Where Will a Dental Assistant Career Take You?

Learn about your options once you decide to become a dental assistant.

Typical Work Environment

where dental assistants can work

Most dental assistants work in privately owned dental offices; however, many dental assistant career professionals work in hospitals, schools and clinics. In any case, your work atmosphere is calm and clean and conducive to the service of the dental patient.

In a dental assistant career, you will work very closely with the dentist during procedures—handling instruments and following the dentist's lead.

Most dental assistants work a 4-day week. Vacation is generally paid and taken when the dentist is also on vacation. With these great hours and good benefits, a dental assistant career can offer you a comfortable work schedule.

Dental Assistant Career Options and Opportunity

Since many dentists typically hire two or more dental assistants, employment opportunities in this field are excellent. As a dental assistant, you have the choice to work in one of the following environments:

  • Solo dental practices
  • Group practices

Specialties and Alternatives

In addition to traditional dental practices, dental assistants have the opportunity to work in specialty areas, such as:

  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery: removal of teeth and correction of facial deformities
  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics: straightening teeth with braces or other appliances
  • Endodontics: root canal treatment
  • Periodontics: treatment of gum problems
  • Prosthodontics: replacement of lost teeth
  • Pediatric dentistry: treatment of children

Dental Assistant Career Path

Experienced dental assistants may be promoted to an office manager or supervisor position. Other career paths for dental assistants include:

  • Insurance claims processing
  • Teaching
  • Dental product sales representative