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Becoming a dental assistant – requirements and qualifications

Becoming a dental assistant – requirements and qualifications

The profession of a dental assistant is becoming increasingly popular. A dental assistant supports the dental surgeon during dental procedures as his or her right hand. Dental assistants’ duties include the preparation of the necessary dental tools and contact with the patient. For many people, a visit to the dentist brings associations with pain and unpleasant smells. Fortunately, a dental assistant is there to help patients relax and overcome their fear of the dentist – and we’re not talking only about kids.


Contents:

What kind of formal education is required for dental assistants?

What are the professional duties of dental assistants?
Dental assistant vs dental hygienist – what’s the difference?
What do dental surgeons require from their assistants?
Where can you work as a dental assistant?
Professional apparel for dental assistants

Key takeaways:

  • Dental assistants’ tasks include preparing the equipment and materials for procedures, communicating with patients and filling out medical documentation.
  • The good qualities of a dental assistant include good work organisation and stress management as well as communication and teamwork skills.
  • When it comes to specific job requirements, a dental assistant must have at least secondary medical education and be familiar with basic dental procedures and techniques.

What kind of formal education is required for dental assistants?

If you want to become a dental assistant at a dentist’s office, you need to have at least secondary medical education or complete a post-secondary vocational programme for dental assistants. In Poland, this profession is dominated by women, but there are more and more men who decide to take it up as well. 

Every dental assistant should know the rudiments of anatomy and physiology and be familiar with dental procedures. What’s more, dental assistants must continually upskills and update their knowledge about dental procedures and new technologies in dentistry.

What are the professional duties of dental assistants?

Dental assistants frequently accompany dental surgeons at the dental office. The assistant’s professional duties are more or less the same in all clinics, no matter if they are private or public. A dental assistant helps the dentist by taking care of dental instruments: cleaning and disinfecting them, and getting them ready for surgeries. As the very name suggests, dental assistants assist doctors during dental treatments, maintaining order in the room, communicating with the patient and doing the paperwork.

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Dental assistant vs. dental hygienist – what’s the difference?

These two professions differ when it comes to the scope of duties and the required qualifications. A dental assistant helps the dentist during procedures and prepares the necessary instruments and materials, without making any independent decisions. 

A dental hygienist, on the other hand, provides oral health care to patients and is able to perform some procedures related to dental hygiene and oral health. Consequently, this profession requires higher qualifications: to become a dental hygienist, you need to complete special courses and the process of education is longer than in the case of dental assistants.

What do dental surgeons require from their assistants?

Dental assistants face a lot of challenges and requirements at work. First of all, they need to have at least secondary medical education and knowledge of basic dental procedures and techniques. For many dentists, the assistant’s previous experience is also of importance. 

Besides, a competent dental assistant must possess certain soft skills, such as good work organisation and stress management. When choosing a dental assistant, dentists pay attention to teamwork and communication skills, empathy and – above all – a professional approach.

Where can you work as a dental assistant?

A qualified dental assistant can find employment in many places, starting from dental offices or clinics. Other workplaces for professional dental assistants include hospitals with oral and maxillofacial surgery units or companies which manufacture and sell dental equipment and products. 

Trained and experienced dental assistants can also educate the younger generations at medical schools or special courses.

Professional apparel for dental assistants

Assisting the dentist during procedures, preparing the office for patients’ appointments and sorting out medical records – a dental assistant’s work can be intensive. Owing to the nature of this profession, a dental assistant’s uniform should be comfortable and professional in the first place. Medical clothing from UniformShop is addressed not only to doctors, nurses or physiotherapists but also to dental professionals who look for comfort in their outfits. Our online store offers scrubs sets in a number of designs and professional looks as well as in a variety of colours that will cheer up both dental assistants and their patients.

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