Use your Skills to Become a Dentist or Hygienist
You can complete your Dental Assistant training in about 12 to 24 months. This will provide you with the necessary skills to work in a dental facility. If you are interested in becoming a Dentist or Dental Hygienist, then it is a good idea to train as a Dental Assistant first. This will provide you with the opportunity to explore the dental field and know exactly what you are getting involved in before spending four or more years on an education in a field you are not going to enjoy.
Dental assistants help with a variety of needs in dental offices. They sterilize tools and get items ready for procedures for both Dentists and Hygienists. They assist during the actual procedures, handing necessary tool and equipment. In some states, they are even allowed to administer local anesthetics.
Dental Assistants have a front row seat for all the dental procedures as they take place. Careful observation of techniques will be a great learning experience for them. While Dental Assistants aren’t allowed to perform the procedures they are watching due to licensing issues, they definitely come to learn the process for each procedure.
Once a Dental Assistant decides to continue their education and pursue a career as a Dentist or Hygienist, they knowledge they gained in the dental office will be very valuable. Since the Dental Assistant has watched procedures take place many times, they are more likely to complete the procedures accurately themselves during the learning process of their continued dental education program.
Many Dentists want to keep the qualified staff they have. They are often willing to work your schedule around your classes. Some in larger dental offices might offer to assist you with the cost of attending the classes or reimburse you for your education upon completion if you agree to work for them.
Working as a Dental Assistant prior to becoming a Hygienist or Dentist gives you an edge on the competition. You will have work experience and education to market versus only education. Many employers want both when they hire dental Hygienists and Dentists. You will also have very sharp skills in the areas of communication and understanding fears patients may have when they enter the dentist office.
A certificate as a Dental Assistant can be a mere stepping stone for some who have greater ambitions in the dental field. However, the experience is one you will find educational and full of opportunity. You will also be more likely to treat new Dental Assistants with compassion and take them under your wing as they enter the dental field in the future.
All fields of dentistry continue to grow because people are taking better care of their teeth then ever before. New technology has lead to procedures that are not as painful as in the past, encouraging patients to come in for dental care. People are also living longer, so their teeth need to last longer.
If you are a Dental Assistant with an interest in pursuing a career as a Dentist or Hygienist, look into various programs in your area. Some with give you credit for the work you are doing at your position in the dental office. It will depend on the program and what types of tasks you are performing. However, many people find out they have less courses to take, saving them both time and money if they look into this prior to enrolling in a dental program.