Dental assistants work closely with patients and dentists to help provide complete dental care. Before the exam, they sanitize and organize the necessary materials and work area. One-on-one, they may take a patient history, prepare materials for an exam, and assist the dentist by handing him or her the tools necessary to complete the procedure. They may also illustrate basic dental hygiene for patients and explain post-operative care.
Dental Assistant Schools in Massachusetts (MA)
Additional Dental Assistant Responsibilities
Aside from their work with patients and alongside dentists, dental assistants may take x-rays, prepare molds for impressions, or make temporary crowns. Depending on the practice, they may have office duties including filing, maintaining patient records, assisting in bookkeeping and ordering supplies.
Dental assistants spend a lot of time interacting with patients, and working side-by-side with dentists, so employers may look for an affable personality with good people skills. Due to the nature of the work manual dexterity is a necessity.
Massachusetts Dental Assistant Job Outlook & Salary
Employment for dental assistants is expected to grow 36% from now until 2018, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is much faster growth than is projected for all other occupations. Part of the reason for this demand is the baby boomers. Members of the senior population have kept their natural teeth longer than any previous generation, so they will turn to dentists, and dental assistants, to maintain their care.
The median annual wages of dental assistants were $32,380 in May 2008. Starting salaries were at approximately $26K, moving up to $46K with more experience. Most dental assistants work full time.
Massachusetts Dental Assistant Training & State Regulations
The boom in demand for dental assistants has lead employers to look for applicants from acclaimed certificate programs. There are hundreds across the country, offered by community colleges, dental colleges and even in online courses. Each state has its own regulations, so be sure to check those out before you choose a program. Most programs take 1-2 years to complete.
Many dental assistant schools offer financial aid or scholarships. Be sure to check with the school you want to attend.
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