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Dental Assistants [NOC 3411]

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dental assistants assist dentists during the examination and treatment of patients and perform clerical functions. Dental assistants work primarily in dentists' offices, or they may be employed by government and educational institutions.

Many dental assistants learn their skills on the job, although an increasing number are trained in dental-assisting programs; most programs take 1 year or less to complete.

Dental Assistants
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Dental assistants perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Prepare patients for dental examination and assist the dentist during the examination
  • Sterilize and maintain instruments and equipment
  • Prepare dental instruments and filling materials
  • Educate patients concerning oral hygiene
  • Schedule patient appointments and record dental procedures performed
  • Invoice patients for dental services
  • Order dental and office supplies
  • Take and develop X-rays
  • Polish teeth and clinical crowns and apply fluoride and sealant
  • Take preliminary impressions for diagnostic casts
  • Fabricate temporary crowns and restorations.
Dental assistants may take any of the following sample titles:

certified dental assistant
certified intra-oral dental assistant
dental assistant
dental clinical assistant
dental clinical assistant – military
intra-oral dental assistant
licensed dental assistant
preventive dental assistant
registered dental assistant

In most provinces in Canada, there are two levels of dental assistants: Level I – chair-side assistant and Level II – intra-oral assistant. Progression from Level I to Level II is possible with appropriate training and licensure.

Dental assistants in USA

In the United States, most states do not require formal education or training to become entry-level dental assistants. But there is the Commission on Dental Accreditation which approved 281 dental-assisting training programs in 2009 for those who wish to pursue further education related to being a dental assistant.

Licensure of dental assistants greatly vary among states. The Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) credential, administered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), is recognized or required in more than 37 States.

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