Connecting Dental Health Professionals

Dental Assistants: Tasks, Skills, Opportunities and Salaries

July 13th, 2020 | By Dental Staffing | Blog

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the employment rate for dental assistants is expected to grow 11% until 2028. Are you thinking about a career in Dental Assisting? Or have you completed your studies and you’re new to the industry? If so, congratulations!! Dental assisting can be a fun and rewarding career path for you with many options to grow professionally. But what exactly is a dental assistant and what does the work entail?

Dental Assistant Job Description and Tasks

Dentist assistants are professionals who work alongside dentists to assist in patient care. Their tasks are broad and varied depending on the practice and/or position for which they’ve been hired. Tasks can include:

  • Chairside assistance
  • Taking radiographs (x-rays),
  • Turning rooms (breaking down, disinfecting, and setting up rooms/operatories for the next procedure)
  • Documentation of patient care
  • Sterilization (including spore testing)
  • Coronal polish (polishing the tooth structure that can be seen above the gumline)
  • Patient education
  • Temporary fabrication (following tooth preparation)
  • Take impressions
  • Lab procedures
  • Ordering supplies
  • Monitoring patients under sedation for treatment

The experienced Dental Assistant can be invaluable for filling in at the front desk and this is called a “front to back” Dental Assistant. This type of assistant knows enough about dentistry that he or she can easily answer phones, schedule appointments, and answer basic questions regarding treatment. They can easily triage emergencies and communicate important information to the Dentist for more cohesive patient care.

More and more states are expanding the duties of the Dental Assistant. For example, there are Certified Orthodontic Dental Assistants. If you’ve ever had orthodontic treatment (braces), you’ve certainly met one of these talented individuals. There are also Sealant Certified Dental Assistants; these Assistants seal pits and fissures on adult teeth to help prevent tooth decay.

We did tell you that the opportunity for growth in this career is excellent. Dental offices usually employ more than one Dental Assistant and there are many business settings in dentistry beyond the solo general practice, they include, but may not be limited to:

  • Group Practices: a multi-doctor practice that may or may not include specialists
  • Specialty Practices: oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontics, endodontics, orthodontics, prosthodontics, pedodontics, public health and the new specialty: oral and maxillofacial radiology
  • Dental Hygiene Practices: some states allow dental hygienists to have their own practices
  • Denturists: some states have lab technicians who own their practice; they fabricate dentures and partials

Career Growth Beyond Clinical Dentistry

With some experience on your resume, there are many positions suited for the Dental Assistant outside of the clinical aspect. Most Dental Office Managers have several years of experience in clinical dentistry. That experience is what makes them unique for managing a dental practice.

You can work as a Dental Assistant at insurance companies reviewing and processing  insurance claims. You can also work with vocational schools and technical institutes as a teacher training Dental Assisting students.

Skills and Training Requirements

The training required to become a Dental Assistant varies state by state. Some states require assistants to enroll in an accredited program, complete an internship, and pass an exam. Other states require no education and, those individuals learn through on-the-job training. Most states require dental assistants to acquire and keep a current CPR certification and be trained in their office for emergency procedures.

Soft Skills

While technical skills are a priority to be a dentist’s assistant, you must also hone your soft skills. These are the people skills such as: communication, listening and empathetic skills. No matter what, a positive attitude is always number one. It doesn’t matter how many issues are going on behind the scene, your attitude can be the one reason they keep coming back. Really.

Salaries

Salaries vary from state to state and from county to county within each state. According to Payscale the average entry-level Dental Assistant makes 13.69/hour. Someone with over a year of experience can expect around $16.37/hour, while those with more than 4 years of work experience but less than 10 years can earn up to $18.99/hour. Highly experienced Dental Assistants earn anywhere from $20-22/hour and there are exceptions who make as much as $24-26/hour.

Are you ready to embark on your new career?

Share your profile and upload your resume at no cost to you. Go to www.dentalstaffing.org to be seen throughout the United States. You might just find the perfect job you’ve been looking for.

 

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“The Early Bird Gets the Worm”

A Complete Collection of English Proverbs by John Ray, 17th Century

Working as a Dental Temp – Our Dental Checklist for Success

July 6th, 2020 | By Dental Staffing | Blog

Many dental professionals have found temp work an appealing option because of the numerous benefits it offers, including flexibility, diversity of work experiences gained, and the chance to learn new skills. When deciding on temping, you can either work for a temping service, or create your own company and work for yourself. If you’re new to dental temping or you’re considering taking that leap, use this checklist to set yourself up for success. These tips will keep you foremost in their mind and keep them calling you back.

