If you are considering enrolling in a dental assistant education program, you might be wondering what types of dental professionals you will be working with in the future. You are probably already familiar with your own general dentist, who you go in to see twice per year. As a dental assistant, you might not end up working for a general dentist, however. Here are some of the dental professionals that you may encounter throughout the course of your career in dental assisting:
This is the type of dentist that most of us see on a regular basis. Whether you need a cleaning or have a cavity, this is your guy (or gal). Sort of like the PCP of the dental world, the general dentist is the one who will coordinate the dental care of the patients. As a dental assistant to a general dentist, you’ll get to help with a variety of procedures.
In many dental offices, this is who does the routine teeth cleanings. As a dental assistant, you may occasionally or regularly assist the hygienist. Depending on the duties of dental hygienists in your state or office, you may help with applying sealants or fluoride treatments, or you may get patients ready for the hygienist and take dental xrays.
The dental receptionist is the person at the front desk. He or she typically greets patients, pulls charts (if you’re not in a paper-free office) and asks patients to update their medical histories. Depending on the office, this is often the person contacting dental insurance companies and making sure that each patient is maximizing his or her dental benefits. Other job duties typically include making and confirming appointments and helping patients get in touch with specialists when necessary.
Dental Lab Technician
A dental lab is used to fabricate partial and full dentures, night guards, crowns, bridges and other appliances. A technician is the person who does the work.
The endodontist is a dental specialist who does root canals, also called endodontic therapy. If a general dentist does not feel comfortable doing root canal treatments or if he or she has simply encountered a difficult case, a referral to an endodontist might be warranted.
The periodontist is a dentist specializing in the treatment of periodontal disease. Patients with advanced gum disease may see a periodontist for quarterly cleanings and other procedures.
This is the dental professional who extracts teeth and performs other types of dental surgery. When the treatment is complete, the patient is referred back to the general dentist for continued routine care.
If a patient needs an orthodontic appliance, such as a retainer or braces, he or she will often be referred to an orthodontist.
There are other types of dental specialists as well, including prosthodontists, cosmetic dentists and pediatric dentists. No matter which type of dentist you work for, it’s likely that the office will refer patients out to other offices and specialists, either regularly or on occasion. Learning how to assist in a wide variety of procedures is paramount to your success as a dental assistant.
Daniel J February 6, 2020
I was told about this school from a close friend before I started and she loved every single bit of the program, help and motivation she got from her teachers. I decided to better myself by going here as well and giving it a shot. This course proved to be nothing more than one of the best programs I’ve been able to get into and graduate from. Every single class we were helped as much as possible and always went back over things if we didn’t understand. This program not only help me gain a certificate of Dental Assisting for my career, but also helped me find my first job as a dental assistant while I was still in the program and I couldn’t be happier with how much my life has progressed in just 13 weeks. I will always speak the best about this school and I know whoever takes it will do the same!
Sydney Sparks July 22, 2019
10/10 I recommend this school. Time and frequency of the class is great for people working full time as well as people with children. Jennifer is a lot of fun to learn from as well. I was able to get a job right out of school, so I can’t complain!!!
Michelle H. January 29, 2019
I attended Sunrise School of Dental Assisting in 2016. It was a very convenient program with it only being two days a week (at night) it’s the perfect career opportunity especially for someone who needs to work while going to school. Since graduating, I have had many opportunities open up one of which is working at Sunrise itself. I had an excellent instructor who helped as much as she could to prepare us for a job in the dental field. I would highly recommend signing up, you won’t regret it!
Kourie U. January 29, 2019
I attended Sunrise Dental Assisting School in 2008 and still today am so grateful I did. My experience in the school was awesome. The instructors were very attentive and always available. Since the school is based in a dental office you are able to have endless opportunities for hands on learning. In addition the schedule is very accommodating for all lifestyles. The last thing I would like to note about SDAS is that once you have completed the program Sunrise still advocates for you. Paulette Jolly is a tremendous help with job placement and helping you along your way. Now that Sunrise Dental has allowed me the entrance into the dental field I know dentistry is my passion. Sunrise Dental has been a great blessing to my life.
Victoria R January 29, 2019
Enjoyed the hands on and guided learning experience the instructors provided. Had the opportunity to shadow and assist for an oral surgeon set up by instructor Tammy. SSDA Fayetteville was a laid back environment which made attending class enjoyable. I feel confident using what I learned in the course for future careers.
Rhonish W January 29, 2019
Attending SSDA was the best thing I could have ever done ! My instructor Tammy was beyond amazing she made sure we understood everything taught and even gave us multiple opportunities to gain experience shadowing In her office ! Sunrise is the best !
Jaylyn Miller September 5, 2017
Prior to attending Sunrise School of Dental Assisting I had zero knowledge of the dentistry field and what this career choice would have in store for me. I had an awesome instructor, as well as current Dental Assistants at Sunrise, to help guide me and continue to be successful in my career. Everyone has been extremely helpful and I have had nothing less than a great experience. After graduation, I was hired on by Sunrise and couldn’t be more happy with my job and the decision to attend Sunrise School of Dental Assisting! Thank you all!!
Katie Panchak February 17, 2017
If you’re looking into a promising career as a dental assistant, look no further! I recently graduated from Sunrise School of Dental Assisting and couldn’t be happier with the program! This course provided me with all the knowledge and tools that I needed to become successful in my field. Now I am proud to say that after graduation I have been hired on by Sunrise Dental and LOVE my job! Thanks guys!
Madison McCullock January 12, 2017
Sunrise School of Dental Assisting provided me with the knowledge and skills I needed to begin my career in the Dental field. The instructors were very helpful and thorough in explaining the lessons and procedures to the class, and also made it a point to provide any additional help/tutoring before/after lessons for students. I enjoyed my experience at Sunrise School of Dental Assisting. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to receive the proper education necessary in order to excel in their Dental Assisting career
Ashley Hicks June 15, 2016
At Sunrise they give you the tools you need to become successful as a Dental Assistant. You have smaller numbers in the class, so you are able to have more one on one time with an instructor if needed. It is a fast paced class, but the instructor is willing to meet with you before class time if you need help. It is a good balance between lectures and actual lab time. You have great hands on experience and work with live “patients” (class members) in order to get an actual feel of what it would be like. The team at Sunrise Dental are very encouraging and push you to strive for your best. They also help with shadowing at different offices and even inform you if there are job openings at other offices. I would recommend this program to anyone and know that they would also get the great training that I have received!