What Does a Dental Assistant Do


Have you been asking, “What is a dental assistant” or “What does a dental assistant do”? From the moment a patient checks in for their appointment, they work closely with the dental team to provide quality patient care. Vital tasks they perform could vary from scheduling patient appointments, maintaining patient dental records, or simply educating on oral health. By aiding the dentists, dental assistants play a vital role in the dentistry field.

If you are an aspiring dental assistant, learning about dental assistant duties is the first step to understanding “what does a dental assistant do?”! Continue reading to discover where they work, how dental assistants perform, and the skills you could gain through a dental assistant program!


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Dental Assistant Duties

Dental assistants perform many responsibilities, but the goal is the same for each: provide excellent patient care while improving oral health. Through a dental assisting program, students learn important duties such as how to assure nervous patients, set expectations for dental exams, and record patient medical history. Common dental assisting duties you could learn in a dental assistant program include:

  • Preparing the patient and workstation for treatments
  • Sanitizing dental instruments
  • Handing instruments to dentist or dental hygienist during an examination
  • Drying patients’ mouths using suction hoses and other equipment
  • Teaching patients proper oral hygiene
  • Take x-rays and perform lab tasks, under the direction of a dentist
  • Maintaining dental records and processing paperwork
  • Scheduling patient appointments
  • Working with patients on billing and payment and more!¹

As a dental assistant, you could also be responsible for taking impressions, removing plaque, or simply polishing your patient’s teeth! They work in dental offices, physicians’ offices, and even the government to leave their patients with a clean, beautiful smile. This task and the duties it entails requires certain skills every dental assistant should have to excel in their career.


Skills of a Next-Level Dental Assistant

Ever wondered, “What are the traits of a successful dental assistant?” Since the focus of dental assistant duties is patient care, the first skill a dental assistant should have is a listening ear. A great dental assistant cares about the concerns, complaints, and questions of their patients.

Dental assistants are responsible for showing compassion and sharing this information with the dental team. This requires the next important dental assistant quality: interpersonal skills. Dental assistants must be team players, have strong communication skills, and be sensitive to the needs of their patients. Quality dental assistants must also be detail-oriented, precise, and good at working with their hands.

Being organized is also another crucial skill for the job. Dental assistants work with many tools and must maintain a clean and neat workspace. If you are compassionate, communicate effectively, enjoy staying organized, and work well with your hands, you could be well on your way to a dental assistant career.


How to Become a Dental Assistant

Once you have graduated with your high school diploma or GED, the next step is applying to dental assistant programs! Dental assistant programs take about a year to complete, resulting in a diploma or certificate upon graduation.

Though some states do not require dental assistants to receive a formal education, some require licensure to perform specific tasks, such as radiology or coronal polishing. Enrolling in a dental assistant program could prepare you for future dental assistant duties, provide hands-on experience, and qualify you to pursue certification with the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).


Learn What a Dental Assistant Does at Blue Cliff College

Have you been researching, “dental assistant training near me?” Look no further than the Dental Assistant Diploma Program at Blue Cliff College. At BCC, we are looking for future dental assistants looking to jumpstart their careers in the dental industry. Our Dental Assistant Diploma program equipped students with industry-standard training, so they can excel on the job. Classes you could take at BCC could include:

  • Dental Materials
  • Office Management
  • Dental Science
  • Healthcare Compliance
  • Dental Radiology and more!

Through a hands-on externship portion, students can practice the dental assistant duties they learned in the classroom in a supervised dental office setting. Are you ready to receive a higher education experience while preparing for a career you love?


Learn More About Dental Assisting at Blue Cliff College Today!



  1. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm#tab-2


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