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If you are looking for a new career but are not quite sure what to do, you should think about becoming a dental assistant. Dental assisting is a very rewarding career choice. The healthcare industry is the fastest growing industry in the world. Not only do you get to help people but there are also amazing career advancement opportunities that come with the role.
Dental Assisting is a very versatile occupation and has a wide variety of responsibilities. Dental assistants are the backbone of a dental practice, allowing dentists and hygienists to maximize time with their patients by taking care of preparatory duties and office duties. Some typical tasks include the following:
- Assisting during procedures
- Maintaining patient records
- Managing patient charts
- Sterilizing dental instruments between procedures
- Ordering and managing supplies
- Scheduling and booking appointments
- Collecting fees and accounting
- Ensuring insurance forms are correctly filled out and filed
Caring for patients before and after dental appointments is one of the most important responsibilities of a dental assistant. Their job is also to educate patients on how provide daily preventative care for their teeth and specific dental conditions.
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Steps To Becoming A Dental Assistant In Connecticut
If you have decided to become a dental and want know what steps to take, the section below provides a step-by-step guide. There are a number of requirements to be met before entering the field.
To become a dental assistant you typically have to complete a dental assistant program at either a community college or technical school. These often take one to two years to complete, depending on whether you are pursuing a certificate or associate degree. Dental assisting programs provide classroom teaching as well as hands-on learning opportunities in a clinical setting. Coursework commonly includes:
- Oral anatomy
- Dental materials
- Dental radiography
- Dental office administration
- Dental pharmacology
- CPR and first aid
In order to take x-rays, dental assistants must pass the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam.
To perform expanded functions under the direct or indirect supervision of a licensed dentist in the state of Connecticut, a dental assistant must earn Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA) status.
Difference between A Degree & Certification
A certificate is usually about a year or less. The associate degree is typically a 2-year program that may be offered at the local community college.
Obtaining a certificate gives graduates with the foundational skills needed to be competitive for entry-level positions. When attending a vocational school, coursework is completed within nine to 12 months for full-time students, depending on individual program requirements.
Obtaining a degree is a two year program that covers many of the same topics delivered in a certificate program. A degree program provides a more in depth education. Students take general education coursework alongside core dental assisting classes.
Many dental assistants who receive their degree go on to obtaining a 4-year bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene which not only offers increased career mobility but increased earning potential.