Dental Assisting Careers

Explore the Various Dental Assisting Career Opportunities

Dental assisting is a commonly known profession in the dental industry that isn’t a dentist or dental hygienist. Becoming a dental assistant can be quick and get you working in no time in the dental field. If you’re interested in working in the healthcare industry, with dental professionals, and patients, dental assisting could be for you.

What do you need to know about assisting? Well, it’s a rewarding profession to be able to educate and care for patients with their dental needs. It’s a profession which allows you flexibility, stability, and opportunities to other dental careers.

But did you know there is more to dental assisting? Here is something you might not be so familiar with, there are different job titles to dental assisting. Each title has their own set of knowledge, skills, requirements, and expectations. We’ve compiled a list of dental assisting positions.

Dental Assistant

Before you can know the other positions, you need to know what a dental assistant is and have an overview of what they do. Dental assistants play a critical role in a dental practice. They are the support line of dentists as they help them increase their efficiency. As a dental assistant, you will perform various tasks ranging from clinical to the technical aspect of the dental practice. You can be taking x-rays, assisting the dentist in treatment procedures, communicating with the patient, or assisting and preparing the patient for treatment and ease anxiety. Dental assistants, have many more tasks just read our article on “What exactly does a Dental Assistant do?”

The thing about becoming a dental assistant is you can sometimes train on the job! That’s right; there are some dental clinics who are flexible and allow you to study and learn on the job as you go through the training program. However, you can also enroll in a training or associate’s program which most take 9 – 12 weeks to complete.

At The Core Foundation, we offer a 12-week dental assisting program both online and onsite. We make it convenient to study dental assisting by giving you the option of choosing where you receive your certification.    

Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)

A certified dental assistant has the responsibility of maintaining and updating dental health records, scheduling, prepare patient, ask about patient dental health, and keeping the patient informed on dental procedures. You’re to be performing competently in dental care.  

To become a CDA, you will need to be granted certification by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) after having completed and passed an exam, met appropriate education and experience requirement. The accreditation indicates you’ve reached the DANB standards of competence and reliability in dental assisting. If you trained on the job or graduated from an unaccredited program, you’re eligible to take the national certification exam after having completed two years of full-time dental assisting work experience. Agan, each state has their regulations so verify the state’s requirements you plan on practicing.

Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)

As an RDA, you’ll be responsible for performing administrative duties, assist the dentist with equipment and chairside duties, and perform other additional tasks such as administering topical medication, x-rays, taking impressions, or polishing teeth.

More training will be required through the completion of a dental assistant program or Associate’s degree program depending on the state’s requirements. Most states may ask the program to be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). In addition to the completion of a program, you will have to complete and pass an exam to get your credential. Again, this varies on the state you plan to work and practice as a registered dental assistant.   

Orthodontics Dental Assistant

An orthodontics assistant performs tasks revolving around the clinical practice and patient care. You’ll be responsible for communicating with patients on a daily basis, sterilize equipment and instruments for patient safety, prepare patients for dental procedures, assist in applying braces, removing them, or changing wires. As an ortho assistant, you will be working independently and less supervision but also support office staff and management.

You will have to enroll in an orthodontics course and work with an orthodontist during clinical training while you’re in a dental assisting program or an associates program to become an orthodontist assistant. If there are orthodontics assisting program, you may want to enroll after you’ve completed your dental assisting program to prepare you better to be an assistant to an orthodontist.

Like dental assisting, you can be a certified orthodontics assistant. To obtain a Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA), you have to complete a two-part exam, Orthodontic Assisting exam and the Infection Control exam. The certification demonstrates your competence and performing expanded functions as an ortho assistant. Check with each state’s requirements.    

If you’re interested in becoming an orthodontist assistant, now you can in just three days. The Core Foundation offers a 3-day training program where you can learn all about becoming an ortho assistant and get you working within a specialized dentist.

Expanded Function Dental Assistant

When you’re an expanded function dental assistant, your duties and responsibilities extend beyond that of a dental assistant. Your expanded functions can include placing sealants, placing fillings, and applying topical anesthetic.

Keep in mind each state has their own set of requirements you will have to check and meet in addition to gaining a DANB’s certification or license, complete examinations and studies, and further coursework on expanded function topics. Check with the DANB for further information on what are the requirements for the state you plan on practicing dental assisting.

You can see there are many job titles for dental assisting, all of which require more education, training, experience, and the completion of examinations to obtain the title of CDA, RDA, COA, or an expanded function dental assistant. You have many career options to choose from when it comes to becoming a dental assistant. It’s a matter of knowing what position you want and which is right for you!

If you’re interested in learning more about our online and onsite programs for dental assisting or our 3-day orthodontics assisting program, please fill out our contact form here with the program you would like more information on, and we will get back to you soon.  


Leave a Comment