What Do Dental Assistants Do?
Dental assistants perform a wide array of clinical and administrative duties under the supervision of a dentist. They assist the dentist during dental examinations and treatments, such as preparing the patient, taking x-rays, sterilizing instruments, assisting with instruments and materials, and instructing patients about general and post-operative oral health care. Dental assistants may also have administrative duties, including scheduling appointments, maintaining patient files, and billing for services.
In general, dental assistants’ duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work. In some states, dental assistants may do additional training and be registered, certified, or called “extended function” dental assistants. The scope of practice for these dental assistants, defined by the state in which they practice, tends to be broader and more complex. In New York, dental assistants have the option to be certified and if so, they have a broader scope of practice than those dental assistants who are not certified. Certified dental assistants in New York are allowed to take preliminary medical histories and vital signs that must be reviewed by the supervising dentist, select and pre-fit provisional crowns and orthodontic bands, take impressions for study casts or diagnostic casts, and remove periodontal dressings.
For more information, visit: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm
Where Do Dental Assistants Work?
The majority of dental assistants work in dental offices and clinics, while some work in hospital and doctors’ offices. Most dental assistants work full time.
What Do Dental Assistants Earn?
According to the 2019 BLS, the average salary for full time, dental assistants nationwide was $41,170, varying by specialty and geographic region. Average annual salary also varies greatly across New York State, depending on location. The NYSDOL reports that dental assistants in New York earned an average annual salary of $40,680, (entry level-$27,610, experienced- $56,580).
Supply and Demand
Between 2016 and 2026, the BLS projects the number of dental assistant jobs will increase by 19.5% nationwide and by 22.8% in New York during the same time period. For more information on projections of dental assistants by New York State labor regions, 2014-2026, click here.
New York Education Requirements
In New York, dental assistants who are not certified may be hired into an entry level dental assistant position and receive on-the-job training.
To be a certified dental assistant in New York, an individual must complete a dental assistant education program approved by the New York State Education Department or an alternate course of study that is considered equivalent to an approved program. These programs are typically one year in length and are available at community colleges and local Boards of Cooperative Education (BOCES).
New York Licensure Requirements
Any use of the title “Registered Dental Assistant” within New York State requires licensure.
To be licensed as a registered dental assistant in New York State you must:
- be at least 17 years of age;
- meet education requirements; and
- meet examination requirements.
You must file an application for licensure and the other forms indicated, along with the appropriate fee, to the Office of the Professions at the address specified on each form. For more information: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/dent/dentcdalic.htm
The American Student Dental Association (ASDA) has a list of scholarships available for students. See their website: http://www.asdanet.org/index/dental-student-resources/scholarships-and-repayment-plans/scholarships.
The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) also has scholarship, awards, and fellowship information: See this page on their website.
The American Dental Assisting Association (ADAA) also has a foundation that offers awards. http://www.dentalassistant.org/?page=ADAAFoundation
Education Programs in New York (subject to change)
|Educational Opportunity Center University at Buffalo555 Ellicott St.
Buffalo, NY 14203
474 Fulton Ave
Hempstead, NY 11550
1930 Veterans Hwy
Islandia, NY 11749
|Hudson Valley Community College
80 Vanderburgh Avenue
Troy, NY 12180
The College of Allied Health
254 W 54th Street
New York, NY 10019
|Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES
Rochester Technology Path
160 Wallace Way
Rochester, NY 14624
|Monroe Community College
1000 East Henrietta Road
Rochester, NY 14623
Barry Career & Technical Educ Center
1196 Prospect Avenue
Westbury, NY 11590
|New York School for Medical & Dental Assistants
33-10 Queens Boulevard
Long Island City, NY 11101
4500 Crown Road
Liverpool, NY 13090
|Center for Instruction Tech
& Innovation (Citi)
Oswego County BOCES
179 County Route 64
Mexico, NY 13114
|Greater Southern Tier BOCES
459 Philo Road
Elmira, NY 14903
|Stony Brook University
School of Dental Medicine
Stony Brook, NY 11794
|St. Paul’s School of Nursing
Corporate Commons Two
2 Teleport Drive
Staten Island, NY 10311
|Westchester School for Dental Assistants
242 Central Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606
1825 Windfall Rd
Olean, NY 14760
| SUNY Erie Community College
6205 Main Street
Williamsville, NY 14221
118-33 Queens Blvd
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Additional Web Links:
The American Dental Assistants Association
The New York State Dental Association