Dental Assistants support dentists by scheduling appointments, ensuring patients are comfortable, and sterilizing dental tools. They also observe and assist the dentist with cleaning teeth, processing x-rays, and using lab equipment.
Let’s review the steps to rocking a dental assistant resume.
How to Write a Summary for a Dental Assistant
- Mention your previous experience. How many other dental offices have you worked for? Are you certified to work with x-rays or other specialized equipment?
- Describe your greatest strength. Are you a pro at making patients feel comfortable? Are you efficient in scheduling appointments? Do you ensure that tools are cleaned in a timely manner?
- Explain what you’re eager to accomplish in the next stage of your career. Are you working on securing more certifications? Are you looking to attend dentistry school, or to broaden your knowledge base about dental tools?
How to List Your Work Experience as a Dental Assistant
- Use reverse chronological format. List your most recent jobs first, as this shows managers how you’ve gained experience in the industry.
- Use action verbs related to Dental Assistant. Verbs are critical to demonstrating what you can do for the company. Review the following list for some powerful examples.
See our list of over 350 action verbs to find more.
Senior Level Work Experience as a Dental Assistant
- Processed x rays and completed lab tasks
- Assisted customers with billing and payment plans
- Advised patients in proper oral hygiene
- Organized patient and dental records by alphabetical order
- Took x-rays of patients’ teeth using Gendex Orthoralix and Aribex x-ray technologies
- Prepared materials for crowns and dental impressions
- Communicated with suppliers to order materials like toothbrushes and floss
- Ensured cabinets are stocked with dental materials
- Cleaned and maintained dental equipment
- Provided postoperative instructions to patients as directed by the dentist
- Maintained patient confidence and protected operations by keeping information confidential
- Assisted with dental and medical emergencies by maintaining CPR certification, emergency drug and oxygen supply, and emergency telephone directory
Junior Level Work Experience as a Dental Assistant
- Prepared work area for treatments and procedures
- Sterilized dental instruments
- Assisted dentist with procedures such as crowns and braces
- Scheduled appointments
- Handed instruments to dentists during procedures
- Dried patients’ mouths using suction hoses and other equipment
- Recorded and inform doctor of patients’ medical history
- Monitored patients’ blood pressures and pulses during procedures
- Documented procedures and refresh dentist before follow-up appointments
- Instructed patients about appropriate oral hygiene strategies in order to maintain oral health (e.g., tooth brushing, flossing and nutritional counseling)
- Performed office management and administrative tasks
- Protected patients and employees by adhering to infection-control policies and protocols
- Provided customer service by answering phones and emails
How to List Your Skills as a Dental Assistant
Dental Assistants need to be both analytical and compassionate. You need to be able to comfort patients but also to keep track of records and assist with billing questions.
- Computer Literacy
- Critical Thinking
- Detail Oriented
- Excellent Judgement
- Interpersonal Skills
- Record-Keeping Skills
In addition to skills, a Dental Assistant might find themselves also learning a variety of different dental tools as apart of their day-to-day activities.
How to List Your Education as a Dental Assistant
Dental Assistants do not require a bachelor’s degree. Instead, you become certified through academic programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes, or other certification programs. This generally takes one year, though it can be less if you opt for an accelerated pathway. The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association is responsible for accrediting dental assisting programs, and offers over 250 training options to help you on your way.
Requirements for certifications vary by state but generally involve the following:
- High School Diploma or GED
- Training from a CODA accredited program
- Get certified by taking the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) or Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exams
- Complete a background check
- Some states require specific licensing requirements in order to work in radiography (x ray), infection control, or other specialties. The Bureau of Labor Statistics encourages you to contact your state’s Board of Dental Examiners for more information.
Dental Assistant Career Overview
The job outlook for Dental Assistants is growing at 11% per year, which is considered to be growing much faster than average. In 2018 there were 346,000 jobs available.
Dental Assistants make $40,080 per year on average. However, salaries could be as high as $56,930 depending on the state in which you live and the company with whom you're employed.
Top Paying Salaries by State
- $52,220 -- Minnesota
- $49,350 -- Alaska
- $49,280 -- New Hampshire
Search for Dental Assistant Jobs