Pros and Cons of being a Dental Assistant

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You've seen them in action as you've likely been to the dentists office dozens of times in the course of your lifetime. Some may be friendly, some terse and rigid, but all accomplish the same task. They help keep the teeth of our nation healthy, providing preventative maintenance that keeps us pain free! Because of the experiences, you've had in the dentist office, or maybe even your interest in the health field, you might have decided to look into dental assistant jobs. Well, there are things you should know about this important industry.

As a dental assistant, you would be required to do a number of things for patients on a daily basis that cover a wide variety of skill sets. Dental assistant jobs might require you to be an office assistant, using your computer and organizational skills to help schedule appointments or work out patient payments. Along with this is the need for you to have great communication and customer facing skills. The success of the dentist's office depends on the ability of the dental assistant to provide friendly, prompt service when it comes to tasks such as scheduling and payment details and preparing patient dental records. As a dental assistant, you would also be required to do things such as sterilizing instruments and making sure, they are placed in the proper order for the dental examination.

Advanced dental assistants, known sometimes as dental hygienists, are also required to be the first line of defense in preventative maintenance by screening first time patients, administering teeth cleanings and also scouting a patient for potential problems before the dentist even sits down to look at the patient himself. The benefits of dental assistant jobs are that they allow you do these functions in such a way that the job stays fresh and exciting.

Dental assistant jobs may require various ranges of education and training. For the most part, a two-year degree in biology, chemistry, health and office administration are par for the course, but practical experience can be picked up as a temporary dental job in clinics or dentist offices provided the work you are doing does not require a license by law. Some community colleges offer these types of two-year dental assisting jobs programs, and some can even be finished in 6-8 months. Depending on the supervising dentist, you may be allowed to accept more responsibility once you show competency in dealing with patients, routine office duties, and general reliability. As each dentist office is different, someone applying for dental assisting jobs should be aware that there will be a learning curve and should have the kind of flexibility a dentist needs.

For the part of dental assisting jobs that require office administration, a good working knowledge of computer applications, is required. Having some math and numbers skills is also required as you may be asked to file dental claims and balance a customer's running bill based on what their insurance will cover.

One of the best things about dental assistant jobs is the work environment as well as the fact that dental assisting jobs are needed in every city in the US. Imagine being able to pick any city with the knowledge that there would likely be a position for you there. The dental office is generally clean and well lit, filled with polite, professional people who are on time and ready to assist you in your own job and who encourage teamwork. Dental assistant jobs require some safety precautions such as eye protection, gloves, and other protective clothing. Aside from those standard safety precautions, dental assisting jobs are in a pleasing and safe environment. In addition, many dental assisting jobs can be done part time with variable hours or even as temporary dental jobs!

The prospects for dental assistant jobs are excellent! Dental assistant jobs are expected to grow 29% from now until the year 2016, which is one of the highest growth rates of any job! General population growth, retention of teeth by middle-aged people and a continual focus on preventative dental care are fueling this surge in dental assistant jobs. In addition, the new brand of dentists, are much more likely to hire people for dental assistant jobs than "old school" dentists. Having adequate and competent dental assistants allows the dentist to focus on important procedures. There are dental offices that are willing to provide on the job training although many require some additional education before hiring someone. Many dental assistants, who have been in the field for a long period-of-time, may move on to other health related jobs, thus allowing for more opportunities in dental assistant jobs.

The salary for dental assistant jobs as compared to the education required to attain dental assistant jobs is quite appealing. While starting out one may expect to make $9-10.00 per hour, but those who show competency and make use of their years of experience can make as high as $20.00 per hour! While working as a dental assistant it is possible to attain additional education to become a dental hygienist, some of which may be reimbursed by the current employer. Other benefits will vary depending on the office or employer.

If you are interested in a health profession that is growing, well paying, and offers, potential for future higher-paying jobs, then dental assistant jobs are worth looking into. The pros are many and the cons are few to none.
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