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About Dental Assistants

What Do Dental Assistants Do?

A dental assistant plays a significant role in a dental office. Dental assistants have become essential in supporting dentists during dental treatments and clinical procedures, assisting dental hygienists, dental therapists, and dental lab technicians. Their responsibilities are not limited to handing over instruments and positioning surgery lights.

Here is a list of a dental assistant’s responsibilities:


Sterilize and disinfect instruments, equipments, and clinical areas.

Obtain and update the patient’s dental records and medical history.

Prepare patients and the work area for the procedures.

Check blood pressure and pulse, and collect other vitals as demanded by the dentist.

Conduct and process X-rays, such as two dimensional X-rays or three dimensional X-rays.

Make impressions of patient’s mouth.

Fabricate models and temporary crowns.

Handle lab responsibilities as per the dentist’s direction.

Assist with front-office tasks, billing, payment, and insurance claims.

How Much Do Dental Assistants Make?

The most important concern when you enter a new career or change your career path is the amount you can make in a year. A dental assistant makes a respectable earning annually and the reassuring fact is that the salary brackets broadens every year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a median annual salary of $34,900 ($16.78 per hour) for dental assistants, as of May 2013, with the top 10 percent earning more than $48,350 ($23.25 per hour). Top-paying industries for dental assistants, according to the BLS, were: Specialty hospitals/offices.

Where Do Dental Assistants Work?

Dental assistants often find majority of opportunities at privately-owned dental clinics. Hospitals also recruit dental assistants, especially if the assistants are certified in specialty practices like oral and maxillofacial surgery, endodontics, periodontics, pedodontics. Dental assistants are also required in assisted living institutions and nursing homes to treat patients who are unable to visit the clinic or are bedridden. No matter where a dental assistant works, the fact remains that the workplace is comfortable, clean, and provide a professional environment.

Dental assistants usually work around 30 to 40 hours a week and have the flexibility of opting for full-time or part-time jobs. Some dental assistants even choose to work on weekends or late evenings.