How to Become a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are a crucial part of the dental team. They prepare patients for examinations and procedures, handle administrative duties, and assist dental practitioners with instruments, X-rays and more.
Dental assisting is a popular career choice for a number of reasons – from job stability to quick entry into the workforce. But as this role is so sought-after, the job market can be highly competitive.
Discover how to become a dental assistant and how you can stand out in your job search with the right dental assistant course.
Top Traits of a Dental Assistant
Care and Compassion
Patients can be nervous (or downright frightened) when they visit the dentist. In fact, research shows high dental fear affects around one in six adults and one in ten children in Australia. As a dental assistant, you’ll need to be compassionate and empathetic toward patients and help make their experience as relaxing and comfortable as possible.
Great Communication Skills
While communication is key in any workplace, it’s particularly important in a dental practice. You’ll be required to speak to patients in person and over the phone on a daily basis, whether it be describing dental care instructions or answering questions about billing and insurance. You’ll also be responsible for administrative duties such as recording patient details and maintaining patient records, where strong written communication skills are a must.
Attention to Detail
Great dental assistants have a detail-oriented personality and strong organisational skills. These qualities will allow you to stay one step ahead in a fast-paced dental office. From staying on top of patient schedules to ensuring dental equipment is properly sterilised and in its right place, an attention to detail will help keep things running smoothly.
Ability to Multitask
As one of the most diverse roles in a dentistry practice, dental assistants have a long list of responsibilities. You’ll be required to help with dental procedures and administrative duties, so you’ll have to be a pro at juggling multiple tasks under pressure.
Requirements to Work as a Dental Assistant
Dental assisting is a hands-on role that involves being in close proximity to patients. This is why most practices will require you to have standard childhood vaccinations such as measles, mumps, and polio along with vaccinations for diseases such as influenza, hepatitis B and tetanus.
Some practices may also require a criminal history check.
Dental Assistant Courses
While formal training isn’t a requirement to be a dental assistant in Australia, vocational training is highly recommended to increase your job prospects in this competitive industry.
A HLT35015 Certificate III in Dental Assisting gives you the skills and knowledge you need to assist with oral health care procedures, comply with infection control policies and procedures, process reusable equipment in health work and participate in work health and safety processes. It also prepares you to assist with administration processes.
A HLT35015 Certificate III in Dental Assisting qualifies you to work as a dental assistant for a range of dental professionals, such as a dentist, dental hygienist or dental therapist. This nationally recognised qualification involves both theory and practical components, including 300 hours of placement in a dental clinic of your choosing for invaluable real-world experience before graduating.
If you’re interested in entering the industry, a HLT35015 Certificate III in Dental Assisting is the perfect starting point for your career.
Kickstart your career in oral health and browse all our dental courses.
Does a career as a dental assistant look appealing to you? Advance your career opportunities and get qualified with a dental assistant course from Foundation Education. Call 1300 616 197 for more information or to enrol today.
You can learn more about what to expect in a dental assistant job in this helpful article.