Dental Assistant

Students will learn as a Dental Assistant’s main job is to prepare a dental office for patient visits, though he/she may also take up small jobs like organizing files, reading and developing x-rays, and preparing dental molds and tooth impressions. Performing these tasks allows the dentist and hygienist to focus more exclusively on patient care. Assistants rarely have formal dental training but do typically become quite knowledgeable about common procedures and practices while on the job.

When needed, they can play a more active role in patient care – though the bulk of their work is usually done “behind the scenes.” One of the most common assistant duties is preparing exam rooms by setting out instruments and ensuring general cleanliness (check to be sure that all tools are both present and operational, for instance, and will make sure that supplies like toothpaste, fluoride rinse, and plastic gloves are in stock). After an exam, the assistant is usually the person responsible for cleaning and re-setting the space. This normally involves sterilizing all equipment used as well as general dusting, sweeping, and sometimes mopping. At the end of the day, assistants typically shut off all appliances and close down the office.