Dental Assistants

Description

Assist dentist, set up equipment, prepare patient for treatment, and keep records.

Tasks

  • Prepare patient, sterilize or disinfect instruments, set up instrument trays, prepare materials, or assist dentist during dental procedures.
  • Expose dental diagnostic x-rays.
  • Record treatment information in patient records.
  • Provide postoperative instructions prescribed by dentist.
  • Assist dentist in management of medical or dental emergencies.
  • Take and record medical and dental histories and vital signs of patients.
  • Instruct patients in oral hygiene and plaque control programs.
  • Order and monitor dental supplies and equipment inventory.
  • Clean and polish removable appliances.
  • Make preliminary impressions for study casts and occlusal registrations for mounting study casts.
  • Pour, trim, and polish study casts.
  • Schedule appointments, prepare bills and receive payment for dental services, complete insurance forms, and maintain records, manually or using computer.
  • Fabricate temporary restorations or custom impressions from preliminary impressions.
  • Clean teeth, using dental instruments.
  • Fabricate and fit orthodontic appliances and materials for patients, such as retainers, wires, or bands.
  • Apply protective coating of fluoride to teeth.

Knowledge

Philosophy and Theology
Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
Sociology and Anthropology
Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

Skills

Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.

Abilities

Spatial Orientation
The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
Sound Localization
The ability to tell the direction from which a sound originated.
Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Night Vision
The ability to see under low light conditions.
Peripheral Vision
The ability to see objects or movement of objects to one's side when the eyes are looking ahead.
Glare Sensitivity
The ability to see objects in the presence of glare or bright lighting.

Work Activities

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Interests

Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Style

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Social Orientation
Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Work Values

Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Lay Titles

Certified Registered Dental Assistant
Dental Aide
Dental Assistant
Dental Nurse
Dental Office Manager
Dentist Attendant
Expanded Duty Dental Assistant
Expanded Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA)
Orthodontic Assistant
Orthodontist Assistant
Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)
Surgical Dental Assistant

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$16.59 hourly, $34,500 annual.
Employment (2008):
300,160 employees