Dental Assistant

What Does a Dental Assistant Do?

Dental assistants greatly increase the efficiency of the dentist in the delivery of quality oral health care and are valuable members of the dental care team. If you have strong communication skills, enjoy working with your hands as well as your mind, and want a career with responsibility, dental assisting may be for you.

The dental assistant performs many tasks requiring both interpersonal and technical skills such as:

  • Assist the dentist with a variety of treatment procedures — works with dental instruments and materials
  • Help patients feel comfortable before, during, and after dental treatment
  • Take and processes x-rays
  • Prepare and sterilize instruments and equipment
  • Communicate with patients, other health professionals, dental suppliers, business contacts, and insurers
  • Perform a variety of office management tasks

Dental Assistants work in dental offices, dental schools, private and government hospitals and clinics, and state and local public health departments.


  • College-level education is encouraged, but careers can begin without college-level courses through on-the-job-training in a dental office work-study program
  • Complete an accredited dental assisting education program
  • For national certification take the Dental Assisting National Board’s (DANB)Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination

dental assistant

Schools for Dental Assistants

There are approximately 270 ADA accredited dental assisting education programs in the community and technical colleges in U.S., a minimum of one academic year in length. Click here for a list of schools by state.

Also See

Second Chance Companies – Healthcare

View other careers