Are you considering a career in dental assisting? If so, there are things to think about.
Do you enjoy helping others?
Many of our patients would rather be anywhere else than in our chair. They may have dental fears from childhood. We need to meet them where they are and help them through the experience. Showing kindness to our patients can help them feel more at ease. If this is something you can see yourself doing, continue reading.
Tasks for the dental assistant
There is no way to list every task that the dental assistant does everyday. He or she is involved in almost every aspect of dental business. Some of them are:
- Taking vital signs and health history
- Taking, mounting and processing radiographs (certification required in OHIO)
- Knowing dental terminology and charting
- Performing administrative tasks
- Ordering dental supplies
- Calling for repairs on equipment
- Taking impressions and preparing study models
- Assisting dentist or other members of the dental team in all aspects of dentistry
- Completing insurance claims
- Coronal Polishing (certification required in OHIO)
- Working together as a team
No wonder the dentist relies on the assistant so much. The assistant keeps the dentist on schedule by letting them know where they are needed next.
What can a dental assistant expect in the way of a salary?
There are many things to think about when we ask this question. First, we must look at location. Some areas simply pay more than others. Offices just 15 minutes apart will often have a variation in salaries.
How busy is the office? What is the demand for fine dentistry as opposed to emergency dental treatment? Are there other offices nearby? Some offices do full mouth reconstruction which depends on the ability of patients to pay for treatment.
A full time certified dental assistant can usually start in a range of $28,000 to $35,000 a year. A seasoned assistant that has been working for 20 years can usually see an additional $5,000 to $8,000 per year, but again, this has to do with location and the type of office. Moving to a large city like Columbus could change the numbers even more.
Try to put yourself in the shoes of the dentist. Are you the best employee that you can be? Are you punctual and a good manager of time? Do you work well with other members of the team? If not, it will be difficult to get a raise. We must add value to our position in order to be paid the salary of a really great certified dental assistant.
Later, we will probably offer a course on resume improvement. Stay tuned and feel free to leave a comment below. Cathy, MA, RDH, EFDA
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Salary ranges were researched from several resources and compiled for this post (based on a 40 hour week) and are not to be used for salary improvement.