New Orleans
Baton Rouge
Shreveport
Metairie
Lafayette
Lake Charles
Kenner
Bossier City
Monroe
Alexandria
Marrero
New Iberia
Houma
Chalmette
Laplace
Slidell
Terrytown
Opelousas
Harvey
Ruston

LA - Louisiana

Portland
Lewiston
Bangor
South Portland
Auburn
Biddeford
Augusta
Saco
Westbrook
Waterville
Brunswick
Sanford
Presque Isle
Bath
Brewer
Old Orchard Beach
Caribou
Orono
Old Town
Winslow

MA - Maine

Baltimore
Columbia
Silver Spring
Dundalk
Wheaton-Glenmont
Ellicott City
Germantown
Bethesda
Frederick
Gaithersburg
Towson
Bowie
Aspen Hill
Rockville
Potomac
Catonsville
Bel Air South
Essex
Glen Burnie
North Bethesda

MY - Maryland

Boston
Worcester
Springfield
Lowell
Cambridge
Brockton
New Bedford
Fall River
Lynn
Quincy
Newton
Somerville
Lawrence
Framingham
Waltham
Haverhill
Brookline
Malden
Taunton
Medford

MS - Massachusetts

Minneapolis
St Paul
Duluth
Rochester
Bloomington
Brooklyn Park
Plymouth
Eagan
Coon Rapids
Burnsville
St Cloud
Eden Prairie
Minnetonka
Maple Grove
Edina
Woodbury
Apple Valley
Blaine
St Louis Park
Lakeville

MN - Minnesota

Jackson
Gulfport
Biloxi
Hattiesburg
Greenville
Meridian
Tupelo
Southaven
Vicksburg
Pascagoula
Columbus
Clinton
Pearl
Starkville
Olive Branch
Clarksdale
Ridgeland
Natchez
Greenwood
Laurel

MS - Mississippi

Kansas City
St Louis
Springfield
Independence
Columbia
St Joseph
Lee's Summit
St Charles
St Peters
Florissant
Blue Springs
Chesterfield
O'Fallon
Joplin
Jefferson City
University City
Cape Girardeau
Oakville
Wildwood
Ballwin - MI - Missouri

Billings
Missoula
Great Falls
Butte-Silver Bow
Bozeman
Helena
Kalispell
Havre
Anaconda-Deer Lodge
Miles City
Helena Valley Southeast
Helena Valley West Central
Livingston
Laurel
Evergreen
Lewistown
Belgrade
Orchard Homes
Whitefish -MO - Montana

Wilmington
Dover
Newark
Pike Creek
Bear
Brookside
Hockessin
Glasgow
Claymont
North Star
Wilmington Manor
Milford
Seaford
Middletown
Edgemoor
Elsmere
Smyrna
New Castle
Georgetown
Laurel - Delaware

Honolulu
Hilo
Kailua
Kaneohe
Waipahu
Pearl City
Waimalu
Mililani Town
Kahului
Kihei
Wahiawa
Ewa Beach
Schofield Barracks
Halawa
Makakilo City
Wailuku - Hawaii - Hi

 

Dental Assistant Careers

A career as a “dental assistant” is exactly what it sounds like: dental assistants work closely with supervising dentists and assist them with the day-to-day tasks of a dentist's office. Oftentimes, dental assistants are confused with dental hygienists, who are licensed to do different types of dental tasks, such as cleaning and examining dental patients' teeth and gums. A dental hygienist requires a higher level of education and certification than a dental assistant.

The Roles Played by Dental Assistants

Unlike a dental hygienist, a dental assistant does not generally clean or examine teeth and gums. Typically, a dental assistant prepares the patient for the visit by the dentist, by performing such tasks as finding a patient's dental records, making the patient comfortable in the dental chair, and taking and processing dental x-rays. Dental assistants sometimes do have some duties directly related with the patient's teeth and gums, such as removing sutures, applying topical anesthetics, and removing excess cement during the filling process.

For dental procedures, the dental assistant first sterilizes all the dentist's instruments, and lays these out for the dentist. During the procedure, the dental assistant is often right by the dentist's side, handing him or her instruments and keeping the patient's mount dry by using suction. After the dental procedure, it is often the dental assistant, rather than the dentist him/herself, who provides the patient with the needed education for a swift and complication-free recovery.

Some dental assistants have more laboratory duties, while other assistants are assigned more office-oriented duties. Dental assistants who aide the dentist with lab work might make molds of patients' teeth, make temporary crowns, or clean and polish removable dental appliances for patients. Dental assistants assigned more office-oriented duties are most likely to be responsible for scheduling appointments, calling patients, billing patients, and ordering dental supplies.

 

Becoming a Dental Assistant

Dental assistants do not require a special degree or certification, although some dental assistants choose to advance their careers by seeking further education or special certifications. Usually, dental assistants are at least high school or junior college graduates who get most of their training on the job. Dentists take the time to train their new assistants in dental vocabulary and procedures, teaching them their job duties as they go. In such cases, it is not unusual for dental assistants to take several months to feel entirely comfortable with their job duties.

However, increasingly community colleges, junior colleges, and vocational schools are offering specific courses designed for dental assistants. As of 2006, the American Dental Association's Dental Accreditation program accredited 269 programs across the United States for dental assistants. The vast majority of these programs take less than a year to complete, and lead to certification as a dental assistant. There are other, non-accredited programs, primarily operated by private trade schools, which are only 4 to 6 months in duration.

Because all dentists have slightly different ways of doing things, even dental assistants who complete an accredited course are often still trained further in the specifics of the office they have been hired into.

In some states, dental assistants are required to be licensed. This means that they must pass an exam, which sometimes is only a written exam, but sometimes includes both written and practical aspects. In states that require licensure, check to see what programs in the state meet the requirements for licensing. In the case of working as a dental assistant in a state requiring a license, dental assistants must usually maintain their license through continuing education courses every few years.

Job Prospects And Compensation For Dental Assistants

As of 2007, the median salary for a dental assistant was $31,550. In the next ten years, the number of dental assistants working in the United States is expected to grow by nearly 30%, meaning that the chances of finding a job as a dental assistant, having graduated from an accredited program, is quite high.

 

 


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