Dental assistants are an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to overall oral health. Because oral surgeons and dentists have many responsibilities, they need a skilled and trustworthy assistant to make sure other important matters are taken care of in the office.
Dental assistants can begin important processes, assist dentists during procedures and complete several minor procedures on their own, freeing up the dentist’s time and expertise for more serious or complex cases.
What Do Dental Assistants Do?
Dental assistants take on a number of tasks. A sample of these tasks include:
- providing patient care
- performing x-rays
- completing documentation
- scheduling patient appointments
- assisting the dentist during procedures
- cleaning and preparing equipment
The duties may vary from state to state and could depend on the dentist’s office in which they work, but these tasks are typical of individuals in this role.
What Education is Needed?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many dental assistant positions do not require a degree. Depending on the state in which a prospective dental assistant lives, they may be required to acquire a certificate from an accredited institution and pass a certification exam.
Likewise, dental offices have the authority to create their own requirements to which employees must comply. Many offices require that courses are taken, and certificates are earned at an accredited institution such as Florida National University.
Interested? Follow These Steps.
What are the steps toward becoming a dental assistant in South Florida? Follow Florida National University’s (FNU) guide:
Narrow Down a Program of Choice
It is very important for dental assistants to receive proper education, training and experience before entering the workforce. When another person’s health is a factor, the more training and education obtained the better!
Students interested in this career path must consider what kind of information and experience they want from a training program, and accordingly, find a program that meets their needs and expectations. Here are some important factors to consider while choosing a program:
- Schedule Flexibility. FNU offers day and night classes, and a rolling application deadline. That means that it is always the right time to apply and start learning!
- Fast Track Programs. Because this is a certificate program, general education classes are not required. Students must only attend classes that specialize in their subject, making it easy to focus on what is most important for their career path.
- Experienced Professors. Professors in FNU’s program are active in the dental field, making them a tremendously helpful resource for information on this subject.
Get an Education
The next step after finding their preferred program, students must take the time to apply for a program. Upon acceptance into the program, it becomes the student’s responsibility to ensure that they learn to the best of their ability.
While in class, students should ask questions, study hard, practice as often as possible and gain experience through various avenues, such as an internship or the required Clinical Externship.
Learn About the Field
Before studying in a program, and throughout its completion, students should invest time in learning about the field. Whether that means speaking to the professors who have years of experience in the industry or taking time to research from a number of sources.
Because FNU‘sprofessors are active in the field, attending the program offers one of the best opportunities for future dental assistants to begin networking with other professionals. A student’s professors might be able to give certain recommendations or tips regarding networking, while also potentially introducing them to different companies or practices.
Why South Florida?
Dental care is essential across the world and the nation—but especially in Florida, a state with a significant aging population. Teaching others to care for the teeth and gums, and committing to assist in the dental care of all individuals is a building block toward a healthier mouth. These efforts pave the way to a healthier population, as a growing number of studies demonstrate the link between oral health and overall health.
About FNU’s Program
The purpose of FNU’s Dental Assistant program is to prepare students for entry-level employment as dental assistants and dental auxiliaries. Graduates of the program may apply to take the Certified Dental Assistant Examination given by the Dental Assisting National Board. Graduates are eligible for employment as dental assistants with expanded functions and radiography skills.
Courses for this program include, but are not limited to:
- DEA 106 — Dental Anatomy
- DEA 108 — Diet, Nutrition, and Oral Hygiene
- DEA 110 — Dental X-Ray
- DEA 112 — Front Office Procedures
- DEA 114 — Dental Office Emergencies
FNU offers a well-rounded program in which students learn how to handle a wide variety of situations they may encounter while working in the dental field.
FNU: Opening Doors to the Future
If you are interested in this program or another program offered by FNU, be sure to apply now! FNU is here to help you succeed; we would love to help open the doors to your future.