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Career Paths

Completing training in Dental Assisting may originally seem like it leads to just one straightforward job, but there’s more to it – it can open the door to various rewarding and long-term careers in the overall field of dentistry! To get started, all you need to do is take the first step and sign up for Dental Assistant Pro. You’ll be surprised by how many amazing opportunities are available.

Possible career paths available to Dental Assistants include the following:

Dental Assistant

Smiling woman in dental exam room

Dental Assistants are critical elements for the success of any dentist's office. Entry level Dental Assistants typically earn $12 ~ $14 an hour. More experienced Dental Assistants can earn up to $30 an hour, depending on what part of the country they're practicing in.

Certified Dental Assistant

Smiling male dental assistant and femal patient

To become a Certified Dental Assistant, you must work as a Dental Assistant fulltime for a period of one year. After that time, you can take the DANB national test for Certified Dental Assistants. This will allow you to enter into a higher level of pay due to your knowledge and experience level. Certified Dental Assistants are responsible for a number of clinical and office duties.

Expanded Function Dental Assistant

Smiling dental assistant at front desk

Besides the regular duties of a Dental Assistant, the Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA), is licensed by the state to place sealants and different types of fillings. To obtain this license, you must be a Certified Dental Assistant and work full-time as a Dental Assistant for at least two years. This is your highest level of employment for dental assisting.

Dental Assistant Instructor

Dental assistant and instructor at computer

A Dental Assistant Instructor is responsible for educating students on the basics of the Dental Assistant industry. It is their responsibility to educate, train, and inform students on such topics as:

  • Radiology
  • Names and uses for important dental tools
  • Patient interaction
  • Dental record keeping
  • Hands-on instruction

Dental Assistant experience is required to become a Dental Assistant Instructor, like those employed by Dental Assistant Pro.

Dental Office Business Team Administrator

Two dental patients talking to smiling person at front desk

The Dental Business Team Administrators are responsible for scheduling patient appointments, managing finances, and record keeping. They are also responsible for tracking patient payments, insurance information, and filed insurance claims. The Business team plays a major role in building relationship, since they usually have the initial contact with new patients. Dentists love having a business team member that has a dental assisting background.

The Dental Business Team Administrator must be familiar with the following:

  • Office computer skills
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Dental terminology and procedures
  • Filing and bookkeeping

Dental Sales Representative

Smiling woman on phone

Dental Sales Representatives have challenging but rewarding job. They are responsible for making sure dental offices receive the equipment, supplies, and technology they need to stay up-to-date in the ever-changing dental field. Sales Reps work closely with dentists and their staff to determine what their needs are and make sure the proper supplies are delivered on time.

Dental Sales Representatives must be:

  • Familiar with sales techniques
  • Proficient in dental terminology and equipment
  • Understand the needs of dental offices
  • Present a confident, friendly manner

Dental Hygienist

Smiling male dental hygienist

Dental hygienists clean patients’ teeth and provide other preventive dental care. They also examine patients' teeth and gums to determine the patient's overall oral health. Dental hygienists have an assortment of tools at their disposal that they must be proficient in using. Hygienists use X-ray machines to examine teeth and jaws and use models of teeth to explain oral hygiene.

It helps to have Dental Assistant training when applying to dental hygiene school. The hygiene school understands that you have basic dental knowledge and that you are well aware of what goes on in a dental office. This Dental Assistant program will help you get accepted into a dental hygiene program.

To be a Dental Hygienist, you must:

  • Be familiar with dental terminology
  • Have confidence in your ability to provide excellent oral health care
  • Be proficient in technology and equipment such as X-Ray machines and other tools

Dental Consultant

Man and woman talking at computer

Dental consultants are people who oversee a dental practice and make recommendations on how to improve the practice. They train the doctor and staff on systems that add value and efficiency to the practice.

To become a Dental Consultant, you must:

  • Be familiar with dental office procedures
  • Know dental terminology
  • Understand the dental team office dynamics
  • Be an effective communicator

Dentist

Dentist treating patient

Dentists diagnose and treat teeth and gums, as well as provide advice on proper oral health care. They provide instruction on diet, brushing, flossing, the use of fluorides, and other aspects of dental care. They remove tooth decay, fill cavities, examine X-rays, place protective plastic sealants on children's teeth, straighten teeth, and repair fractured teeth. They also perform corrective surgery on gums and supporting bones to treat gum disease. Dentists extract teeth and make models and measurements for dentures to replace missing teeth. They also administer anesthetics and write prescriptions for antibiotics and other medications.

Some dentists started their dental careers as dental assistants! They found that they enjoyed the profession so much they went on to dental school.