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Details for Dental Assistants


Assist dentist, set up patient and equipment, and keep records.


  • Prepare patient, sterilize and disinfect instruments, set up instrument trays, prepare materials, and assist dentist during dental procedures.
  • Expose dental diagnostic x-rays.
  • Record treatment information in patient records.
  • Take and record medical and dental histories and vital signs of patients.
  • Provide postoperative instructions prescribed by dentist.
  • Assist dentist in management of medical and dental emergencies.
  • Pour, trim, and polish study casts.
  • Instruct patients in oral hygiene and plaque control programs.
  • Make preliminary impressions for study casts and occlusal registrations for mounting study casts.
  • Clean and polish removable appliances.
  • Clean teeth, using dental instruments.
  • Apply protective coating of fluoride to teeth.
  • Fabricate temporary restorations and custom impressions from preliminary impressions.
  • Schedule appointments, prepare bills and receive payment for dental services, complete insurance forms, and maintain records, manually or using computer.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.


  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.


Related Careers

  • Dental Hygienists
  • Nonfarm Animal Caretakers
  • Orthodontists
  • Prosthodontists
  • Radiologic Technicians
  • Radiologic Technologists
  • Surgical Technologists
Wages for this career
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