Pros and Cons of Being a Dental Assistant

Dental Assistant Pros and Cons

Are you considering becoming a dental assistant? Like any career decision, weighing the potential pros and cons, such as the dental assistant salary in Mississippi, is an important first step toward determining whether dental assisting is a good fit for you. 

This article explores the pros and cons of being a dental assistant, including salary, expected job growth, work environment, and more.

What is a Dental Assistant?

Dental assistants work in dentist’s offices and help the office run smoothly and efficiently. A dental assistant is an allied health professional who performs various duties, such as preparing patients for treatments, cleaning dental instruments, scheduling appointments, maintaining patient records, or exposing dental x-rays.

So, is dental assisting a good career? This profession certainly has many advantages, although there are also some downsides. Let’s take a closer look.

The Pros of Dental Assisting

A career in dental assisting has many benefits, such as strong job prospects, pleasant work environments, relatively short training, and career advancement opportunities. If you’re considering dental assistant programs in Mississippi, it’s important to consider the pros and cons.

Job growth

The career outlook for dental assistants is projected to grow 11% through 2030, faster than average for all occupations according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That amounts to about 44,000 job openings per year for dental assistants in the U.S. across the decade. In May 2022, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) estimated the annual employment of dental assistants in Mississippi at 2,510.

The BLS cites several reasons for the increase in job opportunities for dental assistants, including:

  • Recovery from the COVID-19 recession that began in 2020.
  • Increased demand for preventive dental services.
  • Demand for dental assistants to help complete routine tasks, so that dentists can work more efficiently. 
  • Aging baby-boomer population keeps more of their original teeth than previous generations, increasing the demand for dental care.

For these reasons, dentists are expected to hire more dental assistants to meet this rising demand for dental care.

Short training

Dental assistant training is much shorter than a typical four-year college education. Most dental assistant programs take about a year to complete and earn a certificate or diploma.

Associate degree programs at community colleges are less common and take two years to complete and require students to take general education courses.

Delta Technical College (DTC)’s Dental Assisting Program is just 9 months. DTC offers dental assistant training in Horn Lake, MS, near Memphis and Ridgeland, MS near Jackson.

Are you researching dental assistant schools in Mississippi? Here’s some things Delta Technical College (DTC) offers our students:

  • Hands-on training in labs designed to simulate real dentistry settings
  • Earn your diploma in only 9 months
  • All DTC instructors have real-world dental industry experience
  • No general education courses required
  • Career placement assistance is available to all qualified graduates
  • Financial aid and scholarship opportunities available to students who qualify
  • Flexible class schedules are available

Dental assistant salary

According to the BLS, the median annual wage for dental assistants was $38,660 in May 2021. Your salary as a dental assistant can increase with experience, certifications, industry, and other factors. The top 10 percent of dental assistants earned more than $59,540 each year, demonstrating good earning potential. 

Dental Assistant Salary Mississippi

In May 2022, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) estimated the average annual dental assistant salary in Mississippi as $36,170. MDES also estimated the annual salary of experienced dental assistants in Mississippi at $41,110.

If you’re looking for dental assistant jobs in Jackson, MS, the dedicated team at Delta Technical College helps all qualifying graduates with career placement assistance services. 

Varying job duties

Dental assisting job duties can be quite varied, with no two days looking exactly alike. You may greet patients, take down their information, lead them to the examination room, and prepare them for the exam or treatment. You may also clean dental tools, take dental x-rays, or fit orthopedic supplies. There’s always a lot to do and you likely won’t get bored.

Working with people

If you enjoy working with people, dental assisting may be the right career choice for you. You will regularly interact with other members of the dentist’s office, as well as with patients. You can meet people from all kinds of different backgrounds.

Nice work environment

Most dentist’s offices are calm and quiet. Since they are medical facilities, the hygiene standards are typically extremely high. Dental clinics and offices typically are less stressful and messy as compared to other medical facilities.

Flexible work schedules

As a dental assistant, you can work either full time or part time, but most dental assistants work full time. Dental assistants in dental clinics and surgeries usually work set hours, though dental assistants employed by hospitals may have flexible schedules. Some dental assistants work evenings or weekends, depending on their place of employment.

Career advancement opportunities

The dental health field offers plenty of career advancement opportunities. You may decide after working as a dental assistant for some time to obtain further training and become a dental hygienist, for example. Moving into more advanced positions can significantly increase your earnings.

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The Cons of Dental Assisting

Just like any job, dental assisting also has a few drawbacks. However, you can overcome many of these by taking the right precautions or making wise career decisions.

Bodily fluids

Part of the job of a dental assistant is to clean up patients’ bodily fluids like saliva, blood, or pus. This is probably the least pleasant aspect of being a dental assistant, but if you can handle it or get used to it, you may have a largely enjoyable career to look forward to.

Working near mouths

As you’re assisting a dentist during an exam or procedure, you’re obviously working near the patient’s mouth. This means that you may be exposed to unpleasant odors or intensive dental procedures. You can’t be too squeamish.

Risk for pain

Dental assistants often sit in uncomfortable or difficult positions while caring for patients, which can lead to backaches, headaches, neck pain, or numbness in the arm and wrist. You can prevent this, though, by exercising and stretching sufficiently.

Start Your Dental Assistant Career at Delta Technical College

If you’re looking for a hands-on career in the healthcare industry where you can play an essential role in patient care, dental assisting could be the career path for you! 

Dental assistants play a key role in supporting dental practices around the country. Delta Technical College (DTC)’s Dental Assisting Program gives you the hands-on dental assistant training you need to pursue an entry-level career as a dental assistant.

Want to learn more about Dental Assisting Programs in MS? Fill out the form below to contact your local Delta Technical College campus.