Dental Assistant/Dental Front Office
Although many jobs in dentistry require specific training and a license, unlicensed dental assistants can be employed in a number of dental office positions. They can help with scheduling, billing, and even some patient preparation and chairside assisting. Some knowledge of dental terminology is helpful.
The demand for front office personnel is very high.
Registered Dental Assistant
Dental assistants work alongside the dentist, assisting with a variety of dental services. They prepare patients for treatment, take x-rays and assist chairside with the dentist. Training (either college-level or on-the-job training) is required to obtain a license. The demand for RDAs is currently very high.
Registered Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienists are licensed professionals who use their knowledge and clinical skills to provide dental care to patients. They clean teeth, instruct patients on methods to maintain good oral health, take x-rays and more. Two or more years of college-level education in an accredited program is necessary to obtain a license. Dental hygiene is one of the 30 fastest growing professions in the country.
Dental Laboratory Technician
Although dental laboratory technicians rarely work directly with patients, they are valuable members of the dental team. Following instructions from the dentist, they create dentures, crowns, bridges, etc. This career can begin with either college-level education or on-the-job training. There is a high demand for dental lab techs.
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Dentists are licensed professionals trained in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases; treatment of injuries; and correction of malformations of the teeth, jaw and mouth. A college degree, followed by 3-4 years of dental school, is required to obtain a license to practice dentistry.