WHAT THEY DO:
Dental Assistants perform many duties in the dental office such as taking a new patients medical history and gathering information like a patients dental insurance carrier. Once the information is obtained they may take xrays and bring the patient to the treatment room. When the dentist is doing fillings, etc. the dental assistant will hand instruments to the dentist. In addition they will do some regular office duties like scheduling appointments.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING:
It takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. Dental assistants receive their formal education through academic programs at community colleges and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually receive certificates. The majority of academic dental assisting programs take nine to eleven months to complete.
Dental assistants can become certified by passing an examination that evaluates their knowledge. Most dental assistants who choose to become nationally certified take the Dental Assisting National Board’s (DANB) Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination. Becoming a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) assures the public that the dental assistant is prepared to assist competently in the provision of dental care.
Dental assistants are eligible to take the CDA examination if they have completed a dental assisting program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the Median Annual Wage for Dental Assistants was $35,390 in May 2014.
Extended Functions Dental Assistant Salary. The BLS does not isolate salaries for EFDAs. However, the DANB states that certified dental assistants make $18.60 per hour on average, totaling $38,688 annually, and non-certified dental assistants make $2.01 less per hour, totaling $16.59 per hour or $34,507.20 annually.
As an EFDA your duties are expanded to include advanced duties such as applying sealants, administering anesthesia, and applying fluoride. You can also perform certain orthodontic work.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 18 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Ongoing research linking oral health and general health will likely continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services.