Duties of a Dental Assistant

The duties of the dental assistant, an important member of the dental health team, are varied, interesting and challenging. Major responsibilities include assisting chairside with the dentist during patient treatment, management of infection control measures, preparing dental radiographs and performing laboratory procedures. Additional responsibilities may include making appointments, keeping records and supervising general office procedures. Under the direct supervision of the dentist, the assistant may also carry out specific phases of patient treatment.

Future of Dental Assisting

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, future job prospects for dental assistants should be excellent. Dentists are expected to hire more assistants to meet the needs of the growing demand for dental treatment. Employment is expected to grow 36 percent from 2008-2018. Dental assisting is expected to be among the fastest growing occupations over the 2008-2018.

Results of a national survey show that median annual wages of dental assistants were $34,140 in May 2010. The middle 50% earned between $27,400 and $39,920. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,680, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $47, 090. Benefits vary substantially by practice setting and maybe contingent upon full-time employment.

The job market for UAB graduates continues to be strong. More than 80% of graduates from our UAB Dental Assisting Program are currently employed in dentistry. Many students have jobs waiting on them upon graduation of the program.