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Dental Assistant Registration & Certification

Certified assistants are in demand by dental practices across the country.

A certified dental assistant works alongside the dentist during procedures, handing the correct instruments over when required and keeping the patient’s mouth dry and clear during the procedure.

The assistant also is trained to update patient records and to provide post-procedure care instructions.

Aspects of restorative dentistry that fall under the dental assistant’s responsibilities involve taking impressions, processing x-rays, and isolating teeth for treatment by applying dental dams.

Dental assistants may also find themselves affiliated with a laboratory, where tasks might include creating temporary crowns and the final polishing of removable appliances.

While some dental practices offer on-the-job training, national dental assistant certification exams are overseen by the Dental Assisting National Board.

Community colleges, technical schools, and universities offer courses to prepare the prospective certified dental assistant for the exams and provide job placement assistance.

Certification assures a standard level of competency in meeting the qualifications required by the individual state, and can mean greater responsibility and a higher salary to the assistant.

Requirements for certification can vary across state lines, but the national dental assistant certification exams are now recognized by 38 states, making dental assisting a highly transportable career that, like nursing, allows the assistant the freedom to move to a new location and look for work without the need to re-certify.

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