can you picture yourself working in that role? If this is a career field that interests you, it is a good idea to find out more about what dental assistants do.

Here are some of the tasks that you might be responsible for in this position:

  • Walk patients to the exam room and help them get comfortable
  • Prepare instruments for the dentist. This may include sterilizing dental instruments, setting up the tray that the dentist will need, and disinfecting equipment.
  • Assist the dentist by handing instruments to him or her, and using the suction device to keep the patient’s mouth dry
  • Assist with impressions and making casts of teeth
  • Assist with making temporary crowns
  • Clean the room after the examination or procedure is complete

Some dental assistants are also involved with office management. They may be responsible for answering phones, managing the reception area, sending reminder emails to patients, keeping track of the inventory of supplies, handling the insurance billing, and keeping track of payments.

Are You Well Suited for What Dental Assistants Do?

How do you know if dental assisting is for you? As with any career field, there are some people who are more suited to the field than others. Before deciding if you want to do what dental assistants do, you may want to ask yourself some questions.

  • Are you reliable and hard-working?
  • Are you comfortable with the idea of working with patients?
  • Are you a “people person” who could be courteous and friendly to patients?
  • Would you feel comfortable looking into a patient’s mouth?
  • Are you interested in teeth and oral hygiene?
  • Do you have good dexterity in your hands?
  • Are you good at paying attention and listening to instructions?
  • Do you understand basic hygiene and the importance of keeping a dental environment clean?

If you have answered yes to these questions, you may be a good fit for this career field. If you want to learn more a out this field, you can review the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. This handbook contains a section on dental assisting, and may be helpful to you as your make your decision.

Offerings at the Harris School of Business

The Harris School of Business offers dental assisting program that prepares students for positions in this field. In addition, Harris offers medical assistant programs, medical billing and coding training, massage therapy training, and more. If you are interested in learning more, visit the programs page to read about career-focused training at Harris.