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Updated by Meagan Hollman on Oct 23, 2013
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5 Things You Need to Be a Dental Assistant

Dental assisting is swiftly becoming one of the most popular jobs in the United States. Because of its high demand, dental assisting has a great job outlook, decent hours and good pay. As health care increases, so will this job’s prospects. Learn what you need to become a dental assistant.

1

People Skills.

People Skills.

Dental assistants work closely with patients, helping them schedule appointments, prepping them for with their visit with the dentist and sometimes educating them on oral health practices. You must be friendly, respectful and mindful of patient needs.

2

A Certificate or Degree.

A Certificate or Degree.

This is not a prerequisite for all dental practices; however, you are more likely to get hired with a higher starting wage if you already have training. Having a degree from a dental assisting college will put you ahead of the curve, opening doors of opportunity and pay raises. A dental assisting college will not only train you in the duties of a dental assistant, but will give you confidence and professionalism. Some dental assisting colleges even provide job placement upon graduation, so you won’t have to jump through hoops to get a job.

3

A Steady Stomach.

A Steady Stomach.

This job requires you to work chair side, assisting the dentist with his or her patient. Spit, drool and saliva, though gross, shouldn’t make you gag.

4

Communication Skills.

Communication Skills.

Dental assistants are often required to educate patients on dental procedures and oral health. It is important that you speak clearly and use comprehensible language for both adults and children.

5

Humility.

Humility.

Dental assistants work under the supervision of the dentist. You must be able to take orders and follow directions without taking offense or sitting on a high horse. Your job is to assist the dentist. However, that doesn’t mean your skills are worthless. Many dental assistants have the opportunity to increase their knowledge under the direction of the dentist. Think of it as a master-apprentice relationship.