According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “dental assistants perform a variety of patient care, office, and laboratory duties. They sterilize and disinfect instruments and equipment, prepare and lay out the instruments and materials required to treat each patient, and obtain and update patients' dental records. Assistants make patients comfortable in the dental chair and prepare them for treatment. During dental procedures, assistants work alongside the dentist to provide assistance. They hand instruments and materials to dentists and keep patients' mouths dry and clear by using suction hoses or other devices. They also instruct patients on postoperative and general oral health care.
Dental assistants may prepare materials for impressions and restorations, and process dental x rays as directed by a dentist. They also may remove sutures, apply topical anesthetics to gums or cavity-preventive agents to teeth, remove excess cement used in the filling process, and place dental dams to isolate teeth for treatment. Many States are expanding dental assistants' duties to include tasks such as coronal polishing and restorative dentistry functions for those assistants who meet specific training and experience requirements. Dental assistants with laboratory duties make casts of the teeth and mouth from impressions, clean and polish removable appliances, and make temporary crowns. Those with office duties schedule and confirm appointments, receive patients, keep treatment records, send bills, receive payments, and order dental supplies and materials.”
Education for dental assisting can be achieved in a variety of ways. There are some 2-year programs that offer an associates degree at accredited universities. 1-year programs offer certificates or diplomas in addition to radiology certification. There are also some assistants who are trained at the dental office and received no formal education or skills training. Our Dental Assisting Program in Oregon offers a simple 13 week course and awards all our graduates with CPR certification, a diploma, and all the procedures necessary to obtain licensure through the third pathway of the DANB . We are proud to offer a concentrated program that offers all the skills training and certification necessary to find a job and be a desired addition to any dental office. Feel free to check out our website for more information and a look at our past graduates and their testimonials. We look forward to helping you achieve a great education towards a stable and rewarding career!