This website was developed and is maintained by the North Central Wisconsin Area Health Education Center.

Dental Assistant
Dental assistants work under the direct supervision of a dentist. They perform a variety of duties including: chairside assisting, dental office procedures, and dental radiography.

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Work Activities/Environment
Dental assistants work primarily in general dental offices or specialty dental offices. There is some opportunity to work in dental labs, hospitals, and insurance companies. The duties of a dental assistant are among the most comprehensive and varied in the dental office. The dental assistant performs many tasks requiring both interpersonal and technical skills. The chairside dental assistant assists the dentist during patient care. Duties performed in this role may include, but are not limited to: operatory maintenance, oral evacuation, identification and transfer of dental instruments, matrix band assembly, anesthetic syringe assembly, fluoride application, exposure and processing of radiographs, and mixing dental materials. In the role of receptionist/office assistant, duties may include recall systems, appointment scheduling, filing, maintaining patient records, dental insurance, financial arrangements and collection, and answering telephones. Dental assistants may work full or part-time.

Academic/Special Requirements
Formal programs are offered at technical colleges. A high school diploma or equivalent is required for admission. In addition, some schools require that students complete high school science courses and take college entrance exams. It is highly recommended that individuals check with the school for specific admission requirements. Programs vary in length from three to nine months. Students receive either a certificate or diploma upon completion of the program. Individuals who complete a dental assistant program accredited by he Commission on Dental Accreditation are eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Boards (DANB) and become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

Educational Institutions
Blackhawk Technical College
Chippewa Valley Technical College
Fox Valley Technical College
Gateway Technical College
Lakeshore Technical College
Madison Area Technical College
Milwaukee Area Technical College
Milwaukee Career College
Nicolet Area Technical College
Northcentral Technical College
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
University of Wisconsin - Marshfield
Waukesha County Technical College
Western Technical College
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College - Rice Lake

Average $28,110

Professional Organizations
American Dental Assistants Association
140 N. Bloomingdale Road
Bloomingdale, IL, 60108-1017
630/994-4247 or 877/874-3785

American Dental Association (ADA)
211 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL, 60611-2678

American Dental Hygienists' Association
444 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 3400
Chicago, IL, 60611

American Medical Technologists
10700 West Higgins Rd., Suite 150
Rosemont, IL, 60018

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