Tips for Becoming a Chairside Dental Assistant
A chairside dental assistant is a professional who assists the dentist with various tasks while they are taking care of a patient. This might involve administering treatment, helping with surgery tasks, cleaning teeth, taking impressions and performing a wide variety of other tasks associated with taking care of dental patients.
There are different kinds of dental assistants and this is just one of them to consider. The chairside assistant serves as a vital part of the dentistry team.
Many of these assistants have their national certification. A CDA, or Certified Dental Assistant, is certified through the DANB or Dental Assisting National Board.
This board gives the national exam that certifies a dental assistant. They also have certifications for specialties like COAs which are Certified Orthodontic Assistants.
This organization holds their members and those dental assistants they certify to a high standard of quality. Therefore if you are serious about a chairside assistant career, certification from the DANB is strongly recommended.
Some people may consider a chairside dental assistant a dental hygienist. There is a difference between the two. For example, dental assistants make about half of what hygienists do, and complete about half the schooling.
Many assistants who do want to advance their career will go to night school in order to go from a dental assistant to a dental hygienist or even a dental assistant with a particular specialty.
One thing that cannot be taught is a good way with people, and this is required when you are a dental assistant dealing with patients. You will need to make patients feel comfortable and at ease, because most people don't enjoy visiting the dentist.
If patients are nervous you can provide reassurance for them and keep them calm during whatever procedure they are having.
As you can see, a career as a chairside dental assistant can be very rewarding. Not just financially, although the pay is certainly not bad, and most assistants get a nice benefits package with their salary.
It is definitely worth the two or so years it takes to become a dental assistant. The average dental assistant makes about $15 an hour, however as a chairside dental assistant you may make more than this. It all depends on your job, how experienced and educated you are and your geographic location.
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