Help Play A Vital Role In Dental Care - Dental Assisting Degree

The comedian Phyllis Diller once said that a smile is a curve that sets everything straight, but for many people a little dental work is required before they will feel comfortable smiling. Unfortunately, going to the dentist is a very stressful and intimidating experience for a lot of people. If you would like to help make the experience a little more comfortable for them, while also making sure that the dentist can work with optimum efficiency, then a dental assisting degree is a good start. It is a great career choice for anyone who wants to work in the healthcare industry and truly care about helping others. As a dental assistant the role you play could turn a potentially terrifying experience for some people into a comfortable one, which is why there is such a demand for people who are good in this position.

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Dental Assisting Degree Information

Associate Degree Programs in Dental Assisting

Dental Assisting is usually available as a concentration when doing an Associate of Applied Science in Health Science program. Over the course of this two year program you will typically cover course topics such as dental anatomy, dental fundamentals, dental chairside assisting, dental materials, medical terminology and community health. associate degree programs cover a lot of the same topics as certificate programs, but are usually much more in-depth.

Bachelors Degree Programs in Dental Assisting

Generally there aren’t any bachelors degree programs that focus on dental assisting. At this level most of the bachelor’s degree programs that are available center around dental hygiene. Completing this type of degree can be a good step if you would like to become a dental hygienist after gaining experience while working as a dental assistant. Bachelor’s degree programs usually take about four years to complete and can prepare you for additional responsibilities as well as a higher salary potential.

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Dental Assisting Degree FAQ

Can I Earn A Dental Assisting Degree Online?

There are programs available that enable you to complete all the theory elements of your dental assisting degree in an online format. However, most of these courses are hybrid as you will also need to complete the laboratory portions on-campus. This is because dental assisting is a very hands-on profession and experience is essential when working with the type of equipment that you will be using.

What Are Some of The Qualities Needed By Dental Assistants?

Because dental assistants typically have to follow very specific protocols and rules it is important that you are very detail oriented. Dexterity is equally important as you’ll be working with your hands a lot and usually in quite tight quarters. With good organizational skills you will be better at assisting the dentist or dental hygienist while good interpersonal skills are essential for dealing with clients who might be experiencing a lot of stress or even pain. Good listening skills are a must as you need to follow the directions given to you by the dentist or dental hygienist. Being fit is another advantage due to the fact that you might be spending a lot of time on your feet while leaning over a patient. Finally and most importantly, you should be able to be comfortable around bodily fluids as the cleaning of blood and puss is usually the responsibility of the dental assistants. This can be something that takes a while to get used to, but it is a vital part of the job and essential for the hygiene and safety of the patients.

What Type of Duties Are Performed By Dental Assistants?

When working as a dental assistant your duties will usually depend on your state as well as the office where you are employed. However, dental assistants usually perform a variety of duties. These can include ensuring the comfort of patients when they sit in the dental chair, the preparation of patients and the work area and the sterilization of dental instruments. During procedures you will typically also be required to assist the dentist with tasks such as handing them instruments or keeping the mouths of patients dry. Additional duties may include record keeping, patient appointment scheduling and billing as well as payment work. Certain states also allow dental assistants to perform procedures such as coronal polishing, fluoride application and the application of topical anesthetic. However, for these states additional requirements are usually in place, such as being licensed, registered or even holding a Dental Assisting National Board certification.

What Are The Typical Working Conditions For Dental Assistants?

Dental assistants generally have very favorable working conditions. When working in a dental clinic you can typically expect a professional, clean working environment with a serene atmosphere. In most cases the work schedule is also great as working nights or weekends are rare. While most dental assistants are employed at specialty dental practices, there are also other career paths that can be followed. These include working as sales representatives for companies specializing in dental supplies or as lab technicians.

What Is The Median Annual Wage For The Occupation?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics published figures in 2015 indicating that the median annual wage for dental assistants was about $35,980 per year. This means that those working in this industry earned between $24,950 and $50,660 per year. The job outlook for dental assistants is also very positive with a projected growth of about 18 percent until 2024. This is much faster than the average growth rate for all other occupations, so it is a very lucrative industry to work in if you care about job security. As a dental assistant you can also continue your studies and earn a dental hygienist degree in order to increase your earning potential and career prospects.

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