1. Have a positive attitude: We know that working long hours can be difficult, particularly if there is a long list of patients coming in one right after the other. However, treating co-workers and patients with a pleasant attitude can help improve the way people view you. Positivity is infectious and your welcome smile may just rub off on others to alter the mood in the office.

If that hasn’t convinced you, then maybe this will: Employees with a positive outlook tend to be more successful than those who tend to lean towards pessimism. Some studies show that positive people are more likely to get promoted and earn more.

2. Show professional integrity: People who follow moral and ethical principles in the workplace are highly valued by employers. These individuals are called to temp first because they can be trusted. They show up on time and dress professionally, they take responsibility for their actions, they’re respectful of patients and other team members and they produce high-quality work.

3. Be dedicated to your work: Dedication means giving your all to a task even when the situation is less than ideal. Employees who show dedication to their job are often characterized by exemplary work and employers often seek them out for work because they’ve proven to get things done well.

4. Show flexibility: The dental workplace, especially when you’re temping, can have shifting dynamics that you’ll need to be able to respond to quickly. Each dental office is different and the ability to adapt to changes makes you a more valuable member of the team.

5. Stay organized: It’s easy to forget schedules and systems when you’re temping in more than one dental office. Create and follow a work calendar and keep track of the work you do at each office. Always ask to review the emergency office plan and know where the first-aid kit, oxygen and AED are kept.

Call in advance of the scheduled position to confirm the date, time, and proposed compensation for the appointment. If you decide to become your own boss, clarify your rules regarding compensation and when that compensation is due with the dental practice before the assignment. Record your hours of service and confirm them daily with the office manager.

Pick up new skills or take a refresher course to further your career.

Check out our comprehensive resource list for continued education courses and to get more info on the dental industry.

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“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”
-Babe Ruth

COVID-19: Doing Our Best To Move On

June 12th, 2020 | By Dental Staffing | Blog, Dental Jobs

Now Hiring Sign

These are unprecedented times. The dental profession, once one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. economy, has become one of the most highly affected in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. And it’s not over yet; most dental offices have begun to open, but have been closed for several weeks to months at a tremendous cost to the practice.

All of this makes searching for that ideal position in the desired dental practice much harder. What can you do to stay relevant and in-demand? The future is highly uncertain, but it also looks hopeful. Preparedness is the key to meeting it head-on. Below are three suggestions to consider in finding that dental position you are searching for:

 

1. Make yourself invaluable by bringing crisis management skills to the table.

There will always be unforeseen events, but success lies on how prepared we are to meet each of them. Someone who’s trained in dealing with emergencies is a crucial member of any oral care team, whatever role they may play. And while a pandemic of this magnitude may not come again in your lifetime, it’s to your advantage to have polished risk assessment and crisis management skills. Study office emergencies in the dental setting on a regular basis.

2. Keep up to date with continued education.

You’ve been out of work for months and hopefully you utilized your down time to get the continuing education you need. As you know, healthcare professionals have a responsibility for continuous learning, and the upside of the downside will help you get those credits faster.

Continuing education is a prerequisite in most states for license renewal, but there are other educational courses that can put you in a more favorable position. Leadership and success skills training are topics that demonstrate you are working on positive personal development as well as your professional development. The study of interpersonal skills work to improve your EQ.

3. Build up your competencies in emotional intelligence (EQ). 

A high intelligence quotient is a preference in most industries because it usually indicates an ability to learn, understand and make changes to adapt to your environment. Emotional intelligence or EQ has been proven to be important because it indicates how well a person maintains interpersonal relations and fits into any group setting. It’s also a good indicator of how someone can effectively handle stressful situations.

Someone who can make reasonable and well-thought out decisions under pressure is a credit to any team. You can build or improve upon your EQ by studying the various educational publications and by becoming more cognizant of:

a. Your degree of empathetic and thoughtfulness to the needs of everyone around you
b. Your communication skills: are your lines open and as transparent as possible to forge trust, and
c. Your attitude: find something positive in all your interactions

Need some help finding that perfect job?

Despite the pandemic, there will be many dental hygiene jobs across the U.S. that need to be filled. Browse job openings at Dental Staffing now. Better yet, o create a profile and upload your resume to connect with possible employers.

 

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“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”

– William James

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