Wonder what it's like to be a Dental Assistant?

Updated: Feb 15, 2020

In the life of a Dental Assistant

A career as a dental assistant is a great way to avoid boredom and experience exciting change every day, there is always a different patient, a different tooth, and a different procedure. You can use your social, and cheerful communication skills to help people while contributing to the community in a professional, clinical environment.

Work Environment

When you think of a dental office, you might imagine your family dental office where you regularly go for teeth cleanings and checkups. But, the profession expands much farther than this and your general dentist is just one specialty in the field. A dental assistant can work in many diverse kinds of dental offices called specialties.


  • General Dentistry: This specialty is kind of like your family doctor and revolves around important preventative care as well as restorative oral care such as filling cavities, repairing chipped, cracked, or missing teeth.

  • Pediatric Dentistry: This specialty is like a general dentist but instead of focusing on everyone a pediatric dentist focuses in treating children alone. If you enjoy working with children, this is the specialty you want to assist in.

  • Orthodontist: An orthodontist is more concerned with fixing misaligned teeth, jaw bones, and other facial structures. Job activities may include creating teeth molds, fitting orthodontic appliances and helping patients smile 😊.

  • Oral Surgeons: This specialty is more focused on tissues in the mouth including the gums, cheeks, lips, tongue, and facial tissues. They perform complex tooth extractions, cancerous tissue extractions, cleft lips and palate surgeries, and much more.

  • Other Dental Specialties: Endodontist, Periodontist, Prosthodontist, Lab Technician, and Sleep Dentistry.

Work Hours

Dental assistants are the backbone to any dental office, so dental assistants often open and close the office each business day. Their schedules revolve around business hours, typically are 8 a.m to 5 p.m Monday thru Friday. Depending on the office you work at you may have a 3-4 day work week or you could sometimes work weekends.


As the backbone to the dental office much of what a dental assistant does is dental office management. The average day as a dental assistant is preparing rooms and comforting patients for dental work. An assistant will collect vitals and record medical and dental history. Assisting the dentist during a procedure the assistant’s job is to hand the dentist instruments and other equipment while using suction hoses and other tools to keep the patients mouth clean. Finishing procedures dental assistants use their communication skills to educate patients about oral hygiene and postoperative instructions directed by the dentist.

Other dental assistant responsibilities.

  • Providing great patient care

  • Infection control using disinfecting and sterilizing instruments and wipes, preparing materials and instrument trays.

  • Assisting hygienist when necessary

  • Ordering dental supplies

  • Taking X-Rays on patients’ teeth

  • Caring for dental equipment

  • Forming impressions and occlusal registrations for study models and other oral appliances or restorations.

  • Preparing for the day ahead.


Many offices offer pay + benefits such as payed holidays, bonuses, vacation pay, medical insurance, dental benefits, and more. According to the average pay for a dental assistant in phoenix is $14-22 per hour.


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