Dental assisting is a wonderful career choice with so many opportunities for growth. Oftentimes, we get students who are bored with their jobs – sitting at a desk, making phone calls all day, working nights and weekends with no end in sight. We get students who want something hands-on and fast paced, something rewarding where they can truly feel like they made a difference each day. Insert: dental assisting.
Dental assistants are busy bees, always multitasking, from the moment they walk in the door until they leave, they aren’t many dull moments. If you are a people person and like to build rapport and make people feel comfortable, this may be the career choice for you. In addition to all of these great qualities of a dental assistant, they are so many ways to work your way up the ladder, or advance within your career.
Specialty offices are one way to grow. Whether you assist in surgeries at an oral surgeon or periodontist’s office, or learn how to change bands and wires at an orthodontic office, there are lots of different types of specialty offices to help increase your skills and knowledge. Another way to advance in the profession is to do more schooling. Dental hygiene and EFDA are options that a lot of our students end up doing. A dental hygienist does cleanings and can even administer local anesthesia (getting patients numb). Besides becoming a dentist, dental hygiene is the second longest career path in dentistry. An EFDA places fillings in the tooth after the dentist drills out the cavity. This is a great option if you are looking to expand upon dental assisting but want a shorter career path. You can apply to EFDA school after being a dental assistant for 2 years and once accepted, the program is 7 months long. You must be state board certified prior to applying to become an EFDA.
If you plan to stick with dental assisting for the long run, you can become state board certified and take additional CE courses to expand your knowledge and be able to do more chairside. This also helps increase your hourly rate. Dentistry is one of few healthcare professions that you can make it what you want – whether working part-time, full-time, working in a specialty office or continuing with school to go all the way and become a dentist and practice owner, the wheel is yours to take!