A dental assistant helps deliver oral health care services to patients by assisting dentists and dental hygienists in a variety of procedures. This may include instructing patients on properly maintaining oral hygiene, preparing the instruments used during dental procedures, taking impressions of teeth for creating dental casts, and other routine procedures. A dental assistant often helps schedule appointments, maintain records, and bill patients as well.
While it does require some training, studying to become a dental assistant takes a relatively short amount of time. It generally takes less than one year to complete a dental assisting certificate. A two year associate degree in dental assisting is also available.
A career in dental assisting provides many opportunities for people interested in directly helping others in the health care profession. It is a fast growing field that is expected to continue to grow for many more years.