What Are the Job Responsibilities of a Dental Assistant?

a dentist and dental assistant examining a male patient’s mouth during an appointment

Are you currently enrolled in a hands-on dental assisting school? Unsure exactly what you can expect to do on a daily basis as a dental assistant? You’re not alone. Fortunately, professional schools and ample training will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to understand and be ready for what life will be like working in a dental office. Read on to find out what job responsibilities fall under the title of “dental assistant” and why you can get excited about your future career.

Job Expectations: What You’ll Be Doing

While enrolled in dental assistant classes, you’ll learn everything from basic terminology to the different roles individuals play within a dental office to the types of duties you’ll be expected to perform. It should come as no surprise that as a dental assistant, you will be knowledgeable in a variety of areas, both clinical and administrative. Some of the most common job responsibilities of a dental assistant include:

  • Helping patients by scheduling appointments
  • Assisting with billing and filing dental insurance paperwork
  • Inquiring about a patient’s medical history
  • Assisting the dentist during procedures and exams
  • Offering helpful tips and recommendations to patients as it pertains to oral hygiene at home
  • Maintaining inventory for the dental office and ordering supplies when necessary
  • Sanitizing and cleaning dental instruments
  • Exposing and reviewing dental X-rays

A Typical Day for a Dental Assistant

Where you work will depend on the type of responsibilities you take on; however, because most dental assistants find themselves as part of a team within a local practice, your day might look something like the following:

  1. Arriving 30 minutes to one hour before the office opens to prepare the examination rooms and set up dental equipment.
  2. Sterilizing all dental instruments and preparing the materials on the trays for hygienists and dentists to use.
  3. Greeting patients and recording any changes in their dental or medical history.
  4. Assisting the dentist during treatment and/or a procedure by providing the correct instrument when needed.
  5. Providing patients with instructions as it pertains to recovery at home or how to improve oral hygiene habits in-between appointments.

If necessary, you may also find yourself helping a patient become familiar with their oral device as well as assisting in their initial fitting (i.e. retainer). You will also be expected to capture any X-Rays as well as use additional equipment that produces necessary images to help the dentist when preparing a treatment plan.

When a patient leaves, you will also assist in many administrative tasks, such as billing, scheduling appointments, processing insurance forms, and updating patient records. At the end of the day, you will be responsible for managing inventory and ordering any supplies.

Apart from the day-to-day responsibilities, it’s important to remember that as a dental assistant, you are to help patients maintain a level of comfort during this visit. This may include helping an individual remain calm if they are experiencing dental anxiety as well as listening closely to their concerns and questions.

About Dental Assistant Pro
For more than 25 years, Dental Assistant Pro has been providing aspiring dental assistants with essential knowledge and hands-on skills learning. Our philosophy is the best dental assisting training should be taught in a dental office at an affordable cost, so why not take a chance and enroll in our 10-week course schedule? It’s now more affordable than ever to become a dental assistant! To learn more about us, visit our website or call (614) 202-3919.

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