Southern Ontario Dental College

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Careers in the Dental Field: How to Parse Through Your Options

Posted in Articles, Dental Assistant, Dental Hygienist, Dentistry.

The dental industry is one of the hottest job markets. In fact, spending on dental services in Canada has increased by over seven percent in the past three years. Due to increased revenues and demand, employers are looking for more support personnel.

Thanks to robust demand, jobs in the dental industry pay well. Dental jobs offer great benefits and a rewarding career where you can help others.

Read on to learn about all careers in the dental field. Explore the dental assistant vs. dental hygienist debate. Also, find out more about pay, education requirements, and other crucial information.

Dental Assistant

It is more likely than not that you have seen a dental assistant in action before. They are a dentist’s right-hand man or woman. While the dentist is performing procedures or evaluations, their assistant is waiting in the wings.

They use suction devices to keep a patient’s mouth dry during a procedure. You will also see them sterilizing the dentist’s instruments. Then, they lay them out to get them ready for usage.

You can complete a dental assistant program in less than one year. In 2019, the average pay for a dental assistant was over $40,000. You can earn more with experience and adding responsibilities in the office.

Dental Hygienist 

A dental hygienist is the next step up from an assistant. They have more autonomy in the office and in practice.

You have likely sat down with a dental hygienist for your biannual teeth cleanings. They help process and develop X-ray images of your mouth.

In addition, dental hygienists apply sealants and give fluoride for lasting oral protection. They will review the X-ray images and inform the dentist of any issues that they find.

Increased responsibility for a dental hygienist means that more education is required. It takes slightly less than two years to complete a dental hygiene program. It is very similar to the commitment level necessary for an Associate’s Degree.

Because dental hygienists have more responsibility, they earn more money. In 2019, the median pay for a dental hygienist was over $76,000.

Medical Billing and Office Staff

Besides the frontline workers, there are many support personnel in the dental office. Of course, there are administrative workers that are handling appointments and maintaining patients’ records.

There are also medical billers that manage dental and health insurance claims. They are responsible for filing claims to a patient’s insurance company. Also, they process payments from the insurance companies and bill the patient for the remainder.

Medical billing is an increasingly complex career field. There are many rules and regulations implemented by the state and federal government. For this reason, many community colleges have an associate degree and professional certification programs.

Evaluation Your Options for Careers in the Dental Field

No matter what career you choose, it is certain to be a successful one. The dental field continues to grow rapidly with 11% job growth expected over the next decade.

Both dental assisting and hygienists are rewarding careers. You can help patients with their oral health while earning a good salary.

If you want to learn more about careers in the dental field, contact us today to speak with an expert.

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