The Definitive Dental Assistant FAQ

The Definitive Dental Assistant FAQ

This is THE definitive dental assistant FAQ that is meant to help address the most frequently asked questions people have. If you are interested in dental assisting and want your questions answered as concisely as possible, you might want to browse this resource.

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Dental Assistant Cover Letter

Dental Assistant Cover Letter

A dental assistant cover letter is a very important part of your resume. Don’t forget to include it! Whereas a resume displays professionalism by listing your qualifications, the cover letter is meant to show a bit of your personality (we’re assuming you have one). The cover letter is meant to introduce you to your potential employer, explaining your purpose for writing, letting them know a few of your skills and experiences, and asking for an opportunity for a personal interview. Since the dental assistant cover letter is your introduction to an employer, it is critical that you leave a good first impression in order to stand out from the crowd from the get go. A cover letter says everything that you can’t include in your resume and is your chance to come off as a real person (we’re assuming you are). This article will explain how to format, review, and research for an effective dental assistant cover letter.

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How to Write a Dental Assistant Cover Letter

Your cover letter should be short, sweet, and to the point. It should be no longer than one page and one to three paragraphs is recommended. The more concise you make it the more likely it will be read by an employer and not skipped over and chucked into the heap of waiting resumes. The more you ramble the less likely it will be read. And be sure to make it personal by giving the employer an idea of what you are like.

The first paragraph should be an introduction, presenting yourself and the reason you are writing. The body should discuss goals, skills, and experiences. List these things in short bullet points. Make it interesting so that you will stand out like a sore thumb (which in this case is good). Finally conclude the letter by referring the employer to your resume and indicate that you would like the chance for an interview. Give any additional information and thank the employer for their consideration.

Some Key Points:

  • List skills and abilities in bullet form
  • No longer than one page
  • Show your personality, make yourself stand out
  • List your selling points in an easy to read manner
  • Thank the employer at the end


Format of a Dental Assistant Cover Letter

Below are two examples of the format of a dental assistant cover letter. There are more online that you can take a look at too. You need to make sure the cover letter is part of a killer resume as well, so that you can attract employers left and right.

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cover-letter-format dental assistant cover letter format

It should be along the lines of this:



TITLE OF RECIPIENT (Hiring manager if you don’t know)


OPENING PARAGRAPH: The reason you are writing and basic information about yourself

BODY: List your skills, qualifications, achievements, etc. Explain anything that you would not be able to in your resume

CONCLUSION: Ask for an opportunity to come in for an interview and refer the employer to your resume



Below are two examples of a cover letter.

dental assistant cover letter exampledental assistant cover letter example

Dental Assistant Resume

Dental Assistant Resume

You already a dental assistant resume is important in the job search process, right? How else are you going to show that you are capable of working hard? Just like with any other job the main goal of your resume is to show your employer that you have the necessary skills, experience, qualifications, and knowledge to do the job well. Your dental assistant resume is going to be what makes the first impression for your employer so you want to be sure it is perfect and compelling enough that your best side will shine through. Luckily for you we provide all the information you need to know about designing your own personal resume so that you can start making heads turn.

**Before you start your dental assistant resume you are going to want a rough draft of all your personal details like work history, education, and professional experience. You are also going to want to research what your potential employer is looking for so you can mention it in your resume.**

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How to Write a Dental Assistant Resume

Your resume is going to be composed of several parts. They are as follows:

Contact information: The very top of your resume should have your name and any important contact information. This should include a working telephone number (either your home, cellular, or both), home address, and an email address you check regularly.

Objective: Some say listing an objective is optional but it is up to you. If you can stand out in this section then by all means include it. This is intended to describe the reason(s) you are applying to the dental office and how you can help benefit the facility. It can highlight your core strengths and goals although this can be added to a separate section. You could also state your aims and ambitions here.

Education/Qualifications: This section is pretty explanatory. You will want to list all the education you have received in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. List dental programs, schools/educational institutes and their location, dates of graduation, subject/s studied, and professional qualifications. Also mention whether you have certification or licensure.

Work Experience: Next up is all your work experience, also listed in reverse chronological order. You are going to want to write the names of offices, locations of previous jobs, phone numbers of employers, duration and dates of employment, and job duties you were in charge of. Outline the specific responsibilities you held.

Try to have your previous work experience related to the occupation of dental assistant. You will also want to distinguish yourself from the crowd by mentioning achievements or how you added value to your previous jobs. An example is demonstrating how you showed initiative to help improve the workplace. Try to use action verbs that show your talent and usefulness.

Skills: This section will also be very beneficial to your dental assistant resume. Skills such as computer proficiency or excellent customer service are invaluable to the dental office. If you don’t know much about computers take time to learn basic programs such as Microsoft Office, MS Word, Power Point, and especially Excel. You’ll see that they’ll pay off a lot in the future.

Achievements: This section gives you a lot of leeway in what you write down. You can add personal achievements that make you proud or things you did in your previous jobs that helped boost efficiency or resolved problems.

Strengths and Goals: If you did not add your strengths and goals to the objectives section or you withheld from adding an objectives section altogether then this will be the place to add it. You can let your potential employer know a little bit about your personality and ambitions here. Be honest in this section and showcase that you have the ability to do your job well.

Keywords: Keywords have to do more with what employers are looking for in a dental assistant resume and should always be included in order to focus on relevance for the position. Relevant keywords help identify whether applicants would be suitable candidates. Some examples include “mixing fillings,” “customer service,” and others that are listed in the job ad. Go over what the employer is looking for and sprinkle a few keywords throughout.

Below are some dental assistant resume examples. There are more online that you should spend time looking over. You can also learn how to write a killer resume here.

