Word of Mouth
October 7, 2005
Careers in Dentistry

While growing up, we’re often encouraged to be a Doctor, Lawyer, Policeman, Nurse or some other high profile professional.

Of course, Dentistry is never mentioned for the Dentist is one to be feared, or so we believed. Gone are the days of scary and uninviting Dental Offices; today they offer one of the most interesting, pleasant and people-oriented work environments. {{more}}

Within these offices are personnel that are versatile and talented, each playing a significant role on the dental team. In the next five articles I want to share some of the careers in Dentistry in hope that I just might inspire someone to venture into this dynamic field.

Dental Assistant

As overshadowed as the dental assistants may be by the dental surgeons, their role goes beyond assisting the dental surgeon and increasing the efficiency in the delivery of care to the patient. They take on significant responsibility as members of the dental team. In addition to assisting in a variety of procedures, they independently take and develop x-rays, sterilize instruments and equipment, take impressions of patients’ teeth, check patients’ blood pressure and pulse when necessary, discuss treatment plans and address queries from patients.

Most assistants receive on-the-job training but formal education is highly recommended. These courses are often short, 9-12 months and offer the option of distance learning. A dental assistant may work with a general dental practitioner, a dental specialist, a hospital or dental school clinic, or use their training as a stepping stone to careers in dental product sales, insurance companies processing dental claims or treatment coordinators in dental offices.

Do you have strong communication skills, are you a quick thinker, an excellent team player, enjoy working with your hands and want a career with responsibilities, then dental assistant may be your forte. It offers variety, sometimes challenging but yet rewarding, demanding versatility and fosters a willingness to assume responsibility for many different tasks. However, at the end of it, there is personal satisfaction knowing you’ve made someone’s dental visit a pleasant one.