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Dental Assistant & Expanded Function Dental Assistant

Dental Assistant & Expanded Function Dental Assistant

Dental Assistants perform a wide variety of responsibilities including clinical patient care, office and laboratory duties. Dental assistants work in partnership with dentists, helping patients feel comfortable before, during, and after their treatments as well as directly assisting dentists during procedures. Dental assistants also advise patients in postoperative and general oral health care. With certification, the dental assistant can expose radiographs on a patient.

Office duties may include obtaining patient medical histories, sterilizing and disinfecting instruments and equipment, and preparing trays for various dental procedures. A dental assistant with office responsibilities may be responsible for billing, accounts receivable, scheduling and confirming appointments, and ordering dental supplies for the practice.

Dental assistants with laboratory duties would perform such functions as taking impressions to fabricate stone casts of the patient’s mouth and teeth, cleaning and polishing removable appliances, fabricating temporary crowns, and bleaching trays and mouthguards.

Types of Dental Assistants

  • TDA – Traditional Dental Assistants
  • CDA – Certified Dental Assistants
  • EFDA – Expanded Functions Dental Assistants

Salary Range: $25,460 – $52,000

Salary Notes: The median wage for a dental assistant is $36,940 per year for full time work. With more training and experience, a dental assistant could earn up to $20 an hour or a yearly salary of $47,580. The mean salary in Vermont was $40,320 in 2016.

Where you can study:
Center for Technology [1], Essex, Essex Junction, VT (Expanded Function Dental Assisting)
Community College of Rhode Island [2], Warwick, RI
Lincoln College of New England [3], Southington, CT (Administrative D.A.)
NHTI, Concord’s Community College [4], Concord, NH
Springfield Technical Community College [5], Springfield, MA
Tunxis Community College [6], Farmington, CT
University of Maine [7], Augusta, ME

Where you might work:
– Clinics – Dental Specialty Offices (ie, Orthodontics, Oral Surgery) – Dentist Offices – Hospitals – Insurance Companies – Schools

Job Outlook: Job prospects for dental assistants are excellent; employment is expected to make this one of the fastest growing occupations through 2024.

Education, Licensing and Certification: This challenging career is attractive to men and women who have an interest in helping people stay healthy. Dental assistants are expected to demonstrate acceptable attitudes of pride, enthusiasm, good work ethic, responsibility, respect for patient confidentiality and recognition of their importance as a member of the dental health team. Those interested in becoming a dental assistant may receive on the job training or could attend a training program offered in technical centers, community colleges or armed services. Dental assistants may take the Dental Assisting National Board exam to become certified. Certified dental assistants may continue their education by becoming an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant. In Vermont, this endorsement allows the dental assistant to place fillings.

Professional Organizations:
American Dental Assistants Association [8] 877-874-3785
Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. [9] 800-367-3262