Individuals who are considering a career as a dental assistant should first take a look at the dental assistant salary. Basing a career decision on a profession’s potential ability for earnings is a practical move on the part of the job seeker. This is particularly true for those who want to earn a steady pay for their financial responsibilities. The dental assistant salary, just like the salaries of any profession in the medical feed, should be viewed relatively to its corresponding responsibilities and educational and training requirements.
The dental assistant’s main functions involve record keeping and patient care. Dental assistants are always present at the dentist’s chair during procedures. They sterilize the dental equipment before and after procedures. They also hand the necessary dental instruments and tools to the dentist during dental procedures. In order for dentists to maintain a clear view of the work area, dental assistants use the suction machine to keep the work area dry and free of saliva. Dental assistants also process dental x-rays and perform laboratory tasks under the direct supervision of dentists. They are also responsible for keeping dental records of the patients’ treatments. They also man the dental office and telephones in order to set up appointments. Dental assistants are also the ones who handle billing and payment. They also sometimes help in the creation of casts and molds. They may help in the preparation of materials for the creation of casts or crowns of the teeth.
Depending on the state in which the dental assistant practices, there are currently four regulated tasks. These are coronal polishing, sealant application, topical anaesthetic application and the application of fluoride. There are states that allow dental assistants to perform these tasks and there are states which prohibit dental assistants from performing them.
Just like dentists and oral hygienists, the assistants are also required to wear protective equipment when they are on duty. This protects them from coming in contact with bodily fluids and this also protects the patients from coming in contact with contaminants that may come from the healthcare professional.
A majority of dental assistants hold a full time position but there are still close to forty percent who only have part time jobs.
In order to become a dental assistant, an individual needs to complete a training course that takes about a year. Upon completion of the dental assistant training course, the participant is given a certificate or diploma. There are states that require these training course graduates to take a state exam before they are allowed to be employed as dental assistants. In states that require them, dental assistants must first pass the Certified Dental Assistant exam from the DANB (Dental Assisting National Board). State requirements vary as there are states that require no formal education or training at all in order to become an entry-level dental assistant.
The average dental assistant salary is about $33,000. The lowest salary is about $22,600 and the top earning ones have a dental assistant salary of $47,000.