How to Make the Most of your Dental Assisting Career

As you prepare for your career as a dental assistant, it’s good to keep in mind that the industry is changing rapidly, providing even more opportunities for growth and development for the savvy dental assistant.

Some of these changes are due to rapid advances in diagnostic technology (identifying problems before they lead to breakdown in the gums and teeth) and therapeutic technology (helping patients heal faster and more completely). Still others are due to the new realities of today’s dental practice, as dental professionals try to do more with their existing staff to serve patients more completely. In many cases, dental assistants are being allowed to perform expanded duties—some of them quite advanced.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re currently enrolled in an accredited dental assistant training program or certified dental assistant school, you’re in luck. According to Kimberly Bland, president of American Dental Assistants Association, today’s dentists and dental practices are seeking new assistants who are already trained on the latest tools and techniques. In a recent article for DentistryIQ.com, Dr Bland explains that the cost of new technology has increased so much, that dentists need assistants who can start immediately as a productive member of the team, with a strong base of knowledge and skills. Also due to time constraints, many dental practices don’t have time to consider every candidate applying for a position, so those with proven experience or formal training (such as the training you receive at High Desert Medical College) are going to have the edge on the competition.

Once you land a new job as a dental assistant, the learning isn’t over. In fact, opportunities for growth aren’t limited to simply improving your abilities as an assistant. For those interested in more diverse work, there are also opportunities in dental practice management or dental office management, human resources, or even finance. With the experience you will gain working with your dentist and patients, you’ll be in an ideal position to expand your role within your own practice if you want to explore new opportunities. The key to making a success of this approach is continuing education, networking and having a genuine interest in whatever field you wish to explore!

There are ample professional development opportunities to help acquire the skills needed to manage the dental office, whether in a full-time capacity or as part of your job as a dental assistant. Show your employer and your patients that you want to broaden your skills and help improve the practice with CE courses at every step in your career.

In addition, networking is always a good idea to ensure long-term career growth. The American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) offers resources and networking opportunities for business assistants, those working chairside, as well as dental assisting educators and consultants.

How to get started

Your best bet for long-term career success in dental assisting starts right now! By learning the newest technology, skills and procedures during your dental assisting coursework, you set you up for a positive job search and new employment experience. Don’t hesitate to ask your instructors about new developments in the industry, and stay current on new trends in technology and patient services. Everything you do today will help pay dividends for your future!

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