Dental assistant 101
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a dental assistant? Sure, you go to the dentist twice a year to get X-rays, fluoride treatments and brand new toothbrushes, but what else goes on behind the scenes?
A dental assistant has a number of daily tasks, ranging from secretarial record keeping to helping out with surgical procedures. Aside from flossing and polishing patients' teeth, these workers are responsible for instructing patients on dental hygiene and maintenance, and preventing them from experiencing excessive plaque buildup and potential gum disease.
Similar to nurses, dental assistants provide a personal touch to healthcare, making patients feel as comfortable as possible during routine or emergency procedures.
Still not sure if this career is for you? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental assistants make an average of $33,500 annually and between 2010 and 2020, this profession is expected to grow by 31 percent.
In order to become a dental assistant, some states will require you to take an accredited program and examination, while others do not demand formal education. Once in a dental facility, however, the learning never stops, and many assistants go back to school to pursue a full-time career as a dentist.