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Dental assistants perform many tasks requiring both interpersonal and technical skills. In addition to assisting the dentist during a variety of procedures, dental assistants may take and develop dental radiographs (x-rays), sterilize instruments and equipment, and take impressions of patients’ teeth.
Dental assistants may work in private dental offices, hospitals, or community health agencies. Most dental assistants have a 32- to 40-hour work week, which may include work on Saturdays or evenings.
Employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 19 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The aging population and ongoing research linking oral health and general health will continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services.
Training programs are offered by community colleges, vocational schools, or technical institutes.
One-year program enrollees receive a certificate or diploma upon completion, while those in 2-year programs receive an associate degree. Dental assistants may also acquire necessary skills through on-the-job training.
Licensure is required for dental assistants in the state of Connecticut only in regard to taking dental x-rays. Prerequisite: Dental assistants must successfully complete the radiology section of the Dental Assisting National Board examination in order to take dental x-rays in Connecticut; but other than that, neither certification nor licensure is required in Connecticut.
American Dental Assistants Association
140 N Bloomingdale Road
Bloomingdale, IL 60108
National Association of Dental Assistants
900 South Washington Street, Suite G13
Falls Church, VA 22046