What does a Dental Assistant do?

Dental assistants are valuable members of the dental care team and perform many tasks, ranging from patient care and taking x-rays to record keeping and scheduling appointments. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work.

What areas of dentistry do Dental Assistants work in?

Dental Assistants can work in any area of general dentistry, which can include these specialties.

  • Orthodontics (e.g. braces)
  • Pedodontics (e.g. dentistry for children)
  • Periodontics (e.g. dealing with diseases of the gums and supporting structures)
  • Endodontics (e.g. root canals)
  • Prosthodontics (e.g. crowns, bridges, dentures — often combined with facial reconstruction)
What’s the difference between a Dental Assistant and a Dental Hygienist?

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is that a dental assistant provides direct aid to dentists, conducting office tasks and small, supervised jobs on patients’ teeth, while a dental hygienist often works one-on-one with a patient, and doesn’t have as much constant supervision.  A hygienist also is authorized to do certain procedures that a dental assistant cannot do.

What are some of the topics covered in the program?

Our 15 week course teaches skills and information in all of these topics:

  • Basic dental sciences
  • Preclinical and clinical skills
  • Radiography
  • Restorative and laboratory materials and techniques
  • Practice management
Do I need to be a high school graduate or have a GED?

Yes, high school diploma or GED/TASC/HSE or equivalent (as deemed appropriate by the school director).

How big is the class size?

We limit classes to no more than 8 students per class.

Why is your program only 15 weeks long and others are one year?

Other schools pay their curriculum with basic math, science, english classes and other subjects which have little to do with the direct tasks a dental assistant performs. These extra classes are often added to make the course a yearlong, which then qualifies for government aid programs.  We specially designed this course to teach only what you will apply in the job field.

How much does the dental assisting program cost?

The total cost of the program is $4,295. This includes registration, books/supplies, a uniform, and additional course costs.

We offer payment options with zero interest, and other financing options to help you pay tuition easily.

Will your program enable me to get a job as a dental assistant?

Yes, our program will provide you with all the necessary skills and resources fully train and prepare you to be employed as a Dental Assistant.

What does a Dental Assistant typically get paid?

You can expect to make around $18 – $22 per hour as an entry level Dental Assistant. Each office is an independent business so salaries vary. For more information read the DANB’s Salary Survey.

Do dental offices pay benefits once I start working?

Usually after a brief probationary period, most dental offices offer benefits to their employees. Each office is an independent business and has its own policies regarding this. Employee benefit options vary by employer.

Can a short course be as effective as a longer program? 

It’s not the amount of time that you spend in class, but rather the time you spend practicing and applying your skills that matters.

Longer programs sometimes spend far less time in class practicing hands-on dental assisting. We take a different approach. As a newly hired Dental Assistant, your dentist will expect that you will know how to make a temporary crown, take digital radiographs, take and pour up a dental impression. We base our training on these fundamental skills. We have a custom curriculum designed by a dentist that will set you up for success and ensure that you’ve had an ample amount of time to apply and use every technique before your first day on the job.

Are classes offered in the evening?

Yes! We offer an evening program that easily fits into a student’s busy working schedule.

Will I receive a degree or certificate?

Midwest Dental Assistants School offers a certificate upon completion of our program, regulated by the State of Nebraska.

National Certifications can be acquired through DANB sponsored testing.  We do not offer a degree program.

Do I need a degree to be employed as a Dental Assistant in Nebraska?

Nebraska does not require Dental Assistants to have a degree or certification.  Proper training through a reputable program is what employers look for as the true basis of employment.