Career Description

Dental Assistants perform various patient care, office and laboratory duties in both small and large dental practices. The employment market for Dental Assistants is very good and there is a demand for those with this career training throughout Florida and the nation.

Dental Assistants are responsible for duties such as making patients as comfortable as possible, preparing patients for treatment, and obtaining dental records. During a patient exam, Dental Assistants work chair-side with the Dentist as part of the Dental team. They hand instruments and materials to dentists, and keep patients' mouths clear by using suction or other devices. They also sterilize instruments and equipment, prepare tray setups for dental procedures, and instruct patients on postoperative and general oral health care.

Additionally, with formal training Dental Assistants may perform Expanded Functions such as: prepare materials for making impressions and restorations, expose radiographs, and process dental x-ray film. They also may remove sutures, apply topical anesthetics to gums as well as cavity-preventive agents to teeth, remove excess cement used in restorative procedures, and place rubber dams on the teeth to isolate them for individual treatment. Those with laboratory duties make casts of the teeth and mouth from impressions taken by dentists, clean and polish removable appliances, and make temporary crowns. Dental Assistants with front office duties schedule and confirm appointments, receive patients, keep treatment records, send bills, receive payments, and order dental supplies.

Other Employment Options

Certified Dental Assistants can become educators or work in a broad range of career areas. Trained Dental Assistants work in dental specialty offices such as orthodontics, endodontics, pediatric dentistry, oral surgery and periodontics. Additional employment possibilities include working in dental laboratories, marketing and dental supply sales, insurance, public health and dental practice management.