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What is a Dental Assistant?

So, you are thinking about a career as a dental assistant.

Well, that’s awesome!

The question is, do you have what it takes?

Keep reading to find out more…

If you are interested in becoming a dental assistant, you are in good company. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the workforce is made up of 332,000 dental assistants in the United States.

So, is there any room left for you?

Great question!

And the answer is yes.

Employment of dental assistants is projected to grow by 19 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur for a number of reasons.

Ongoing research linking oral health and general health will continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services. Dentists will continue to hire dental assistants to complete routine tasks, allowing the dentist to work more efficiently. As dental practices grow, more dental assistants will be needed.

As the large baby-boom population ages, and as people keep more of their original teeth than did previous generations, the need to maintain and treat teeth will continue to increase the need for dental care.

Who is becoming a dental assistant?

According to datausa.io, the dental assistant workforce is 94% female.

What personal qualities and characteristics make a good dental assistant?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following qualities are important to have as a dental assistant.

Detail oriented. Dental assistants must follow specific rules and protocols, such as infection control procedures when helping dentists treat patients. Assistants also must be aware of what tasks they are allowed to complete in the state where they work.

Dexterity. Dental assistants must be good at working with their hands. They generally work in tight quarters on a small part of the body, using very precise tools and instruments.

Interpersonal skills. Dental assistants must work closely with dentists and patients. Sometimes patients are in extreme pain and/or mental distress, so the assistant should be sensitive to their emotions.

Listening skills. Dental assistants must listen to patients and other healthcare workers. They need to follow directions from a dentist or dental hygienist so they can help treat patients and do tasks, such as taking x rays.

Organizational skills. Dental assistants should have excellent organizational skills. They should have the correct tools in place for a dentist or dental hygienist to use when treating a patient.

The bottom line: If becoming a dental assistant is something you feel passionately about, the one word of advice we will give you is: Go for it!