A Day in the Life of a Dental Assistant

What exactly does a dental assistant do all day? What should you expect when you land a great job at a dental clinic as an assistant? We asked Emma, a 30-year-old dental assistant in the Oshawa area, to share what it’s like to work as a dental assistant in a busy clinic.

Why did you choose to become a dental assistant?

I chose it because I needed a part-time job that paid well. I also chose it because I was interested in the healthcare field, but I didn’t think I’d enjoy nursing.

Can you describe the dental clinic you work in?

I work in a fast-paced, busy clinic. We have five operatories (clinic rooms), two dentists, two dental assistants and four hygienists.

What are your main responsibilities at the dental clinic?

Each day is a bit different, but almost every day I:

  • Sterilize instruments
  • Greet and seat patients
  • Assist with procedures (restorations, root canals, extractions, crown preps, etc)
  • Take x-rays
  • Polish teeth
  • Take impressions
  • Do lab work
  • Pull charts
  • File
  • Bill patients
  • Accept payment
  • Clean the operatory rooms where we work

How much time do you spend working with a dentist?

I work alongside my assigned dentist every day, all day long.

How is your job different than that of a dental hygienist?

A dental hygienist works alone scaling teeth. As a dental assistant, I work along with the dentist doing different procedures to restore teeth.

What parts of the job are most challenging?

Working with kids can be fun but also challenging.

What are your favourite parts of the job?

I love helping someone love their smile!

Are you interested in joining the ranks of dental assistants? Trillium College offers a 12-month diploma program that will completely prepare you for a career as a dental assistant.

In conjunction with the in-class dental program components, you will gain valuable professional experience working in a clinical setting in our dental college clinic. After graduation, you you may find employment in general dentistry, community dentistry, specialty dentistry or dental sales.

A new program is starting soon! Find out more here.