Dental Assisting Career Explorer
What they do
Dental assistants help dentists provide quality oral health care, educate patients, prepare and sterilize dental instruments and perform administrative work.
A person in this career:
- Sterilizes instruments and sets up instrument trays
- Takes and records medical/dental histories and vital signs of patients
- Records treatment information in patient records
- Takes and develops dental X-rays/digital images
- Gives dental care instructions to patients
- Makes preliminary impressions of teeth to prepare models
- Pours, trims and polishes models
- Cleans and polishes removable appliances
- Helps dentist manage medical and dental emergencies
- Provides post-operative instructions as prescribed by dentist
Working conditions and physical demands
- Handle loads of up to 10 pounds, sometimes up to 20 pounds. Dental assistants might be required to do a lot of walking or sitting or to use their arms and legs to control equipment or tools.
- Work in this occupation involves using one's hands to hold, control and feel objects more than one-third of the time.
- Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time.
- Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time.
- Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time.
- Work with radiation more than once a month.
Working in this career involves the following physical activities:
- Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
- Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
- Seeing clearly close up
Work hours and travel
- Regular work hours
Career at a Glance
$31,366 to $44,762
Enjoy working with people
Enjoy hands-on patient care
Good problem-solving and communication skills
Reviews patient health
Obtain dental radiographs
Make impressions of teeth and gums
Public health departments