Dental Assistants

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About the Job

Assist dentist, set up equipment, prepare patient for treatment, and keep records.

It is also Called

  • Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)
  • Certified Registered Dental Assistant
  • Dental Aide
  • Dental Assistant
  • Dental Nurse
  • Dental Office Manager
  • Dentist Attendant
  • Expanded Dental Assistant
  • Expanded Duties Dental Assistant (EDDA)
  • Expanded Duty Dental Assistant

What They Do

  • Apply protective coating of fluoride to teeth.
  • Schedule appointments, prepare bills and receive payment for dental services, complete insurance forms, and maintain records, manually or using computer.
  • Fabricate and fit orthodontic appliances and materials for patients, such as retainers, wires, or bands.
  • Clean teeth, using dental instruments.
  • Clean and polish removable appliances.
  • Pour, trim, and polish study casts.
  • Make preliminary impressions for study casts and occlusal registrations for mounting study casts.
  • Fabricate temporary restorations or custom impressions from preliminary impressions.
  • Order and monitor dental supplies and equipment inventory.
  • Instruct patients in oral hygiene and plaque control programs.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: CRS.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Conventional interests, but also prefer Realistic and Social environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Support and Working Conditions in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Education Required

Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

LMI Region

Wages

In 2013, the average annual wage in New Jersey was $39,230 with most people making between $26,160 and $53,790

Outlook

2.26%
avg. annual growth

During 2008, this occupation employed approximately 9,300 people in New Jersey. It is projected that there will be 11,400 employed in 2018.

This occupation will have about 210 openings due to growth and about 180 replacement openings for approximately 390 total annual openings.