The rise in demand for oral hygiene in the United States hasn’t only opened up doors for more dentists, but dentist assistants too are profiting from the rise in demand. With a booming industry to back it, a career as a dental assistant is seeing more and more advancement opportunities opening up. Dental assistant are required for a variety of tasks including patient care, work in the laboratory and clerical work. A dental assistant’s job begins as soon as the patient walks in, after comforting the patient and handing the doctor the patient’s records the patient is prepared for treatment. The dental assistant then works alongside the dentist as he examines the patient, providing all the necessary materials and instruments, while also performing some basic procedures such as suction to keep the patients mouth clear. Additionally the assistant also disinfects and sterilizes the equipment and instruments, prepare the trays and inform the patient about basic oral healthcare and things to do after an operation. For well-experienced dental assistants there are a number of dental assistant opportunities available.
Some dental assistants become involved in more procedures as they gain knowledge and experience. For example some assistants prepare restoration and impression materials and are even involved in the taking and processing of dental x-rays. For those looking for further responsibilities there are openings in the removing of sutures, making casts using impressions, or even making temporary crowns. Others get more involved in the logistics of the organization and maintain patient records, appointments and order dental supplies.
Others can opt to continue their education and choose a career path as a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists receive many more responsibilities, including examining a patient’s teeth and gums and then giving their opinion on any abnormalities or disease. They also handle the removal of any deposits, plaque, stains or calculus and are involved in providing other oral healthcare. Some are even involved in conducting diagnostic tests in the clinic and laboratory. There are many other opportunities for advancement also available, including becoming occupational therapist aides, medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, physical therapist assistants or can even choose to continue their education and become dentists.
The field is expected to grow at an above average rate over the next decade, meaning that their career advancement opportunities are plentiful. With the demand for healthcare services constantly on the rise, there are many openings for dental assistants. Fueled by employment growth and a fast turnover rate through the retirement of old dental assistants and the number who switch careers, there are many job openings. The best part is that as dental healthcare keeps improving, people tend to keep their teeth for even longer, meaning that older people are now retaining their teeth and demanding further dental care. The number of patients is thus consistently on the rise and career opportunities for dental assistants are looking very good.