Dental assistants are a vital part of the dental team, assisting dentists with patient care and oral health education. When a patient walks into a dental office, they usually see a dental assistant. It is because any treatment must be preceded by a thorough examination of the teeth, mouth, and gums. They play an integral role in maintaining oral health and providing treatments to patients. If you are looking for a career in the health care industry, then becoming a dental assistant may be the perfect choice for you.
How to Become a Dental Assistant?
There are several ways to become a dental assistant. There are no formal educational requirements in other states. Some states require dental assistants to have completed an accredited program and passed an exam. The majority of programs are provided by community colleges, though vocational or technical schools may also provide them. Most programs last about a year and result in a certificate or diploma.
What Are the Challenges of Being a Dental Assistant?
Dental assistants are passionate about their work. However, as with many jobs, dental assisting has its share of bothersome and vexing workplace issues. Here are a few of the difficulties dental assistants face with tenacity and professionalism.
Dental assistants must be able to communicate effectively. Dental assistants are the backbone of a well-run dental practice, and they interact with a variety of people, including front-office personnel, clinical dental personnel, and patients. When dental assistants communicate openly and honestly, they build trust, facilitate teamwork, boost morale, and increase productivity for the entire office.
Appointment scheduling can mean the difference between an efficient, productive day and a chaotic, stressful day at the office. Scheduling issues can often divide the front office staff and the clinical staff, whether overbooking appointments or underestimating the time required for procedures.
Anxiety in the Patient
Patients’ dental anxiety is all too common. Thankfully, most dental assistants have that unique skill set of compassion, interpersonal skills, and clinical knowledge to help patients overcome their fear of the dentist.
Nothing disrupts your day more than patients who arrive late or cancel on the day of their appointments. Some dental assistants practice preventative care, and they call their patients about a week before their scheduled times to remind them of their appointments. Others try their hardest to accommodate their patients on that particular day.
Respect for the Profession
Dental assistants play a critical role in providing high-quality dental care. Colleagues and patients must respect them as valued members of the dental profession.
What Are the Benefits of a Dental Assistant?
Dental assistants work in dentists’ offices to ensure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently. A dental assistant is an allied health professional who helps prepare patients for treatments, clean dental instruments, schedule appointments, keep patient records, and expose dental x-rays. This profession has many advantages, but it also has some disadvantages.
Pros of Dental Assisting
There are numerous advantages to working as a dental assistant.
Dental assisting training is much shorter than a typical four-year college education. Certificate programs are typically completed in less than a year, whereas associate degree programs are completed in two years. Most students enroll in allied health career training programs for a dental assisting graduate with a certificate or diploma. Associate degree programs, such as those offered by community colleges, are becoming less common.
Varying Job Duties
The duties of a dental assistant can be pretty varied, with no two days being the same. You may greet patients, collect their information, accompany them to the examination room, and prepare them for the exam or treatment. You can also clean dental instruments, take dental x-rays, and fit orthopedic supplies.
Working with People
If you enjoy interacting with people, dental assisting could be the perfect career for you. You interact with other members of the dentist’s office and patients regularly, and you will meet people from a wide range of backgrounds.
Nice Work Environment
A dentist’s office is a calm and quiet workplace. Since it’s a medical facility, the hygiene standards are naturally high. Dental clinics or offices typically don’t get as stressful or messy as some other medical facilities
Career Advancement Opportunities
There are numerous opportunities for advancement in the dental health field. After working as a dental assistant for a while, you may decide to further your education and become a dental hygienist, for example. Moving up in the ranks can significantly increase your earnings.
Cons of Dentist Assistant
Dental assisting, like any other job, has some drawbacks. However, many of these can be avoided by taking the necessary precautions or making wise career choices.
A dental assistant’s job includes cleaning up bodily fluids such as saliva, blood, or pus from patients. It is probably the least enjoyable aspect of being a dental assistant, but if you can handle it or get used to it, you may have a rewarding career ahead of you.
Working Near Mouths
You’re working near the patient’s mouth if you’re assisting a dentist during an exam or procedure. It means you could be subjected to unpleasant odors or extensive dental procedures.
