How to Become a Dental Assistant in Texas

How to Become a Dental Assistant in Texas

Wondering how to become a dental assistant in Texas? There are a few positions to choose from, which includes the dental assistant, registered dental assistant, expanded functions dental assistant, and of course the nationally recognized certified dental assistant. There is also a simple radiography requirement to meet if you wish to operate dental x-ray equipment and perform radiography procedures. With that said, here’s how to become a dental assistant in Texas. There’s also info on the dental assistant salary in Texas too.
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How to Become a Dental Assistant in California

How to Become a Dental Assistant in California

The process of becoming a dental assistant in California is fairly straightforward. There are different types of dental assistants you can be, including an unlicensed dental assistant, registered dental assistant, registered dental assistant in extended functions, and of course the nationally certified dental assistant. Here’s how to become a dental assistant in California, with some dental assistant salary figures to survey as well. Continue Reading

How to Become a Dental Assistant in Florida

How to Become a Dental Assistant in Florida

Wondering how to become a dental assistant in Florida? There are essentially three positions you can pursue, which includes the on the job trained dental assistant, expanded functions dental assistant, and of course the nationally recognized certified dental assistant. There are also a few radiography requirements to complete if you are to operate dental x-ray equipment and perform radiography procedures. With that said, here is how to become a dental assistant in Florida, along with some dental assistant salary figures. Continue Reading

Where Can I Get Dental Assistant Training?

Dental Assistant Training

Dental assistant training can be a valuable investment if you’re looking to become a dental assistant, and there are many institutions that offer it. Schools offer formal education and training to fully equip you with the skills and knowledge you’ll need on the job so you’ll be better prepared while minimizing on-the-job training. Not only that but passing an accredited course can help you later on to obtain certification, which helps you earn more and receive extra benefits. Typically dental assistant training teaches you about what your tasks are, including interaction with patients, the skills you will need, and how to help in running the dental office efficiently. Continue Reading

Is Dental Assisting Right For Me?

Is Dental Assisting Right For Me?

You might be wondering ‘Is dental assisting right for me’? Becoming a dental assistant is great if you have the interest and passion. You have to have some quality traits to become a dental assistant and you need to know what the job offers. Being a dental assistant offers a lot of flexibility and variety in what you do. Let’s take a look at what it entails.

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There are many factors of why dental assisting can be the right choice for you. They include:

  • Variety: There is much to love about the job. You will have a number of roles to play and it demands responsibility and good work ethic, making it a rewarding career choice. Your main role is to assist the dentist in making the dental procedure as efficient as possible so there are many functions you can take on.
  • Flexibility: No weekends, no nights, and you can choose to work full-time or part-time depending on your employer which provides for lots of flexibility to work around your schedule.
  • Growth opportunities: Being a dental assistant can be a prerequisite to becoming a dental hygienist or a dentist. It’s a great way to get a look at what it’s like in a dental office and gain valuable experience.
  • Working conditions: Great staff and patients to work with are a positive about being a dental assistant. You will constantly be in an interesting and people-oriented work environment.
  • Job satisfaction: You are taking an active role in helping patients have a better smile. You will interact with patients and it’s a great feeling knowing you’ve helped someone out. And of course a good salary will bring smiles to you as well.
  • Strong job market: Dental assistants are a stable job market and it is an occupation that is growing faster than the average rate of other jobs. There are many openings available and expected to increase even more.
  • Minimal requirements: What’s awesome is that you don’t have to have years of formal education to become a dental assistant; training and education will vary but most states don’t require any. Check out the dental assistant requirements here for individual states.

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Skills You Will Need:

  • Efficiency
  • Good communication skills
  • Attention to detail and ability to focus
  • Good people skills
  • Ability to explain instructions to patients
  • Organizational and office management skills

One drawback of dental assisting is that there are not many advancement opportunities. Besides becoming a registered(RDA) or certified(CDA) dental assistant, there isn’t much more you can do to further your career. Many dental assistants choose later on to pursue other advanced professions in dentistry, namely becoming a dental hygienist or dentist. So hopefully we answered your question of: is dental assisting right for me? If you fit into what the job demands, it will be a highly satisfying and rewarding career.

How to Become a Certified Dental Assistant

How to Become a Certified Dental Assistant

Once you become a dental assistant you might wonder ‘What now?’ A step that will help in the long haul is to become certified by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Certified dental assistants have the potential to make more money than regular dental assistants as they become more appealing to employers, proving that they have the skills needed to be an efficient dental assistant. As you may already know not all states require dental assistants to be certified. It varies from state to state and some states even offer registration and licensing.

