What does a Dental Assistant do?

dental assistant 2.JPGA dental chairside assistant (sometimes known as a dental nurse) works closely with the dentist in all stages of the patient's treatment.

Duties include reception of the patient and preparation for treatment, sterilising instruments and setting them out for the dentist, mixing materials, developing and mounting x-rays, and providing chairside assistance by passing instruments and using suction apparatus.

A dental assistant may also be involved in the administration of the practice by answering telephones, making appointments, maintaining patient records, ordering supplies, preparing accounts and collecting payments.

Personal requirements

  • Manual dexterity
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to concentrate and follow instructions
  • Good organisational ability and time-management skills
  • Interest in healthcare work
What training is required to become a Dental Assistant?

Much training is received on the job, but training courses are available and recommended.

To become a dental assistant you usually have to complete a certificate in dental assisting. Entry to the course below usually requires Year 10 with English and science. As subjects can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for full details.

You can also become a dental assistant through a New Apprenticeship in Dental Assisting. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details on new apprenticeships, call the New Apprenticeships Referral Line on 1800 639 629 (FREECALL).

Certificate courses

For further information, contact RMIT

Enquiries in person:
RMIT Building 15, Ground Floor
124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Enquiries by mail:
Office for Prospective Students
GPO Box 2476V
Melbourne VIC 3001

Phone: (03) 9925 2260
Fax: (03) 9925 3070
email: admissions@rmit.edu.au

Employment opportunities

Most dental assistants are employed by dentists in private practices and clinics. Some dental assistants undertake further study to become dental therapists or dental hygienists. Job prospects depend on the state of personal dental health and dental health education, the public's ability to pay for dental services and the costs of dental services and health insurance covering dental work.

Federal ADA - Dental Team - Dental Assistant
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