Dental assistants are responsible for helping dentists during oral-care procedures and performing general lab duties. Becoming a dental assistant usually requires 1 year of training with a heavy focus on live experience. As a dental assistant, you can anticipate earning around $32,000 a year as a starting wage. This blog post looks at the different types of dental assistant pros and cons:
1. High-Income Potential
Dental assisting is a great way to challenge yourself as a professional. As a dental assistant, you’ll encounter opportunities to learn new skills and apply them to your job. It’s well worth the investment to take a few continuing education courses once you’re a dental assistant. These courses can help you qualify for a higher paying position.
Experience as a dental assistant also goes a long way if you study to become a dental hygienist. You may even encounter a situation where your employer is willing to pay for a portion of your training. How far you go is up to your willingness to put in the work to get the extra credentials and skills required for high paying positions.
2. Fun Training Process
Training to become a dental assistant is an enjoyable and unique process. Dental assisting gets right to the point instead of forcing you to complete a 4-year program. Most dental assisting programs can be finished in just one year. During your training, you can expect to learn about anatomy, oral health, and infection prevention practices. Your training will also give you the chance to practice your skills on live patients while you’re still a student. Training to become a dental assistant is fun and challenging.
3. Challenging Work Environment
Depending on how much you value a challenge, this could be one of the dental assistant pros and cons. Every day as a dental assistant is challenging in its own way. You’ll never know what types of patients or what kinds of conditions you’ll have to deal with. Dental assisting does feature some mundane tasks such as sterilizing dental equipment, processing x-rays, and scheduling patient appointments. You’ll also get a chance to practice your communication skills by welcoming patients and easing the fears of patients that feel nervous.
Working as a dental assistant means you’ll assist during the examinations and procedures. You can expect the challenges you encounter to be varied. Job shadowing opportunities will help you weigh the different dental assistant pros and cons.
4. Dental Assisting Has The Potential For A Flexible Schedule
Becoming a dental assistant doesn’t mean you’re stuck to a 9-5 schedule. Dental assisting is in high demand, and there are opportunities to work nights and weekends. Even with a part-time position, you’ll still be eligible for vacation time, sick leave, and other benefits. Some dental assistants even spilt their time between two or more dental offices. One of the advantages of becoming a dental assistant is you have the chance to go out and look for opportunities on your own, which allows you to control your destiny.
5. Dealing With Bodily Fluids
One of the more taxing parts of dental assisting is dealing with bodily fluids from patients. It won’t be uncommon for you to deal with blood, saliva, and even pus on a daily basis. Make sure you’re comfortable with this aspect of the job before committing to the training. Assisting during dental work is one of the key functions of a dental assistant, so being afraid of bodily fluids won’t allow you to do your job properly.
6. Dental Assisting Involves A Lot Of Hunching
One of the negatives about dental assisting as a job is the awkward position you’ll find yourself in. It’s common for dental assistants to suffer from neck, back, and even arm pain after a long day. Dental assistants sometimes have to sit or stand in uncomfortable positions while they wait for the dentist or patients. There’s also a lot of hunching over patients while doing routine examinations. Many dentists and hygienists also develop back and shoulder problems after years of hunching over patients.
7. Potential For Stressful Days
Dental assisting can be stressful on busy days. When you have patients back to back, and minimal time to prepare, you can start feeling overwhelmed. The relationship you have with the dentist also impacts your stress levels. A negative relationship can cause more stress and anxiety on a daily basis. When exploring new work opportunities, keep in mind the relationship with the dentist will impact your day to day experiences. The potential for stress is something to consider when weighing the different dental assistant pros and cons.
8. Risk Of Infection
Following proper safety procedures is especially important as a dental assistant. Dental assisting involves being regularly exposed to microorganisms, likely from patients’ mouths. Dental assistants also run the risk of inhaling aerosols produced during dental procedures, which can potentially lead to respiratory infections. There are many ways to pick up an infection in a dental office; after all, you’re working in a medical environment. If you decide to produce dental assisting, invest in a mask, gloves, protective clothing, and eyewear.