Financial Aid Programs for Dental Assistants

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Here are some of the Dental Assistant Financial Aid Programs accepted by AAA School of Dental Assisting.

Dental Assistants Statistics

Bureau_of_Labor_Statistics

Quick Facts: Dental Assistants
2018 Median Pay $38,660 per year

$18.59 per hour

Typical Entry-Level Education Postsecondary nondegree award
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2018 346,000
Job Outlook, 2018-28 11% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2018-28 38,700

What Dental Assistants Do

Dental assistants provide patient care, take x rays, keep records, and schedule appointments.

Work Environment

Almost all dental assistants work in dentists’ offices. Most work full time.

Pay

The median annual wage for dental assistants was $38,660 in May 2018.

Career Outlook

Employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. The aging population and ongoing research linking oral health and general health will lead to continued increases in the demand for preventive dental services.

Dental assistants have many tasks, including patient care, recordkeeping, and appointment scheduling. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices in which they work.

Dental assistants typically do the following:

  • Ensure that patients are comfortable in the dental chair
  • Prepare patients and the work area for treatments and procedures
  • Sterilize dental instruments
  • Hand instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Dry patients’ mouths using suction hoses and other equipment
  • Instruct patients in proper oral hygiene
  • Process x rays and complete lab tasks, under the direction of a dentist
  • Keep records of dental treatments
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Work with patients on billing and payment

Dental assistants often spend much of their day working closely with patients and dentists. For example, dental assistants might take a patient’s medical history, blood pressure, and pulse before a procedure; explain what will be done; and talk to patients about oral care. They help dentists during a procedure by passing instruments and holding equipment such as suction hoses, matrix bands, and dental curing lights. Other tasks include preparing the treatment room and making sure that instruments and equipment are sterile. Dental assistants also may document the procedure that is done and schedule followup appointments.

Some dental assistants are specially trained to take x rays of teeth and the surrounding areas. They place a protective apron over patients’ chest and lap, position the x-ray machine, place the x-ray sensor or film in patients’ mouths, and take the x rays. Afterward, dental assistants ensure that the images are clear.

Assistants who perform lab tasks, such as taking impressions of a patient’s teeth, work under the direction of a dentist. They may prepare materials for dental impressions or temporary crowns.

Each state regulates the scope of practice for dental assistants. Some states let dental assistants polish teeth to remove stains and plaque from the enamel or apply sealants, fluoride, or topical anesthetic.

Dental assistants held about 346,000 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of dental assistants were as follows:

Offices of dentists 90%
Offices of physicians 2
Government 2

 

Dental assistants work under the supervision of dentists and work closely with dental hygienists in their day-to-day activities.

Dental assistants wear safety glasses, surgical masks, protective clothing, and gloves to protect themselves and patients from infectious diseases. They also must follow safety procedures to minimize risks associated with x-ray machines.

Work Schedules

Most dental assistants work full time. Some work evenings or weekends.

Pay

The median annual wage for dental assistants was $38,660 in May 2018. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,940, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $54,800.

In May 2018, the median annual wages for dental assistants in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Government $42,390
Offices of dentists 38,670
Offices of physicians 35,760

Most dental assistants work full time. Some work evenings or weekends.

Career Outlook

Employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Ongoing research linking oral health and general health will continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services. Dentists will continue to hire dental assistants to complete routine tasks, allowing dentists to work more efficiently. As dental practices grow, more dental assistants will be needed.

As the large baby-boom population ages and as people keep more of their original teeth than did previous generations, the need to maintain and treat teeth will lead to continued increases in the need for dental care.