Dental Assisting FAQ

1. What is a Dental Assistant and what do they do?

Dental assistants typically do the following:

  • Work with patients to make them comfortable in the dental chair and to prepare them for treatments and procedures
  • Sterilize dental instruments
  • Prepare the work area for patient treatment by setting out instruments and materials
  • Help dentists by handing instruments during procedures
  • Instruct patients in proper oral hygiene care and pre and post-operative treatment
  • Process x rays and complete lab tasks, under the direction of a dentist
  • Keep records of dental treatments
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Work with patients on billing and payment

Some responsibilities and requirements vary from state to state.

2. Where does a Dental Assistant work?

Dental assistants typically work in dental office clinical settings.  However, they can work for dental labs, insurance companies, or oral care product manufacturers.

3. What is the Employment Outlook for Dental Assistants?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (, “Employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 18 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Ongoing research linking oral health and general health will likely continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services. Dentists will continue to hire more dental assistants to complete routine tasks, allowing the dentist to see more patients in their practice and to spend their time on more complex procedures. As dental practices grow, more dental assistants will be needed.

As the large baby-boom population ages, and as people keep more of their original teeth than did previous generations, the need to maintain and treat teeth will continue to increase the need for dental care.

Federal health legislation is expected to expand the number of patients who have access to health insurance. People with new or expanded dental insurance coverage will be more likely to visit a dentist than in the past. This will increase the demand for all dental services, including those performed by dental assistants.”

4. How long is the typical training to become a Dental Assistant?

At Beckfield College, it takes one year to obtain a diploma in dental assisting.  Our on campus labs are equipped with state-of-art modern equipment and courses are taught by practicing dental assistants and dentists. Students spend 9 months on campus, and 3 months in various dental offices to gain the necessary hands-on experience.

5. Are there any certifications or licensures I will need to work in this field?

To perform x-rays as a dental assistant in the state of Ohio, dental assistants are required to be certified as a dental radiographer. Beckfield College is a Radiology Education Sponsor and is accredited by the Ohio State Dental Board.  Thus, upon successful completion of the didactic and laboratory parts of Dental Radiology course, Beckfield College students are eligible to apply and obtain the State of Ohio Dental Radiographer’s Certification.

Learn more about our Dental Assisting Diploma Program

Top 3 Reasons to Earn your Dental Assisting Diploma from Beckfield College!