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DENTAL ASSISTING

Why Dental Assisting?
Duties
Education
Program Application Procedures
Employment Opportunities
Earning Potential
National Certification

Del Mar College Dental Assisting Bloodborne Pathogen Policy - Important - Please Read


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Why Dental Assisting?
Dental assisting is both challenging and rewarding. Dental assistants are in growing demand. The working environment is a pleasant people oriented atmosphere providing personal interaction and personal satisfaction of knowing that you really helped someone by providing a valuable health service.

Dental assisting provides: prestige, variety, creativity, flexibility, security, challenges, and respect.

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Duties
The duties of a dental assistant are some of the most comprehensive and varied in a dental office. Both technical and interpersonal skills are required for a successful career. Within the state practice act, skills and tasks vary but some may include:
  • assisting the dentist during a variety of dental treatment procedures
  • taking and developing dental radiographs
  • record keeping and performing office management tasks related to patients and suppliers
  • taking of the health history and vital signs
  • performing as the infection control person and developing the protocol to meet OSHA standards
  • comforting patients
  • providing postoperative instructions
  • teaching oral hygiene instructions to maintain oral health, in order for the patient to keep their teeth and smile for a lifetime

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Education

Education/training needed is relatively short, one year. Dental assistants receive their formal education through academic programs at Community Colleges, Universities, or Dental Schools. Graduates receive a certificate of completion, and then they take the Dental Assisting National Board examination for National Certification.

The degree/certificate prepares the student for certification (CDA) by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and the State Registration (RDA) by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners. (TSBDE)

The degree is designed to meet Texas core curriculum requirements. Upon completion of the degree, the student may elect to transfer to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi or Kingsville to work on a bachelor's degree in Occupational Training and Development and continue toward a Master's degree.

The Certificate in Dental Assisting is designed for students who plan to take the DNAB/RDA exams as a dental assistant but do not have plans on pursuing further educational degrees. This certificate enables graduates to seek immediate employment in the field.

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Employment Opportunities
Dental assistants may be employed in solo practices, group practices, specialty practices, public health, dental school clinics and government dental facilities. Other career opportunities include: insurance companies, vocational/technical schools, teaching others to be assistants, and dental product sales representatives.

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Earning Potential
The salary depends primarily on the responsibilities, geographics, and education. Dental assistants can earn equal to other health care professionals with similar training and experience.

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National Certification
Dental assistants that choose to become Nationally Certified assure the public that they are prepared to assist competently in the provision of dental care. Some states (Texas included) recognize passage of the CDA examination by DANB for radiation health and safety and infection control requirements.

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