Dental Assistants

dental surgery.webp
$44,820 Median Wage (2022)
55,100 Projected job openings (2022-2032)
6.90% Projected growth (2022-2032)

Perform limited clinical duties under the direction of a dentist. Clinical duties may include equipment preparation and sterilization, preparing patients for treatment, assisting the dentist during treatment, and providing patients with instructions for oral healthcare procedures. May perform administrative duties such as scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding information for insurance purposes.

Experience Requirements Overview

  • Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
  • Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
  • Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
  • Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Education, Training and Experience

Required Level of Education: Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)

Related Work Experience: Over 1 year, up to and including 2 years

On-Site or In-Plant Training: Over 6 months, up to and including 1 year

On-the-Job Training: Over 6 months, up to and including 1 year

Detailed Work Activities

  • Operate medical equipment.
  • Maintain medical records.
  • Inventory medical supplies or equipment.
  • Make patient-assistive devices or device models.
  • Fit patients for assistive devices.
  • Clean medical equipment.
  • Prepare medical instruments or equipment for use.
  • Assist practitioners to perform medical procedures.
  • Interview patients to gather medical information.
  • Record vital statistics or other health information.
  • Explain technical medical information to patients.
  • Teach medical procedures or medical equipment use to patients.
  • Administer basic health care or medical treatments.
  • Schedule patient procedures or appointments.
  • Process medical billing information.

Work Values

Achievement

Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

Working Conditions

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Recognition

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Relationships

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Support

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

Independence

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Tasks

  • Expose dental diagnostic x-rays.
  • Provide postoperative instructions prescribed by dentist.
  • Prepare patient, sterilize or disinfect instruments, set up instrument trays, prepare materials, or assist dentist during dental procedures.
  • Record treatment information in patient records.
  • Assist dentist in management of medical or dental emergencies.
  • Order and monitor dental supplies and equipment inventory.
  • Instruct patients in oral hygiene and plaque control programs.
  • Take and record medical and dental histories and vital signs of patients.
  • Apply protective coating of fluoride to teeth.
  • Schedule appointments, prepare bills and receive payment for dental services, complete insurance forms, and maintain records, manually or using computer.
  • Make preliminary impressions for study casts and occlusal registrations for mounting study casts.
  • Pour, trim, and polish study casts.
  • Fabricate temporary restorations or custom impressions from preliminary impressions.
  • Clean and polish removable appliances.
  • Clean teeth, using dental instruments.
  • Fabricate and fit orthodontic appliances and materials for patients, such as retainers, wires, or bands.

Work Styles

Achievement/Effort

Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Persistence

Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Initiative

Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Leadership

Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Cooperation

Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

Concern for Others

Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

Social Orientation

Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Self-Control

Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

Stress Tolerance

Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

Adaptability/Flexibility

Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Dependability

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

Attention to Detail

Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Integrity

Job requires being honest and ethical.

Independence

Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

Innovation

Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Analytical Thinking

Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Data Source: This page includes information from the O*NET 28.0 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA. This page includes Employment Projections program, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.