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Career Information for Cosmetic Dental Assistants
The field of cosmetic dentistry covers aesthetic-related dental procedures, such as veneers, teeth whitening, enameloplasty and orthodontics. A cosmetic dental assistant performs a variety of tasks in a dental office, including assisting cosmetic dentists during treatments and surgery. These assistants are responsible for handing instruments to the dentist, and they need to make sure every patient is comfortable. It is important for them to keep the patient's mouth dry and clear of obstructions. Some dental assistants do lab-related work, like making casts of teeth or processing x-rays. Some states permit cosmetic dental assistants to apply sealants or fluoride. Assistants may also perform a variety of administrative tasks, including scheduling and billing.
|Education||Varies by state; on-the-job training may be sufficient, or formal programs and licensing or certification may be required|
|Job Skills||Communication and interpersonal skills, understanding of cosmetic dental terminology, familiarity with sterilization techniques|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$35,980 for all dental assistants|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)*||18% growth for all dental assistants|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Training requirements vary by state; in some states, on-the-job training is sufficient, while others may require educational credentials as well licensing, certification or registration. These programs consist of laboratory and classroom work and teach students about dental assisting skills and preclinical instructions. Most of these programs take less than one year to complete, and students go on to build work experience in a cosmetic dental office.
Cosmetic dental assistants need to know and understand cosmetic dental terminology. Communication and interpersonal skills are essential, because assistants interact with patients and cosmetic dentists all day long. Cosmetic dental assistants are also required to make sure that all the instruments and utensils are sterilized.
Career and Education Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job openings for all dental assistants are predicted to grow 18% from 2014 through 2024. The increasing number of people who need dental services and the expanse of dental practices are two factors expected to drive growth in the field of cosmetic dentistry assisting. The median annual salary for all dental assistants was published as $35,980 by the BLS in May 2015.
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