What Do Dental Assistants Do?

Learn about what a career in dentistry can do for you

Dental Assistants & The Modern Dental Office

Dental assisting is a growing and in-demand profession that is integral to the efficient operation of the modern dental office. Dental assistants aid dentists and dental hygienists throughout exams, cleanings, and procedures. They also do administrative work to ensure the office as a whole is operating properly and patient needs are being met.

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The role of a dental assistant is centered around the patient. Whether chairside or at the front desk, dental assistants work directly with patients and help ensure they get the care they need. By showing empathy, listening, and building trust, dental assistants are at the core of the relationship patients have with the office as a whole. The emphasis on helping patients and making them comfortable is just one part of what can make this profession so rewarding.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are a dental assistant's primary responsibilities?

    While the work assigned to dental assistants can vary from person to person and practice to practice, a dental assistant can expect to work closely with doctors and front office staff. Working with doctors involves sterilizing and organizing equipment, assisting during procedures, and other tasks associated with exams and surgeries performed in the office. Many dental assistants also welcome patients to the office after the front office staff calls them up for their appointment and may perform some administrative work as well.

  • How many days a week do dental assistants work?

    The schedule of almost every dental office is different, but expect to work approximately 40 hours per week like other full-time jobs. Many practices close, at least to the public, on one weekday. Some offer limited weekend hours to allow patients flexible scheduling or to have built-in time for dental emergencies. These weekend hours can be in addition to or instead of weekday availability.

  • What is the career path for a dental assistant?

    Dental assistants have the opportunity to obtain additional certifications so that they can perform a wider range of tasks. As they acquire more knowledge and experience, some dental assistants pursue other careers in dentistry like becoming dental hygienists, office administrators, lab or equipment technicians, dentists, and more. Working as a dental assistant first is the fastest way to really get a sense of the options with dentistry overall so that career change within the dental field is made with first-hand knowledge of what that role entails.

  • How are dental assistants different from dental hygienists?

    A dental assistant and a dental hygienist are both important members of a dental team, but they have different roles and responsibilities. A dental assistant typically works alongside a dentist, helping with patient care and performing administrative tasks. They may assist with procedures, take X-rays, and sterilize instruments. In contrast, a dental hygienist is responsible for cleaning teeth and providing preventive care, such as fluoride treatments and oral health education. They also assess patients’ oral health and screen for oral diseases. While both professions require formal education and training, the roles of a dental assistant and dental hygienist are distinct and require different skills and knowledge.

More Questions or Ready to Enroll?

We know that embarking on a new career path isn't easy that's why we encourage all prospective students to ask every question they have, no matter the topic so that they can enroll with complete confidence in their decision. Please reach out to us with any questions, or to begin enrollment, today!

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NXT LVL Dental Assistant School

6740 S. Fort Apache, STE. 110
Las Vegas, NV 89148



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