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Dental Assisting

The Dental Assisting program aims to provide marketable skills in clinical, radiographic and laboratory procedures. Dental assistants perform a broad scope of dental procedures and administrative functions under the supervision of dentists and dental hygienists.

Dental assistants may perform the following services:

  • Operate and maintain dental equipment;
  • Expose and prepare dental x-rays;
  • Administer periodontal dressings;
  • Apply topical anesthetics and sealants;
  • Take tooth impressions;
  • Assist in patient care and instruction;
  • Schedule patients and maintain dental records;

The work may include laboratory and clinical procedures, office duties, patient intake and education. Dental assistants may work in private or group dental practices, general dentistry or dental specialties such as orthodontics, periodontics, children's dentistry, and other specialties. The work schedule can be full-time or part-time, providing flexibility in working hours.

Career and Employment Outlook

The employment outlook is excellent and is expected to continue growing. In Arizona, there is a severe shortage of qualified dental assistants. Opportunities exist in general dentistry or dental specialties, such as oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, children’s dentistry, and other specialties. 

Preventive dentistry has reduced the incidence of oral disease. As a result, the growing older population will retain their teeth longer and will be even more aware of the importance of regular dental care. Dentists will need to employ more dental assistants than ever before to meet the increased demand for dental services.

For information about careers in dental assisting, visit O*NET OnLine for detailed job descriptions, education requirements, wage, and employment trend information.