professor and students working on dental impressions

Dental Assisting

Career Information

Job Market & Salary

Most of the more than 200,000 active dental assistants are employed by general dentists, additional career opportunities include employment in dental specialty practices, group practices, public health dentistry, hospital dentistry, and a variety of clinics. The starting salary of a dental assistant varies, depending on the responsibilities associated with the specific position, the individual training, and the geographic location of employment. Starting salaries in Oklahoma generally average $34,000 a year.

Career Information

The Dental Assistant is an individual who serves as an active member of the dental health profession working under the direct supervision of a dentist. The assistant renders vital and beneficial services to patients and possesses good communication and interpersonal skills that provide for patient comfort before, during and after treatment.

Duties may include assisting the dentist during treatment; taking and developing dental radiographs; recording the patient's medical history and taking blood pressure, pulse, and temperature readings; preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment for the dentist's use; making impressions of patients' teeth for study casts; and performing routine administrative and scheduling tasks, including using a personal computer, answering the telephone and ordering supplies. American Dental Association

Students with a history of latex sensitivity or allergy are cautioned about selecting a career as an allied dental healthcare professional. Consultation with a physician is recommended if a history of allergy or sensitivity is present.

Career Opportunities

A Dental Assistant, under the direct supervision of a dentist, assists chairside, performs laboratory procedures, or may perform receptionist and secretarial duties. The Dental Assisting program at RSC is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. The Commission on Dental Accreditation will review complaints that relate to the program's compliance with the accreditation standards. The Commission is interested in the sustained quality and continued improvement of allied dental education programs but does not intervene on behalf of individuals or act as a court of appeal for treatment received by patients or individuals in matters of admissions, appointment, promotion or dismissal of faculty, staff or students. A copy of the accreditation standards and/or Commision's policy and procedures for submission of complaints may be obtained by contacting the Commission at 211 East Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611-2678 or by calling 312.440.2500.

Employment opportunities include: private general dental practices, private specialty dental pratices, public health dentistry, hospital dentistry, dental school clinics, and education.

Sites of Interest

American Dental Association:
American Dental Assistants Association:
ADA Dental Assisting Programs: