Just about 10 years ago, very few people could have desired to become dental assistants instead of being lawyers within the American states. But as thing turn out with time, it seems people ought to have done the exact opposite. The Bureau of Labour Statistics report of last year ranked specialized Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons and Radiologists far much higher than the salaries of average lawyers per annum. This means, though the requirements for being dental assistants are very few, this particular career pays better than most careers today. According to the report, the states of New Hampshire and Alaska are the highest paying states for dental assistants in the entire country. An average dental assistant in New Hampshire is paid a staggering $21.43 per hour.
So, who is a Dental Assistant?
A dental assistant (also known as a dentist’s third hand) is a person who offers aid to the professional dentist while carrying out dentistry operations. Dental assistants are entrusted with simple tasks like preparing the patients, sterilizing the dentistry tools among many other tasks. In many states, dental assistants are also permitted to carry out simple radiological operations. Even so, in some states, it is mandatory for professional dental assistants need to be certified with particular certifications before performing radiological operations.
The General Tasks of a Dental Assistant:
Dental Assistants form a fundamental component of the dentistry family. All their tasks can be summarized into the main function of aiding dentists. To perform this, dental assistants may be compelled to do the following:
- Conducting dental x-rays and additional radiological operations.
- Enquiring of a patient’s past dental records and checking of the pulse rates and blood pressure.
- If working under the Infection Control Officers, one may be asked to sterilize equipment to be used as well as develop the procedure for infection control.
- Comforting the patients during the entire exercise of dental operation.
- Offering patients with directions to oral consideration taken after surgery or other dental treatment. For example, the case of teeth refilling or just cleaning.
- Educating the patients with hygienic strategies to conserve good oral hygiene. E.g. brushing teeth after meals.
- Perform the basic and regular office tasks like communicating with patients, confirming appointments, ordering medicines, contacting suppliers and many others.
- Offering one-on-one dental aid to all dental specialists.
Dental Assistant Salary
The total incomes of a dental assistant in America vary greatly from state to state. But what causes this great variation is the level of education/certification and the experience level. Going by the National Bureau of Labour Statistics, at least, all dental assistants are to earn a minimum of $11 per hour. The annual payment rates for dental assistants are:
- Average lowest payment Rates: $24,580.
- Average medium payment Rates: $35,390.
- Average highest payment Rates: $49,540.
Average Dental Assistant Salary by States in The US
Common Education/certifications for high rated CDAs in America:
The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) is the main certification body in America. The following national certifications are the most accepted certifications in almost all states.
- The Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam certified by DANB. Alternatively, some states conduct local state-radiation examination tests of similar equivalence. (For radiological practices).
In addition to the RHS certification, one should consider the following specialities certifications by DANB:
- National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA).
- Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).
- Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA).
- Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA).
- Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA).
In addition to the above national certification, one can consider local state specific examinations that earn one better reputation in the dental assistance career. Some of the states like New Hampshire, Washington DC, California, Alaska, and New Jersey among many other states conduct internal examinations for their dental assistants.
In addition to the certifications, the dental assistant needs to have a working experience of at least 2 years in order to gain accreditation as high-rated dentists in most states.
Note: As dental assistants, one must always strive to build reputation on good morals. Acts that violate the legal requirements not only earns one bad reputation, but also risks losing the employment and licensure on permanent basis in most states.
The Qualities of a Good Dental Assistant:
Certification is not enough. In order for one to qualify as an unmatched dental assistant, he/she has to strive to acquire the following exemplary working skills:
- Have exceptional communication skills (both oral and written).
- Be observant: as most of the dentistry jobs require outstanding capabilities in observation.
- Have a passion for practical tasks. Dentistry often requires interactivity with medical devices.
- Be compassionate: one of the main tasks of dental assistants is to comfort the patients, as such, one may require a great degree of compassion for his/her clients.
Benefits of undertaking the Dental Assistance career:
Diversity: Dental assistants are permitted to aid in different specialities like the maxillofacial surgery, radiologists, orthodontic dentists etc. This offers them an opportunity to be part of various departments with almost similar qualifications.
Perfect working conditions: Dental assistants are often subjected to interact with patients and offer some additional help to professional dentists. Thus, they often meet lovely and conducive environments for working.
Flexibility: Dental assistants sell more than hot cakes. As such, it is possible for one to grasp a job as part-time dental assistants with additional allowances.
Satisfaction: Most importantly, it satisfies one of a “job well done”. This owes to the fact that most Dental assistants feel pleased when they take part in saving lives or aiding someone with dental problems. This reason and not the alarm perhaps is the motivation that wakes up all professional dental assistants at each dawn.
Conclusion: America is a world-class land of “gold”. Even so, in our current generation, more and more people risk facing dental problems. It even shocks that, about 85 million American citizens do lack access to proper dental care. As such, a move to become a dental assistant in any degree of service is more than just a job. It becomes a life-saving career. As such, it could be encouraging if more and more people seek to join this great family of dental assistants.