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dental assistant resume dental assistant resume


And below you can find dental assistant resume samples to use as guidance.

dental assistant resume template dental assistant resume template

The Do’s and Don’ts of a Dental Assistant Resume

  • Prepare a tailored resume for each employer
  • Be brief and concise; list your most important points and use powerful words
  • Use the past tense for previous occupations and present tense for current jobs
  • No grammar or spelling mistakes
  • Give a phone number and email you actually use
  • Printing your resume on high-quality paper and use simple, elegant fonts
  • List previous experiences that you can show proof of
  • Avoid using first person pronouns
  • Don’t lie or overstate your qualifications
  • Don’t use illegible or fancy fonts
  • Don’t rely on spell check; proofread manually
  • Avoid including personal information such as marital status, hobbies, and age
  • Including month and year is enough for dates, you don’t need the exact day

So apply for that dental assistant job and once you’ve scored an interview you can blow your competitors out of the water with these tips.

How To Become a Dental Assistant

By now you’re probably excited about starting a career in one of the fastest growing fields in the US. With a growth rate of 31% between 2010-2020 what’s not to love? Not only are chances of getting hired easier but it is one of the most stable job markets out there (closely related to medical assisting and certified nurse assisting). But you probably want to know exactly how to become a dental assistant right? Well it can be difficult not knowing where to start but we will explain the entire process here. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

How To Become a Dental Assistant

There are a couple of routes you can take on how to become a dental assistant. In most states there are no formal requirements to become an assistant besides having a high school diploma or GED. But even if there are no requirements many people that want to become dental assistants decide to get formal training in order to have a better chance of getting hired and staying hired. So you have two options: either find a job that offers on the job training or attend formal training to receive a degree/certificate. We’ll explain what you need to do for either option. But you should check your state’s requirements first.

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On the Job Training

1. Earn your high school diploma or GED. This is an obvious step when applying for almost any job. A diploma or GED are mandatory on how to become a dental assistant.

2. Check your state’s requirements for dental assisting. As we’ve discussed many states do not have formal requirements but some do. Check the DANB for what your state requires.

3. Find a job that offers on the job training. Once you’re ready you can start looking around for jobs. Jobs that offer on the job training are harder to find nowadays but they are out there. Check out our site’s job search for assistance and contact offices to find out whether or not they offer it. If you need some interview tips you can check out this article.

Formal Dental Assistant Training

1. Earn your high school diploma or GED. Again this is a basic requirement for most jobs.

2. Check your state’s requirements. Not all states have the same requirements. Some have different standards to be met by state law.

3. Find the right dental assisting program. Some programs run for 9 months to a year and graduates receive a certificate upon completion. Other programs run for about two years and are offered by trade schools and community colleges. Graduates receive a degree upon completion. Make sure the program is ADA approved.

4. Start looking for a job. Once you have all your requirements met the final step is to look for a job. Armed with your new certificate/degree you will have a better chance of getting hired over your other competitors. Look here to learn how to write your resume and dental assistant cover letter.

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And that’s all there is to it on how to become a dental assistant. It’s pretty straightforward for the most part. For an even better advantage in the field (including a higher salary and more benefits) you can look into getting certified.

5 Interview Tips for Dental Assistants

So you just scored an interview to become a dental assistant, your employers have reviewed your killer resume and cover letter and they like what they see. But the battle isn’t over yet! You sparked their interest now go in for the kill! You are going to have to impress your employer and show that you are a good match for the office, so how do you go about doing that? What can you expect from your interview and how can you increase your chances of getting the job? Here are 5 interview tips for dental assistants.

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5 Interview Tips for Dental Assistants

1. Show You Are a Team Player

Almost all dental offices will try to find out whether you are a team player or not. You need to prove that you can work efficiently and effectively with others. DON’T be the “lone wolf”, your role is to cooperate with everyone to help make the dental procedure as efficient as possible. Show that you are able to work and communicate with others smoothly and you’re golden.

2. Common Questions

Common questions will include some along the lines of “What can you offer to this office?” and “What are your weak points and strong points?” and “Why do you want to become a dental assistant in the first place?” Don’t try to lie or it will come to bite you in the butt later, be honest and show that you can be an indispensable employee to the office. As mentioned above bring in the point that you are a HUGE team player and point out ALL your experience and skills. Show that you have a great attitude that can help keep the work environment positive and that you will find no problem in keeping the office running efficiently. For general interview questions check out this resource.

3. Personality

Just like in any other job interview, you need to be confident. Every employer is looking for confidence in possible candidates and the only way you will be confident is by preparing for the interview beforehand. However, in dental assisting you will need to show a little bit more of what makes you stand out. Demonstrate that you are reliable with attendance, attentiveness, work ethics, and knowledgeable in your field. Bring in letters of recommendation to give further proof.


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4. Demonstrate That You’re Worth More Than Gold

Remember, the role of a dental assistant is to make the dental procedure as efficient as possible. Most offices are looking for ways to cut costs these days and they are always looking for those people who can do multiple tasks for them. The more efficient and reliable you are the more valuable you will be to the practice. Prove that you are that special person, highlight your skills and assets. Be that one employee that the office would rather have than 10 mediocre ones.

5. More Experience = Higher % of Getting Hired

Dental offices are primarily looking for experience in dental assisting and the duties you will be performing. Employers look for chairside experience, laboratory experience (making casts of teeth, temporary crowns, etc.), office/administrative experience, experience in dental records, and experience with preparatory dental procedures. The more experience and training you have, the better you will fare in your interview.

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If you take these interview tips for dental assistants in mind your chances of getting the job will be significantly increased. If your employers find you a qualified candidate they will call you in for a second day for a “working interview”. Here you will be able to show your skills and experience. If you get called in for a work interview chances are you are going to get the job (if you don’t, blame the economy!) Good luck!