How to Become a Dental Assistant
If you are passionate about helping people enjoy clean and healthy teeth, then why not explore a career as a dental assistant? Want to find out more about this essential career path? See how you can enjoy a career as a dental assistant below.
What Does a Dental Assistant Do?
Having a beautiful smile is something that everyone wants, and as a dental assistant (also known as a dental nurse) you will work in a dental practice and help people achieve just that.
Assisting the dentist, you will be involved in dental surgeries, advising clients on dental care, carrying out pre and post op preparation as well as assisting the dentist during oral surgeries. There are a variety of duties you will take on, but you will play a key role in the healthcare of your patients and help them to be happy and healthy.
Dental Assistants work with dentists to care for clients, helping them enjoy a healthy mouth and a great smile. Day to day, dental assistants will help with dental procedures, general check ups, operations, providing general oral care, taking molds and conducting x rays. Dental assistants work in dental surgeries, and some of their daily duties include:
What Qualifications do Dental Assistants Need?
By attaining a Dental Assistant Diploma, you’ll be able to pursue employment at general dental practices, dental hospitals and private practices and more. If you want to get formal training on the job to become a registered dental assistant, or you are preparing to apply for a Bachelor’s degree in Dental Nursing, you can also enroll on distance learning courses to help progress your career.
You can also undertake distance learning certificate programs either full time or part time, and they will teach you the basics of dentistry.
You can train to become a registered dental assistant through a diploma or degree. You can also get on the job training to become a trainee dental assistant. As an entry level dental assistant trainee, you will be able to engage in most of the basic duties of a dental assistant. However, in order to become a fully certified dental assistant, you will need to complete a course approved by the General Dental Council.
What Skills are Needed to Become a Dental Assistant
Alongside the practical and theoretical knowledge you will learn through your course or on the job training, there are some essential skills which are key to working as a dental assistant. Some of these skills include:
Excellent communication skills
Friendly disposition and good interpersonal skills
Organisational and time management skills
Empathy and compassion
Ability to pay close attention to detail
Ability to keep calm under pressure
Team working skills
Does Becoming a Dental Assistant Need Any Work Experience?
As a trainee dental nurse, you won’t necessarily need work experience, as you will gain dental assistant training on the job. However, if you want to become a certified dental nurse, your dental assisting program (diploma or degree) will have integrated work placements for you to gain practical experience in a dental office. Through your studies and practical training, you will gain experience and knowledge in all areas of dental nursing including patient care, preventive oral hygiene, coronal polishing, sealants, fluoride use and anesthetic usage.
If you want to get ahead of the competition when applying for a degree or diploma however, then getting any experience in a healthcare setting will prove useful. This will also improve your job outlook following the completion of your course, as you will have practical experience in a medical environment. If you are able to shadow a dental nurse, or work as a receptionist in a dentist’s office, this will also increase your job prospects.
What Are the Career Prospects for a Dental Assistant?
As a dental assistant, there is the potential to increase your duties and specialties in areas such as radiography and therefore increase your earning potential. You can also explore other job opportunities in other areas of dentistry, for example you can undertake training to become a dental hygienist, dental therapist or orthodontic therapist. You can also move into medical administration and get into office management, or move into teaching and become a university lecturer in dental nursing.
Having a dental assistant job can be challenging, as you will need to be on the ball all of the time, whether that is whilst assisting in surgery or taking accurate patient notes. However, you will also have a huge impact on the lives of your patients, playing a key role in their health and happiness, as well as ensuring they feel comfortable and reassured during visits.
Want to know more about this interesting career path? Take a look at what we have to offer, and find out how we can help you get started on your education journey today.
Browse Healthcare Courses Now!