What does a Dental Assistant do?
Dental assistants are responsible for providing the patient with high quality care by performing a variety of office, laboratory, and patient care duties. This usually entails helping the dentist handle patients, instruments, and supplies during the treatment of the teeth, mouth, and gums. Dental assistants also document patient care and take x-rays.
Most dental assistants are Registered Dental Assistants (RDAs). While requirements vary by state, it is common to require the following to become an RDA: completion of an accredited dental assistant program, completion of a minimum number of work hours, certification in CPR, and passing of a practical and written exam. Dental assistants must have strong interpersonal and listening skills.
- Take and document patient dental history and updates, as well as overall health and medication history
- Assist dentist by handling supplies and instruments as requested
- Prepare tables and trays for dentist with necessary instruments and supplies
- Clean and sterilize instruments, and prepare treatment rooms as needed
- Take, expose, and mount high quality dental radiographs
- Ensure appropriate supply of equipment and materials
- Perform patient charting as instructed by the dentist
- Welcome patients and get them situated in the appropriate treatment room
- High school diploma or general education degree (GED) required
- Licensed as a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) or a Registered Dental Assistant in Extended Functions (RDAEF)
- Current CPR certification preferred
- Radiology certification preferred
- 1-2 years of experience as an RDA
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Proven ability to follow outlined policies and guidelines
- Possess a professional and positive attitude