Risk for Pain
Dental assistants frequently sit in awkward or difficult positions while caring for patients, which can cause backaches, headaches, neck pain, or arm and wrist numbness. However, you can avoid this by exercising and stretching regularly.
What Are the Qualities of a Good Dentist?
Dental care is an integral part of overall health, and untreated oral issues can cause symptoms such as pain, infection, or tooth loss. Even if you take preventative measures and have your teeth checked regularly, you should ensure that your dentist is reputable.
Here are eight characteristics to look for when selecting a dentist
Educates Patients: A great dentist strives to educate their patients on proper dental care and the recommended treatments. They encourage their patients to practice good preventative care.
Extensive Knowledge: A great dentist is well-versed in teeth and oral hygiene. They can quickly identify problems and the most effective treatments for them.
New Technology: A great dentist stays up to date on the most recent advancements in dental technology and incorporates new techniques and equipment into their practice.
Continued Education: A great dentist seeks out continuing education opportunities to stay updated on new research and changing technology. They are dedicated to learning and remaining at the cutting edge of the dental industry.
Welcoming Atmosphere: A great dentist has a welcoming atmosphere in their office. Patients are never rushed or made uneasy, and the entire staff is welcoming and helpful.
Patient Involvement: A great dentist involves the patient in treatment decision-making. They give patients access to their records and explain their treatment options. A great dentist understands how important it is for a patient to feel in control of their treatment.
Compassion and honesty: A good dentist is also compassionate and honest. Dental problems can have a wide-ranging impact on a person’s life, and dentists must be sensitive to the issues that can arise from poor dental health.
Communication Skills: One of the most critical skills a dentist can have is strong communication. Dentists educate patients about their diagnosis, treatment, and preventative care. It is part of the job to be able to explain technical information.
What Kinds of Degree are Available in the Field of Dentistry?
There are various types of degrees available in this field.
- Dental anesthesiology is a branch of medicine that focuses on pain management and overall patient well-being during dental procedures.
- Dental public health is concerned with improving a community’s dental health.
- Endodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the pulp within teeth and frequently involves root canals.
- Oral and maxillofacial pathology is the study of mouth diseases using various techniques such as microscopic examinations.
- Oral and maxillofacial radiology study injuries and illnesses using data and imaging technologies such as X-rays.
- Oral and maxillofacial surgery is performing operations on the mouth and surrounding structures.
- Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics are two fields of dentistry that focus on the prevention and correction of misaligned teeth and jaws.
- Pediatric dentistry is concerned with the dental requirements of infants and children.
- Periodontics is the treatment of gum disease.
- Prosthodontics is making dentures and providing other treatments to replace missing or deficient teeth.
What Are the Best Colleges to Pursue a Degree as a Dental Assistant?
BDS students from India who want to work as dentists in the United States can apply for a two-year Advanced Standing Doctor of Dentistry program. Aside from that, some US universities offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in dentistry.
Harvard University is the country’s oldest higher education institution, and the undergraduate college is part of the University. There are 11 other degree-granting institutions, including the highly ranked Business School, Graduate School of Education, Law School, and John F. Kennedy School of Government. Harvard University is ranked first in the list of Best Global Universities.
New York University
New York University is a private university that was established in 1831. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 27,444 (fall 2020) and is located in an urban setting. The academic calendar is semester-based. It has ranked #28 in National Universities in the Best Colleges 2022 edition.
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a college of higher learning. The University’s undergraduate acceptance rate was 7.66 percent, and The total undergraduate and graduate enrollment at the University of Pennsylvania is 26,675 students.
Columbia University is a higher education institution located in New York City. Columbia University in the City of New York has median undergraduate tuition of $57,763, which is $29,263 more than the national average for Doctoral Universities of $28,500.
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
The University of Minnesota—Twin Cities is ranked #68 in National Universities in the Best Colleges 2022 edition. It charges $15,253 for in-state tuition and fees and $33,843 for out-of-state tuition and fees.
University of Southern California Los Angeles
The University of Southern California is a private, all-encompassing institution. USC offers an extraordinary range of academic programs to undergraduates and encourages cross-disciplinary study and research as a major research university. The total undergraduate enrollment at the University of Southern California is 19,606, with a gender distribution of 48 percent male students and 52 percent female students. At this school, 98 percent of students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing, while only 2% live off-campus.
