The medical world is full of titles and roles suited for everyone’s niche. Dentistry is the same; it’s a field comprised of various positions. When you visit a dentist’s office, it’s pretty rare to find them alone. Usually, an entire team is there as backup, be it for a simple consultation or an in-depth surgery.

Consequently, dentists always make sure to surround themselves with knowledgeable attendants by their side. But what about their second in command? Between a Dental Nurse vs. a Dental Assistant, what is the right term, and how are they different?

How is a Dental Nurse different from a Dental Assistant?
It’s pretty usual for people to get confused between the two jobs. After all, a nurse’s duty is to assist the dentist, right? So what then is a dental assistant required to do? What makes the two of them set apart from one another?

The simple answer to that would be Nothing.

A dental assistant and a dental nurse are, in actuality, the same thing. Just like how a medical nurse has to support the doctor, a dental assistant plays a similar role at a dental clinic.

What does a Dental Assistant do?

The chief responsibility of a dental assistant is exactly as the name suggests — to assist. However, just because they’re known as assistants doesn’t mean they only get to watch from the sidelines. In fact, dental assistants get plenty of fieldwork and experience. They can easily take over multiple roles in a clinic with proper training and guidance. Most of their duties are centered around:

  • Administrative Work
  • Interacting with patients
  • Taking & setting up X-Rays
  • Small surgical procedures
  • Getting dental impressions
  • Lending a hand to the dentist
  • Preparing the tools and equipment needed
  • Filing patient records

What does it take to become a Dental Assistant?

Becoming a dental assistant is no easy work. It’s a job that requires extreme dedication and hard work. Not to mention, there are three key skills you must possess if you wish to be a dental assistant.

  1. Interpersonal Skills
    • Team player
    • Highly empathetic
    • Willing to learn
    • Good at communication
  2. Management Skills
    • Good at organizing
    • Detail-oriented
    • Efficient in technology
    • Ability to multitask
  3. Practical Skills
    • Able to handle minor procedures
    • Knowledgable about basic dentistry
    • Quick on feet

Is Being a Dental Assistant Worth It?

It might seem taxing at first, but a dental assistant’s job is highly rewarding. They not only get to help people out but there’s always a chance for them to advance in their field. Being a part of something that enables people to look after their health is gratifying on its own. Moreover, dental assistants can even decide to go on and expand their reach if they wish to do so. They could go for dental missions in developing countries and offer aid. Besides, choosing to be a dental nurse can open up multiple roads that allow you to do much more.

The Closing Word

All in all, the titles and duties of a dental nurse vs. a dental assistant don’t differ much. In fact, both of the terms can be used interchangeably on multiple accounts. For more information on dental assistants and the like, visit Greatwood Dental Assisting Program or call 281-975-3489. We’re here to offer our guidance whenever you need it.