Cosmetic Dental Assistant: Job Duties & Requirements

Read about the administrative and clinical tasks that cosmetic dental assistants are responsible for. Learn about training options, career outlook estimations and salary information. Also, find out about similar jobs that may be of interest.

View popular schools

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Advanced General Dentistry Programs
  • Dental Assisting
  • Dental Clinical Science
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Laboratory Tech
  • Dental Materials
  • Dental Public Health and Education
  • Dentistry - DDS, DMD
  • Endodontics
  • Oral Biology and Oral Pathology
  • Oral Surgery
  • Orthodontics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics

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

Education Required

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.

Job Skills

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.

Alternative Career Options

Similar career choices include:

Medical Assistant

While some of their tasks are administrative, medical assistants also assist physicians by giving patients injections and checking vital signs. Medical assistants may learn on the job, but they still usually need a high school diploma. May 2015 salary information from the BLS showed that medical assistants made a median income of $30,590 per year. Between 2014 and 2024, medical assistants could see a 23% increase in jobs, based on BLS data.

Physical Therapist Assistant

The median salary for physical therapist assistants was $55,170 in 2015, according to the BLS. A faster-than-average job growth of 41% was estimated for this field between 2014 and 2024. Working under licensed physical therapists, assistants monitor patients undergoing therapy and help them use equipment and devices. An associate's degree from an accredited program is commonly required, but state requirements may vary.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • Master of Healthcare Administration
    • MS in Management - Health Care Management
    • BS in Health Science
    • BS in Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    • MBA: Health Systems Management
    • MS in Health Care Administration
    • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
    • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
    • BS in Health Care Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Dental Assistant-Certificate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MBA - Healthcare Administration
    • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
    • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a Concentration in Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    • Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a Concentration in Computed Tomography
    • Associate of Science in Health Science

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MBA Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?