Dental Assistants

Job Summary

Dental Assistants help dentists in processes such as patient care, instrument usage as well as setting appointments.


Dental Assistants generally carry out the following duties:

  • Greet patients and help them get comfortable in the dental chair

  • Make preparations for the treatment and procedures

  • Ensure that all instruments are sterilized

  • Hand instruments to the dentist on request

  • Keep patient’s mouth dry using suction hoses and other equipment

  • Give patient instructions on good oral hygiene

  • Take x rays and perform other lab duties with direction from the dentist

  • Keep accurate lab and patient dental records

  • Set appointments

  • Work with patients on payments

In most states, dental assistants can perform the following tasks:

Coronal polishing – This is the removal of soft deposits such as plaque from teeth.

Sealant application – Involves the application of a plastic film onto the teeth which helps prevent cavities by blocking food particles and acid-producing bacteria from lodging in the teeth.

Fluoride application – The direct application of fluoride to the teeth also helps prevent cavity development.

Topical anesthetic application – Some dental assistants may be allowed to administer a topical anesthetic to an area in the mouth to temporarily numb it in preparation for dental procedures.



In some states, dental assistants must graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam. In other states, a formal education is not required but individuals are trained on-the-job.


In order to test dental Assistants effectively, employers usually administer the customer service tests, the work ethics personality test, Microsoft basic office test test and the cognitive IQ test. To evaluate applicants personalities, ethical code of conduct and proficiency of basic office tools.


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Dental Assistants

Job Facts

2018 Median Pay
$38,660 per year, $18.59 per hour
Entry level qualification
Post secondary non degree award
Number of jobs in 2016
Expected Growth rate (2016 – 26)