What does a dental assistant do?

Post by Open Colleges on March 19th, 2019

Becoming a Dental Assistant is a great way to enter the medical profession and help people in their day to day lives without the significant time investment required by a full dentistry degree. A Dental Assistant is the person providing the practical care to patients in the chair and is often the one remembered for their kindness and assistance during what can be a traumatic time.

Without a great assistant, a Dentist cannot provide the appropriate level of care expected by patients. Benefits come from a competitive salary around $893 per week, rewarding duties and a strong career outlook with 3,200 job openings every year for the next five years. If you’re interested in the career, here are the things you need to know.

Dental assistant duties

As a Dental Assistant, you’ll enjoy a varied patient-focused role that sees you combine administrative tasks with directly assisting during procedures. You’ll manage patient intake, update patient records, schedule appointments and more. You will help the dentist directly during procedures, sterilise equipment, discuss and promote oral hygiene to patients.

If you want a job where your duties are wide and varied, being a dental assistant is a great way to blend administrative skills with more practical, patient-focused work. It’s a great balance for those who want to interact with people whilst also developing their office-based knowledge.

Dental Assistant skills

As a Dental Assistant you will need a varied suite of skills that will ensure you can carry out the role properly. You will need to possess existing character traits such as patience, whilst also developing new, job-ready skills that will help you enter the career successfully. These include:

  • People skills: you’ll often be the first face a patient sees and be responsible for their care and wellbeing. As such, you need to be a good communicator and have patience with people. The Dentist can be a scary experience for many, so a great assistant has empathy and understanding.
  • Admin skills: You will perform office management tasks such as scheduling appointments and updating records.
  • Technical skills: in addition to the above, you will also need the technical dental knowledge necessary to help a Dentist perform procedures. From assisting with crowns, fillings and extractions through to taking and pouring dental moulds, you must gain the prerequisite technical skills if you’d like to enter this field.

How do I become a Dental Assistant?

If you like the sound of the job and want to progress into the role, the great news is that Dental Assistants do not require the same intensity of study as other medical professions. With an HLT35015 Certificate III in Dental Assisting, you can study to assist Dentists across Australia. To study this course, all you need is to have completed year 10 or equivalent. 

With great workplace satisfaction, a practical route to employment and a secure job sector, there’s never been a better time to become a dental assistant. Visit our course page and enquire today.


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