University of North Carolina Chapel Hills
The University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill is a public research university established in 1789. It has a total of 19,399 undergraduate students. The University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill is ranked #28 in National Universities in the Best Colleges 2022 edition. It charges $8,992 for in-state tuition and fees and $36,776 for out-of-state tuition and fees.
What Are the Best Courses to Pursue to Become a Dental Assistant?
Here are some of the best courses to help you improve your skills.
Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us by Coursera-
This six-part course delves into the anatomy and physiology underlying vital signs, allowing you to gain a systematic, integrated understanding of how the body works. Relevant body systems, such as cardiovascular and respiratory, are reviewed, followed by explanations of how the function of these systems affects vital signs. We discuss normal ranges, normal variants, and the mechanisms underlying changes in objective vital sign measurement. In addition, the course includes demonstrations of appropriate techniques for measuring vital signs in yourself and others.
Introduction to Dental Medicine by Coursera-
This course provides an overview of dental medicine to engage, educate, excite, and assist you in improving the oral health of your patients and community members. You will go over topics in dental medicine such as the scope of the field, what to expect in function and some of the many ways that dysfunction can manifest itself in different patients. It will include discussions about the anatomy of the mouth, jaw, and teeth and pathology and treatment.
Implant Dentistry by Coursera-
You will examine clinical cases, diagnose our patients’ needs and expectations, and learn treatment planning principles. Based on current evidence and best practices, you will learn step-by-step surgical procedures for implant placement and other therapeutic techniques. Finally, You will look into significant risks and complications associated with implant procedures, as well as ways to ensure successful treatments and long-lasting implants.
The Oral Cavity: Portal to Health and Disease by Coursera-
The interprofessional relationship between dentistry and medicine will be the focus of this course. Each session will begin with a medical specialist providing a broad overview of a specific disease entity, followed by a dental educator discussing the relevant oral manifestations and implications.
Become a Virtual Assistant by Udemy-
This course is a virtual assistant training program that teaches the technical skills that large corporations and small business owners seek in a virtual assistant. In addition to learning the technical skills required for high-paying jobs, you’ll also learn how to start a Virtual Assistance business, including how to find clients and how much to charge.
Executive Assistants: Managing Client’s Calendar (Beginners) by Udemy-
In this course, you’ll learn how to use all of the available features to provide your clients with flawless calendar management services. Create a Gmail account and a calendar. Create a fictitious client account to practice interacting with a client calendar. Send a request to a client to share a calendar with you; create, edit, and delete one-time events, as well as recurring events. Set up in-person and virtual meetings, calls, and conferences.
OSHA Workplace Safety (General Industry 6 Hr Class) by Udemy-
You will be introduced to general safety requirements that any employee should be aware of and a comprehensive overview of general workplace safety that businesses seek and can require their employees to understand and adhere to. This course’s health and safety programs and procedures are based on federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.ral Health Care for Autistic Children by EDX-This course will teach you how to build trust with children and parents during a dental visit. You will be introduced to evidence-based research and best practices for promoting positive attitudes and behaviors toward oral health care, as well as the use of minimally invasive clinical therapies.
Implant Dentistry by EDX-
You will learn everything there is to know about implant dentistry, covering the entire scope of successful implant practice. One of the primary goals of this course is to assist learners in laying the groundwork for effective and thriving practice in implant dentistry, particularly for practitioners who will soon begin their first steps in implant dentistry.
Oral Health Care for Autistic Children by EDX-
This course will teach you how to build trust with children and parents during a dental visit. You will be introduced to evidence-based research and best practices for promoting positive attitudes and behaviors toward oral health care, as well as the use of minimally invasive clinical therapies.
Dental assistants are an essential part of any dental office. They perform various tasks, from assisting the dentist with procedures to preparing patients and equipment for treatment. If you’re looking for a career in the healthcare field that offers stability and opportunities for growth, becoming a dental assistant may be the right choice for you. With proper training and certification, you can expect to find plenty of job openings in this field, so if you’re wondering whether or not a dental assistant is a good career path.