Dentistry is a popular industry to be working in. In the dentistry field, you can pursue an array of career options as a dentist, dental hygienist, or dental assistant. In this blog, we’ll specifically be looking into dental assistants.
A dental assistant is an attractive occupation to be working as since they are considered to be high opportunity occupations. Being a high opportunity occupation means that a career as a dental assistant will be rewarding due to the number of job openings today and in the future as well as a higher salary than many comparable roles out there.
What Is a Dental Assistant?
Dental assistants collaboratively work with dentists and dental hygienists to make sure that patients are attended to and have excellent oral health. Dental assistants can be classified into two categories, Level 1 and Level 2 dental assistants.
In order to become a Certified Dental Assistant, you will need to complete both Level 1 and Level 2 training at a recognized dental school. At Sprott Shaw College, we offer both Level 1 and Level 2 training in one comprehensive program through our Dental Assistant program. Below, we’ll be going over both of these levels and what each level is qualified to do in practice.
Level 1 Dental Assisting
As a new dental assistant student, the first training process you will go through is Level 1 dental assisting. In the course of your program as a Level 1 student, you will be trained in a range of chair-side activities. Chair-side activities refer to actions that are not inside a patient’s mouth like passing instruments and materials to the dentist, sterilizing and disinfecting equipment, placing x-rays, and scheduling appointments for patients.
After completing Level 1 training, you will be qualified to perform a number of chair-side roles in a dental practice. Although this level of training only serves extra-oral responsibilities, Level 1 dental assistants still serve as an important member of any dental clinic as they prepare dental materials and cements, help in dental procedures, process and mount radiographs, pour and trim cast models, and communicate with patients to provide post-operative education and instructions.
Level 2 Dental Assisting
As a dental assistant student, the fun part probably starts for you when you get to work directly with patients in intra-oral tasks. In your Level 2 training, you will learn how to perform dental procedures on patients so that by the end of your education, you will be able to do everything that Level 1 dental assistants can do and more.
As a Level 2 dental assistant, you will be qualified to perform a variety of intra-oral responsibilities on patients like the mechanical polishing of the coronal portion of the teeth, placement and removal of rubber dams, topical application of anti-cariogenic agents, application of pit and fissure sealants, application of topical anesthetics, oral irrigation, and much more.
Once you’ve received and completed both your Level 1 and Level 2 training, you can then write the National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) Written Exam and take the NDAEB Clinical Practice Evaluation. If you pass the written exam and clinical evaluation as well as meet the eligibility requirements for certification with the BC College of Oral Health Professionals, you can officially call yourself a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).
To learn more about dental assistants, contact an advisor below.