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Dental Assistant Recognition Week: The Role Of A Dental Assistant

Dental Assistant Recognition Week: The Role Of A Dental Assistant

A dental assistant plays a vital role in the day-to-today operations of a dental office. Dental assistants perform a variety of tasks such as administrative work, preparing patients for oral surgery, assisting with teeth cleanings, and more. They are commonly the first person you see when you visit your dentist's office for a routine exam and cleaning. A dental assistant career can be fun, fast-paced, challenging, and come with a lot of responsibilities. To be a great dental assistant, you need to have a broad set of skills to provide patients with high-quality oral care. This article will go over the specific responsibilities of dental assistants as well as how you can begin your career in this exciting field.

Dental Assistant Responsibilities

Dental assistants are often the first person you see when you walk into the dental office. Their duties will vary on a daily basis but they are mostly responsible for patient care and chair-side support as a dentist completes exams and procedures. A dental assistant needs to have the knowledge of advanced dental procedures, dental materials, and equipment to help dentists during procedures and anticipate the order of operations to hand over tools to the dentist. Some of the main responsibilities of a dental assistant include:

  • Prepping the work area for patient treatment
  • Sterilizing dental instruments
  • Assisting with dental procedures such as fillings, crown placements, and extractions
  • Preparing patients for surgery
  • Performing administrative tasks
  • Cleaning up after procedures
  • Processing x-rays
  • Scheduling patient appointments

One of the most important tasks a dental assistant must do is educate patients on proper dental hygiene practices and explain what patients can expect with their appointments. A dental assistant is not the same as a dental hygienist. A dental hygienist has the additional responsibility of performing dental cleanings and performing x-rays on patients. 

How To Become A Dental Assistant In Canada

There are several accredited training programs for dental assistants across Canada. Educational requirements to enter these programs include High School education with a focus in all sciences and math and some programs require applicants to obtain and maintain a valid CPR certification. Once accepted into a program, dental assistant programs focus training on preventative dentistry, microbiology, clinical assisting procedures, and infection control. The program typically only takes students a year to complete before they can write a final exam with the National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB), the governing body that regulates all dental assistants in Canada. 

Most programs also require at least two practicum periods to gain over 60 hours of clinical experience. This ensures dental assistants gain hands-on experience in a real-world setting before graduating and applying for jobs.  Once you have passed the exam and completed the practicum hours, you will not be required to renew your licensing annually unlike other professions. You will be able to choose from a variety of careers such as working in a private practice, public health programs, or military service depending on your career and salary goals.

Follow Your Dream And Become A Dental Assistant

A dental assistant plays a vital role in the operations of a dental office. Whether it be performing administrative tasks like booking and billing patient appointments or assisting the dentist during a procedure. Becoming a dental assistant does not take long and requires no annual licensing requirements. If you are interested in becoming a dental assistant in Canada, take a look at programs offered near you and explore the technical and personal skills required to pursue this career.

Need some career advice on your next dental exam visit? If you are in need of a dental cleaning and dental exam and are looking for some career advice regarding dentistry and becoming a dental assistant, book an appointment with Dr.Korol today by calling 1-403-245-9099, or by filling out our online contact form. Our dental office is a leading holistic and biocompatible dental practice in Calgary that offers dental services such as cleanings, teeth whitening, emergency dentistry, and more. Dr. Korol has the experience and expertise to give you advice on how to embark on the rewarding career of becoming a dental assistant.


Q: How often should I visit the dentist for a dental cleaning?
A: The Canadian Association of Dentistry recommends patients visit their dentist once every six months.

Q: How long is dental assistant school?
A: Dental assistant programs are completed in one year. This includes practicum hours and examinations.

Q: Is a dental hygienist and dental assistant the same thing?
A: No they are not. A dental hygienist requires more schooling to be able to perform additional tasks such as dental cleaning and performing x-rays on patients.

What Sets Us Apart

What Sets Us Apart

Dr. Jackie Korol is passionate about providing outstanding dental care! She completed her dental studies in 2011 and has since committed to providing Calgarians with the care and the most up-to-date dental products and technology. Dr. Korol is dedicated to safe and mercury-free dentistry, with Dr. Korol Dentistry as a leading holistic and biocompatible dental practice.


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