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Benefits of Becoming Certified

  • Earn more with a higher salary
  • Gain more trust from employers, staff, and patients
  • Hired more often than non-certified dental assistants
  • Gain more experience and better prepared in dental assisting
  • Given more responsibility and functions

A higher salary and numerous benefits are reason enough to become certified. The reasons far outweigh the effort needed to become certified.

The Step by Step Process

The process of becoming certified requires that you pass an examination to evaluate your knowledge. The DANB administers the exam and becoming a certified dental assistant assures that you are more than capable in providing dental care. You can become certified even if you are registered or not. Some choose to get certified right after dental assistant school.

1. You will be able to take the CDA exam once you have completed a dental assisting program recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation OR have had at least two years/3500 hrs. of on-the-job training as a dental assistant. There are over 300 dental programs accredited by CODA in the US.

2. Become certified for CPR by a DANB-accepted CPR provider.

3. Apply for the CDA exam offered by the DANB. You must first check your eligibility and then fill out the CDA application packet and pay the applicable fees. Within four weeks you will receive instructions on how to schedule for the test. Simply schedule for the exam and pass and you will become a certified dental assistant!

The CDA exam consists of 320 questions broken up into three main sections. It is approximately 4 hours long and between a scale of 100-900 you must score at least 400 to become certified.The 3 sections are:

  • General Chairside Test – 120 questions
  • Radiation Health and Safety – 100 questions
  • Infection Control Test – 100 questions

Passing the CDA exam will signify that you are more than capable of doing your job as a dental assistant and that you have met the highest level of competency in your field.

If you’re interested in getting certified you can learn about certified dental assistant salary.

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What to Expect as a Dental Assistant

What to Expect as a Dental Assistant

Do you know what to expect as a dental assistant? If you’re looking to become a dental assistant but don’t know what goes on in the office here is a general idea. Usually dental assistants are focused on preparing the patient, equipment, and instruments for the dental procedure as well as assisting the dentist. Your job is to increase the efficiency of the dentist in delivering the oral healthcare to the patient. Your duties will vary by state regulations but it will usually be centered around preparation and supporting the dentist. Dental assistants are closely tied to dental hygienists but there is a big difference between them.

On a normal day you can expect to prepare patients for dental treatment by retrieving dental records, taking and exposing x-rays, and making the patients feel as comfortable as possible before, during, and after the procedure. You will have to sterilize and disinfect equipment and prepare them on trays for the dentist for easy access.

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You will also assist the dentist in the procedure by handing them the tools/equipment they need or by getting supplies. The patients’ mouth needs to be dry so you will have to use a suction and when needed you will have to rinse. You might also sometimes remove sutures, apply topical anesthetics, or remove excess cement from the filling process. In some states you might have specialized tasks such as cleaning teeth, applying sealant, or applying fluoride. Afterwards you can expect to provide patients with instructions on how to take care of their teeth after surgery/treatment or teach them proper oral hygiene strategies. You would then schedule a follow-up appointment.

If you have laboratory duties you can expect to make temporary crowns, clean and polish removable appliances, and make cast of the teeth and mouth from impressions.

If you have office duties you can expect to schedule and confirm appointments, receive patients, keep treatment records, send bills and receive payments, and order supplies and materials.

What to expect as a dental assistant when it comes to skills. You will need to:

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  • Work efficiently with dental staff
  • Communicate effectively with patients and dental staff
  • Disinfect dental tools properly
  • Work with patients to provide a good experience
  • Explain dental hygiene and proper care of teeth
  • Stay focused during the dental procedure
  • Attention to detail/listen to the dentist
  • Stay organized/manage the office

Dental Assistant Requirements

Dental Assistant Requirements

There are quite a few potential paths you can take to becoming a dental assistant. For one thing, many states don’t require formal education in order to become a dental assistant; there is no official dental assisting program to refer to as it varies by state. Usually there are three options though, you can either: obtain a one-year certificate or diploma from a certified training program, a two-year associate’s degree in community or technical college, or receive on-the-job training which is what the majority of dental assistants have gone through. In some other states, there is a requirement that assistants pass a recognized training course and possibly a state assessment. But remember, dental assistant requirements differ from state to state.

Dental assistants who do not have formal education in dental assisting may be taught their duties from on-the-job training but those who have gone through certified programs or received education generally receive a higher starting salary and added benefits. Generally, individual states have their own dental laws that regulate what duties dental assistants can perform so be sure you know what you’re getting into. You can learn more about your state’s dental assistant requirements below by clicking on your individual state. Some states require a license/registration or radiography requirements (X-Ray certified). Again, the requirements vary from state to state so if you are already a dental assistant moving to a new state you might have to take courses or complete exams if you wish to continue your career. Make sure you learn about your state’s dental assistant requirements before you pursue the job!

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Go back to the homepage or learn more about requirements here!

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