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What Does a Dental Assistant Do in Texas?

With their knowledge of clinical and administrative tasks, Dental Assistants strive to keep dental offices running as efficiently as possible. They support Dentists and patients before, during, and after procedures. This exciting career path has ample room for growth and allows Dental Assistants to improve the oral health of their community one patient at a time.
Armed with basic life support and technical knowledge, Dental Assistants are prepared to ensure patient safety and provide support as necessary.

What Does a Dental Assistant Do?

Dental Assistants perform a mix of administrative and clinical tasks to help dental offices run more efficiently. These allied health professionals help sterilize equipment and prepare rooms for patients. They prepare patients for their procedures by taking their past dental history and making note of any pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, in their files. This information allows Dentists to adjust their treatment plans as necessary to ensure the patient’s comfort and safety during treatments.
Dental Assistants explain what will happen during a procedure, so patients know what to expect when the Dentist or Dental Hygienist arrives. Throughout a patient’s procedure, Dental Assistants support Dentists by handing them the appropriate tools and holding equipment to ensure a clear line of sight, and more. If a Dentist needs an x-ray, Dental Assistants place a protective apron over the patient’s chest and lap to minimize their exposure to radiation. Dental Assistants make sure each image is clear, so the Dentist can accurately read and interpret them.
Once the procedure is finished, Dental Assistants educate patients on proper oral care, schedule a follow-up appointment, oversee billing and payment, and prepare the room for the next appointment. Under the supervision of a Dentist, Dental Assistants may also perform select lab tasks such as taking a patient’s teeth impressions in preparation for temporary crowns. They are also trained to handle other impression materials such as dental wax, cement, resins, and more.

How Do You Become a Dental Assistant?

Dental Assistants in Texas are trained to handle basic dental procedures under the supervision of a Dentist.
As such, aspiring Dental Assistants build their basic understanding of dentistry through a Dental Assisting program at a postsecondary school. These programs use a mix of classroom learning and hands-on training in simulated environments to prepare graduates for entry-level positions. They may also have an internship or practicum component that allows students to gain hands-on experience under the supervision of licensed Dentists in real dental offices. This could allows Dental Assisting students to adjust to workplace expectations and it’s a great chance to develop their customer service skills and network with local professionals.

How Long are Dental Assistant Programs in Texas?

Dental Assistant programs can take anywhere from one to two years to complete; however, most programs last about one year and award either a diploma or certificate to graduates. At South Texas Vocational Technical Institute (STVT), students can complete our Dental Assisting program in as little as 15 months..

Do You Need a Degree to Become a Dental Assistant?

While there are some Dental Assisting programs that award degrees to graduates, having a degree isn’t necessary to start working in this field. Dental Assistants typically have a high school diploma or equivalent as well as a Dental Assisting diploma or certificate from a postsecondary institute. So long as Dental Assisting students complete programs with both classroom and hands-on components, they can build skills to prepare for life after graduation.
During a Dental Assisting program, students can learn facial anatomy, infection control, proper oral hygiene, dental terminology, and more. Our program can help Dental Assisting students build the basic skills and knowledge used in the workforce after graduation.
At STVT, our Dental Assisting program aims to help our students better prepare for life after graduation. We train them to take x-rays and ensure each image is properly captured. Additionally, we teach students how to perform administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, updating patient records, handling payments, and more. Our Dental Assisting program can also help prepare students to perform basic life support such as CPR and First Aid

Can You Work as a Dental Assistant without Being Registered in Texas?

Entry-level Dental Assistants in Texas don’t need registration to perform basic supportive duties. Should they choose to pursue more advanced tasks, such as taking x-rays, they must first earn registration through the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners. Once they earn this registration, they can start processing and examining x-rays in the workplace. For more specifics on Texas requirements, we recommend visiting the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners.

What’s the Job Outlook for Dental Assistants in Texas?

Texas currently ranks as the second state with the highest employment levels for Dental Assistants. If the projected job outlook continues growing by 7% between 2022 and 2032, roughly 55,100 positions will be available each year.

Start Preparing for Careers in Dental Assisting

Dental Assistants are responsible for handling the daily administrative and clinical tasks that keep dental offices running smoothly.
While Dental Assistants are primarily there to support Dentists, they can also be a great support system for nervous or uncomfortable patients. They prepare patients for what to expect once the Dentist or Dental Hygienist arrives and serve as a friendly face throughout the entire procedure. They can help put patients at ease before their procedure and educate patients on ways to properly maintain their oral hygiene between appointments.
Dental Assistants sterilize equipment and rooms are sterilized to maintain the safety of both patients and staff. While earning registration through the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners isn’t mandatory, having it can prepare Dental Assistants to take on more complex tasks. This can open the door for opportunities for career growth and advancement.
Ready to start preparing for entry-level careers in Dental Assisting or simply interested in learning more about our program? Call STVT today at (866) 480-9766 or submit this form to request more information!