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dental assistant career options

so you’ve decided to pursue a career as a dental assistant, but you’re wondering what options you’ll have once entering the field. whether you consider your temperament tame or you have a more adventurous spirit, here’s a look at some of the many paths your dental assistant degree can take you.

what does a dental assistant do?

it’s important to note that your dental assistant duties might vary by practice. in most settings, you’ll likely be tackling both administrative and patient prep. before we get into the various options you’ll have as a dental assistant graduate, let’s take a look at some of the basic duties of a dental assistant.

  • maintaining patient records
  • preparing patients for procedures
  • assisting dentists during exams and procedures by handing instruments
  • instrument sterilization
  • appointment scheduling
  • patient education
  • ensuring patient comfort

where do dental assistants work?

as a dental assistant, many graduates find employment in traditional dental practices, but there are often opportunities to work in specialized dental care practices such as:

oral and maxillofacial surgery: teeth removal and correction of facial deformities

orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics: teeth straitening with braces or other measures

endodontics: root canal treatment

periodontics: treatment of gum problems

prosthodontics: replacement of lost teeth

pediatric dentistry: treatment of children

nontraditional settings

if you are interested in a career that affords out-of-the-ordinary ways to help people, you might be surprised to know that becoming a dental assistant can offer that, too. it is worth noting that nontraditional practice settings are not for everyone. when it is a good fit, these alternative career options can offer dental assistants rewarding and uplifting experiences.

public health: as a public health dental assistant, you could help provide services to undeserved populations in various communities, both domestically and abroad. dental assistants in public health careers often play a critical role in helping educate individuals about proper oral healthcare.

armed forces:  you can serve your country and see the world as military dental assistant. dental assistants in the military provide care to soldiers and their families at u.s. military bases across the globe. this role may also support dental teams that treat remote communities around the world that lack access to modern dental care.

prisons: preventive care for inmates is on the rise, and this includes dental care. in many states there is a demand for dental assistants in prison systems.  if you have a desire to help all individuals, regardless of their criminal activities and believe all individuals are entitled to quality dental care, this role could be for you. known to have a higher rate of pay due to the increased risk of injury and communicable diseases than in other dental facilities, many dental assistants still feel safe in this role due to the strict safety protocols in place.

dental assisting jobs allow dentists and other dental care providers to focus more on patient health. every successful practitioner needs great assistants in order to excel. as a dental assistant, your career can help you fulfill your desire to help others. this can mean those in your local community or those in need across the globe. ready to start working toward your dental assistant degree? call our little rock campus at 501-380-0764 or our new orleans campus at 504-736-0654 for insight on upcoming classes, financial aid assistance and scholarship opportunities or click here.

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