How do you become a dental assistant?


Quick Answer

Those interested in working as dental assistants should contact their state dental boards to learn more about the educational requirements needed. Some states require students to complete at least one year of formal education from an accredited training program and pass a state exam. Other states require students to complete on-the-job training prior to taking the dental-assistant exam.

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Full Answer

Dental-assistant training programs teach students how to use and clean dental tools, how to clean and polish teeth and how to assist dentists during a variety of dental procedures involving the teeth, gums and jaw. Students may also learn how to use x-ray machines and other dental-office equipment. Previous coursework in biology, anatomy and chemistry is helpful when learning about teeth, gum and jaw health but is not necessary to complete training. If dental-assistant training programs are not required by the state, on-the-job training can teach students how to perform dental-assistant duties while helping students prepare for state dental-assistant exams.

After completing a training program or on-the-job training, students prepare to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam designed by the Dental Assisting National Board. Students should also complete and maintain cardiopulmonary-resuscitation certification. To advance in this field, entry-level dental assistants should pursue additional education and training.

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