Courses in a Dental Assistant Program
Working as a dental assistant can be interesting and rewarding work. The field offers a variety of advancement opportunities and working as an assistant can be a good way to break into the industry and get your feet wet. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics put the average salary for a dental assistant at $34,000 per year, which is reasonable, and with further education or experience, you might decide to move into other related positions such as a dental office manager, dental hygienist or dental laboratory technician.
If you think being a dental assistant could be in your future, here is a glimpse into the type of classes or subject areas you might find yourself studying during your associated coursework.
Instruments and Equipment
Knowing and understanding the tools and instruments with which you’ll be assisting can certainly be pertinent to your work in the dental field. Besides knowing and being able to identify the tools you’ll be working with, understanding the proper techniques to use them as well as possible variations to these types of instruments can be critical aspects of your dentistry educational coursework. A class in this subject matter can better prepare you to handle a variety of equipment and supplies that you might encounter as a dental assistant and the procedures in which you might be assisting with their use.
From cements, liners, and sealants to amalgams, bases, bonding agents, and veneers, having a background with the materials being used in a dentist’s office and how to use them can be critical to your success as a dental assistant. In a dental materials class, you may learn about the proper preparation and application of such materials as well as the types of situations and conditions in which these materials might be used as well as the procedures involved. You may also receive training in the proper mixing of certain materials as well as learning about restorative agents.
Knowing how to take impressions can play an important role in your dentist assistant duties. After being instructed in this coursework, you might find yourself taking part in the creation of some practice impressions, wax bites, and the production of your own models. Don’t be surprised to find that you’re practicing taking these impressions on fellow classmates and vice versa, so make sure you’ve brushed and that your breath smells fresh before this particular class section.
Dealing with radiology is not a matter to be taken lightly. A lot can be riding on your ability to take safe x-rays and doing so in a way that produces quality images. This is why your class work on the subject will likely cover not only the way in which to properly take and develop x-rays, but safety issues involved with these procedures as well. You may also have an opportunity to test your skills by taking some practice x-rays during your coursework as well as work to review and interpret such images.
If your dentist assistant program includes an externship, you could discover that this is a great way to get some real hands-on experience out in the field. You may get to practice and apply what you’ve learned in class when you’re out in the dental office environment and on real patients. An externship can be a great way to test yourself, putting the skills and abilities that you’ve learned in your dental assistant education to use in order to get a feel for what it’s really like to work in a dentist office.