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Dental Assistant and Dental Hygienist Schools

Dental assistants and dental hygienists are valuable members of the dental care team, helping dentists in a variety of tasks to increase their efficiency in the delivery of quality oral health care. Both assistants and hygienists are skilled in basic instrument set-up and the proper use of dental tools and materials, including taking and processing x-rays, providing instruction to patients, and keeping detailed and accurate records of patient care.

Job Description: Dental Assistants are often the first professionals the patients see in the dental office, and their duties are among the most comprehensive and varied in the dental clinic. They may provide care in general dentistry or in specialties such as periodontics, pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, or oral surgery. Their duties may include conducting patient interviews, making impressions, charting histories, assisting during minor surgeries and laboratory procedures, preparing and sterilizing dental equipment and instruments, reception, insurance billing, recordkeeping, and general office procedures. Her/his expertise in the operation and maintenance of dental equipment is essential in the modern dental office.

Programs to Consider:

Dental hygienists perform slightly more advanced tasks than those of the dental assistant. Hygienists examine patients' teeth and gums to assess oral health conditions and screen for oral cancer, they clean patients' teeth and apply preventive materials like sealants or fluorides, and they provide many educational services, instructing patients about good oral hygiene and preventative dental care. They also work alongside dentists during treatment and surgeries.

Both dental assistants and hygienists enjoy flexible schedules, with full-time and part-time positions available, as well as evening and weekend shifts. Preventative oral health care has led to an increased demand for dental services, which is opening up more job opportunities for hygienists and assistants, making it an exciting and stable field to go into. (ADA) Request free degree information from any of the featured schools below.