(Closed) Dental Assistant?

posted 8 years ago in Career
Post # 3
Member
2402 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I used to work as a dental assistant. Unfortunately it just wasn’t for me, and I’m going back to school in the fall for nursing.

Overall it can be a good job, but it all depends on what office you work at, and who your boss is. Dentists have a reputation for being a little crazy, and I can definitely say that about 85% of the dentists I have met definitely can be quirky, to put it nicely. There are some horrible dentists to work for, but also some very nice ones. It just depends, but that can be said for every job I guess. I worked at a general office for 2 dentists. One I LOVED working with, the other one not so much. Being a dental assistant, it’s VERY important that you get along with your boss, because you’re going sitting inches away from them all day long during procedures. And they expect you to know all the intruments, materials, how to mix them perfectly, etc. My old dentist boss used to always say that a good dental assistant knows just as much as the dentist. Just don’t give up on finding a good office to work for, because they ARE out there. Some days are stressful, but there were days that were fun and I loved all of our patients. 

Typically a day for me was:

-Setting up operatories for procedures

-Sterilizing instruments

-Taking radiographs (x-rays)

-Taking impressions and pouring models

-Making bleaching trays, retainers, etc.

-Assisting with surgeries, fillings, extractions, crown and bridge preps, root canals, etc.

 

Hope this helped, and let me know if you have anymore questions!

Post # 4
Member
2402 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

P.S. – If you don’t mind working with children & teens, working in an orthodontic office is awesome and more hands on, and generally less stress. It’s very independent because most of the stuff you will be doing on your own, except for putting the actual braces on and taking them off. But you do get to do impressions/molds, change wires, bands, etc. I thought it was a ton of fun, and if I was still in the dental field I would definitely be working in orthodontics.

Post # 6
Member
2402 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

You should be fine! It was challenging, but I didn’t find it too bad. I worked part-time during school (16-24 hours a week) and I did really well in the program. My program was September-May, but we had a month off for winter break.

Post # 7
Member
5762 posts
Bee Keeper

Every state has a list of allowed duties for each profession,so it might be helpful for you to look up the information on your State dental board website. There are many more expanded functions certifications available than ever before, but again, it depends on where you live. If you become certified, you will also need to maintain CE credits.

More than likely part of your training will be doing rotations in various practice settings. That’s where you’ll get to experience firsthand how different practices are run,and what area may interest you.

A good DA will anticipate her Dr.’s every move and is an invaluable asset to a well run dental office. Good luck in your new career!

By The Way…I was an in office trained DA for many years,but am now an RDH (now retired).

Post # 9
Member
6 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@Blondee – as a soon-to-be dentist (finishing up school now!), I sort of resent your “crazy dentist” comment, but I think that what Wifey will see is that the next generation of dentists is getting a different kind of training, more focused on holistic care, and that the “crazy old man dentist” image should be on its way to becoming obsolete in the next few years – especially with more women dentists entering the field!

@Wifey – I can agree with Blondee in that there are dentists who appreciate their assistants and make it a great working environment, and some do not.  Really get a feel for the Dr. and how he/she works.  I personally believe that the dentist should be able to teach you everything that you need to know, and should be ready and willing to do so!  If you need help with radiographs, instruments, etc., the Dr. should be able to explain it to you – I HATE it when dentists feel like they’re exempt from knowing the more minute (yet still important!) tasks that make the office run from day to day.  That being said, definitely pick up on how the Dr. wants his/her office to run, and learn efficiently!  It will make a better environment for you, the Dr., and the patient!  🙂

I love dentistry and I think it’s a rewarding field.  During my years of training I assisted in an all-female office (female Dr., hygienists, assistants, office managers) and I LOVED the environment – it was like a family, it barely felt like we were working!!

Hope it all works out for you!  Good luck!!

Post # 10
Member
5762 posts
Bee Keeper

I don’t think it will change anytime soon, no matter what’s being taught in dental schools today. My dentist is still going strong at 72, and is still quite competent.

Having been in the field for many years, I have to agree that your love for assisting will depend on where you work. Its hard to work in close proximity with someone all day long,so you’d better get along! As in any profession,there are the those who are in it for the money(and you’ll know it pretty quickly), those who take pride in their work, and those where nothing makes them happy except being critical and nasty. You’ll soon learn who is who in your community and what offices to avoid. High turnover rate(as in always advertising for help)? Avoid!! lol

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