Southern Ontario Dental College

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A Typical Day at Work: What Are the Dental Assistant Duties?

Posted in Articles, Dental Assistant, Dental Hygienist.

There’s a fine line between working a job that feels fulfilling and one that spirals into stress. for a job to be stimulating, it needs to have engaging and varied tasks.

The various dental assistant duties provide a balance of engaging and routine tasks that fit well. It’s no wonder the career enjoys a 19% growth rate.

Getting started in a dental assistant career field requires certification which will ease you into the necessary duties.

Read on for a walk through a typical day’s duties.

Dental Assistant Duties

Not all tasks take equal time or effort. That’s a good thing. Maintaining energy through a work day takes up and downtime.

This list is grouped by types of activities and will also provide some throughline on the timing.


Prep work occupies a large chunk of the dental assistant responsibilities. Patients need to be prepped before and after procedures. Procedure rooms need to be readied and cleaned.

Prep work goes hand in hand with record keeping. The better one is done, the easier it is to do the other.

There is a lot of satisfaction in knowing exactly where every tool is, how much of any supply is available, and when more will arrive.

Prep work forms the backbone of dental assistant routines. When there is nothing else to be done, there is probably some prepping waiting somewhere.


Dental assistants work collecting information about patients to help guide patient care. This includes Q&As with new patients about problems, taking x-ray and diagnostic images, and even gathering trend information.

In some instances, new research and drug trial participants are needed. Part of your duties is to be familiar with this new research. Spotting candidates helps the patient and the practice to grow.


The most intense component of the job centres on procedure assisting. You can show off your fast-paced teamwork and mental acuity here.

Dental assistant skills require constant training and updating for new procedures. Dentists look to expand assistant capabilities so they can serve more patients faster.

Procedure assisting isn’t all chair-side, either. Creating and fabricating dental impressions, mixing amalgams, and shaping implants are all done alongside a dentist or solo.

Emergencies also happen. You can do some dentist-for-a-day procedures in times of crisis.


Keeping track of patient information takes a fair amount of time for dental assistants. Each procedure done and the equipment used needs to be tracked.

Fortunately, insurance and payment information often go through administration and are less frequently part of the records you will deal with. For those looking to escape accounting, that is a bonus.

Restocking and reordering of supplies rely on you keeping accurate information as well as spotting trends and anticipating future needs.

Scrape out a Future

While the underpinnings remain constant, a feature of dental assistant duties is that they aren’t overly routine. Every day will present something new and reward those that can keep pace.

If this sounds like the kind of work that you crave and excel at, apply today to our dental assistant program.

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