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Dental Assistant



Perform the many tasks that make a dental office run smoothly.

Salary Range

$31,160 - $46,000

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

What does a Dental Assistant do?

A dental assistant is a dentist’s trusted sidekick. You perform a wide range of duties at the dentist’s discretion and act as his or her second pair of hands during surgical dental procedures.

Typical tasks include cleaning and sterilizing equipment, prepping patients before they are seen by the dentist, and handling administrative tasks like setting appointments, mailing bills, and ordering office supplies.

As a dental assistant, expect to spend much of your time communicating directly with patients. You often answer phones and discuss aftercare instructions. You get up close and personal if you’re tasked with removing sutures or suctioning saliva during routine exams.

Some dental assistants are also assigned more technical duties like processing x-rays and making molds of teeth. If you are the type of person who is passionate about healthcare and likes workdays that are divided into a variety of tasks, this job is perfect for you.

Dental assistant positions are generally considered entry-level jobs, but that does not mean they are not important. Think of a dentist’s office like a mouth. Molars, incisors, and canines all serve different purposes that allow you to properly chew food. If any of those teeth goes missing, a simple bodily function turns into a difficult chore.

In the same way, you make the dentist’s office run like a well-oiled machine. You do this by tackling support assignments the dentist simply cannot do because he or she has to care for patients. The goal is to assist your dentist so seamlessly that he or she misses you when you are gone.

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