Great Jobs KC

Dental Assistant

What is it?

A dental assistant plays a crucial role in supporting dentists by performing a variety of clinical and administrative tasks in a dental office. Their duties contribute directly to patient care, ensuring a smooth and efficient dental experience for everyone.

Here’s a breakdown of the key responsibilities of a dental assistant:

Chairside Assistance:

  • Preparing the treatment area: Dental assistants set up the dental operatory for each patient, ensuring all necessary instruments, equipment, and materials are readily available for the dentist.
  • Assisting the dentist during procedures: They work closely with the dentist during patient procedures, handing them instruments, suctioning fluids, and retracting the patient’s cheek and tongue to provide clear access to the treatment area.
  • Sterilization and infection control: Maintaining a sterile environment is crucial. Dental assistants clean and disinfect instruments and equipment after each use, following established protocols to prevent the spread of infection.

Patient Care and Communication:

  • Greeting and seating patients: Dental assistants welcome patients to the office, schedule appointments, and update patient information. They may also answer basic questions and address any concerns patients might have.
  • Preparing patients for procedures: They take x-rays, help patients rinse their mouths put on protective gear, and ensure their comfort throughout the procedure.
  • Providing post-operative instructions: After a procedure, dental assistants may explain post-operative care instructions to patients, such as pain management and dietary restrictions.

Additional responsibilities may include:

some cases, dental assistants may assist with creating dental impressions, pouring models, and mixing dental materials for procedures like fillings and crowns.

They may manage dental supplies, restocking equipment and materials as needed.

Dental assistants may perform various administrative tasks, such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, and managing patient billing and insurance.

* Salary Range

$37,100 - $50,300

(entry level – experienced)

* Regional Jobs Available


(3 year forecast)

Length of Training

19-28 weeks

Type of Training

In Person

Is it Right For You?

Here are some essential skills and qualities for success as a dental assistant:

  • Attention to detail and accuracy: Ensuring accurate information, proper sterilization, and efficient assistance during procedures is crucial.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills: Effective communication with patients, dentists, and other dental professionals is essential for building rapport, providing clear instructions, and ensuring a positive experience for everyone.
  • Organizational skills and time management: Managing multiple tasks, appointments, and patient needs efficiently is important.
  • Dexterity and hand-eye coordination: Assisting with dental procedures requires good hand-eye coordination and the ability to handle instruments with precision.
  • Compassion and empathy: Providing patients with a comfortable and reassuring dental experience is important, especially for individuals with dental anxiety.

Overall, dental assistants play a vital role in the dental care field by supporting dentists and contributing to a positive patient experience. It’s a rewarding career path for individuals seeking to work in a fast-paced healthcare environment, interact with patients, and contribute to their oral health.

* Pay Range Data: Occupational Employment Wages Statistics (OEWS). 2023-Q3.
* Demand: Forecast data is based off national projections provided by the BoLS and adapted for regional growth patterns by Chmura.