When looking for a career that has a great job outlook, good salary, and an affordable and flexible training program, it’s well worth your time to consider becoming a dental assistant. Dental assistants are in high demand, earn a competitive salary, and you can begin your career after training for only a few short months.

Female dental assistant working with a dentist who is cleaning a patient's teeth.

What Do Dental Assistants Do?

Dental assistants have a different role than dental hygienists. A dental hygienist will clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral disease, and provide other dental care, while a dental assistant will work with both dentists and dental hygienists to assist with their work. 

Dental assistants will prepare patients for their treatments and ensure they are comfortable. DAs also assist with procedures and oral surgeries, sterilize instruments, maintain inventory for different procedures, make dental impressions, use suction hoses to keep a patient’s mouth dry during procedures, take and process x-rays, and schedule patient appointments. In some states, dental assistants can also apply sealants, fluoride, and topical anesthetic. Dental assistants are very detail-oriented and have good interpersonal, organizational, and listening skills.

How to Become a Dental Assistant

When looking at how to become a dental assistant, there are certain things to consider. The length of training, cost of training, and flexibility of training are all major considerations. A good dental training school will offer flexible classes, such as nights and weekends, transparency on tuition with the availability of financing, and training lengths that will allow students to begin working as a dental assistant quickly. The average salary for a dental assistant is just over $40,000. All that is required to enter training and become a dental assistant is a high school diploma, a GED, or a successful placement assessment exam. 

What Can I Expect from Dental Assistant Training?

With the accelerated programs available, it is possible to become a dental assistant in as little as 12 weeks for an investment in tuition of under $5,000. Dental assistant training is performed under the direction of a dentist, and students can have the opportunity to learn hands-on skills in a functioning dental office. Dental assistant training will typically have small class sizes to allow for maximum student-teacher interaction, which will then ensure a better understanding of the skills and techniques you’ll learn. 

Hands-on training solidifies the techniques that students are required to master and understand, allowing for an easier transition to a successful career. You’ll experience a variety of classes and subject matter while working through dental assistant training including dental anatomy and physiology, dental charting, sterilization and infection control, instrumentation, dental materials, and clinical procedures. 

Students will also have training in x-ray exposure and development. After graduating from a dental assisting training program, students will have a Diploma of Dental Assisting and a Certificate of Completion in Radiology. 

It isn’t always easy to begin a new career. Time and money are often two major obstacles that keep people from making that jump. But when researching what dental assistants do and how to become one, you can see that both the financial and time investment are very reasonable and the reward of a career as a dental assistant is great. We help people just like you reach their career goals everyday. Becoming a dental assistant might be the best thing you ever did, so why wait? Contact South Florida Dental Assisting School to get started right away.