Discover How to Become a Dental Assistant: Essential Steps - Tempfind
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How to Become a Dental Assistant — Useful Guide

How to Become a Dental Assistant — Useful Guide

August 28, 2023 | by Tempfind Research | For Dental Professionals
Do you want to work in the dentistry field but don't know where to start? Then you may consider becoming a dental assistant. A dental assistant is a professional who assists the dentist in various procedures, ensuring the comfort and safety of patients. If you are wondering how to become a dental assistant, in this article, we will explain why working as a dental assistant offers great opportunities. You will also find out “How long does it take to become a dental assistant in Canada”.

Why Being a Dental Assistant Exciting Opportunities?

Working as a dental assistant is not just a means to earn money but also an opportunity to fulfill your potential, help people, and continually learn. Here are some reasons why you may choose this career:

The Growing Demand for Temp Dental Assistants

Over 26,000 dental assistants work in Canada, and the number is increasing. Many take a dental temp job to work part-time or on contract in different clinics, filling in for absent or busy colleagues. This lets them gain experience with various dentists, patients, and equipment while also offering a flexible work schedule.

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Embrace a Secure Career Path in Dental Assisting

Dental assistants are an integral part of a dental clinic’s team. They perform a wide range of tasks, such as:

  • Preparing the workstation and instruments for procedures;
  • Maintaining asepsis and disinfection protocols;
  • Managing medical documentation and records;
  • Communicating with patients and providing guidance on oral care;
  • Handling administrative and organizational responsibilities.

Dental assistants are skilled professionals who ensure a smooth and successful dental practice.

Making a Positive Impact on Oral Health

How to Become a Dental Assistant — Useful Guide

Dental assistants require professionalism, compassion, and empathy. They are the first point of contact for patients, making their visit comfortable and pleasant. They also educate patients about oral health and play a crucial role in preventive care:

  • Providing advice on proper tooth brushing techniques;
  • Educating patients on the use of dental floss and mouthwash;
  • Assisting in choosing the right toothpaste and toothbrush.

Dental assistants promote good oral health practices, contributing to a positive experience for patients and improving their well-being and self-confidence.

Professional Growth and Advancement

Working as a dental assistant is not a dead-end but rather the beginning of a career path. Dental assistants can continue their education and enhance their qualifications by obtaining additional certifications and licenses. For instance:

  • Specializing in specific areas of dentistry, such as orthodontics, surgery, implantology, or endodontics;
  • Engaging in scientific or teaching activities;
  • Pursuing roles as managers or consultants in the dental field.

Dental assistants can move into related professions such as dental hygienists, technicians, or even dentists with more training. This makes it a promising career with many growth opportunities.

6 Steps How to Be a Dental Assistant

How to Become a Dental Assistant — Useful Guide

If you’ve decided to become a dental assistant in Canada, follow these steps:

#1 Lay the Foundation with a Solid Secondary Education

There are several accredited training programs for dental assistants across Canada. Educational requirements to enter these programs include successful completion of high school with an emphasis on sciences including biology and chemistry. Here is a list of schools in Canada that offer Dental Assisting education:

  • George Brown College.
  • Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT).
  • Sprott Shaw College.
  • NAIT Dental Clinic.
  • KDM Dental College International.

These schools offer programs that provide the education required to work as a certified dental assistant (Levels I and II). Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible to apply to write the National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) examination.

#2 Unlock Doors with an Intra-Oral Level Certification

How to be a dental assistant in Canada? You need an Intra-Oral Level I Certificate issued by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC). Get it by training in one of the accredited programs offered by various colleges and universities across Canada. These programs cover theoretical and practical aspects of dental assistant work.

How long does it take to become a dentist assistant? The duration of these programs can vary from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the level and format of education you choose. After completing the program, you’ll get an Intra-Oral Level I Certificate that qualifies you to work as a dental assistant in any Canadian province.

#3 Achieve Success by Conquering the NDAEB Exam

To work as a dental assistant, passing the mandatory NDAEB exam (except in Quebec) is required. Dental assistant education requirements in Canada mandate successful completion of this exam, which includes two parts: written and practical. To successfully pass the NDAEB exam, you need to achieve a minimum score of 75% in each part.

How to Become a Dental Assistant — Useful Guide

#4 Prepare your resume and begin the job search

When creating a resume, include education, experience, skills, achievements, and recommendations from instructors. To learn how to become a dental assistant, you can check out these options to increase your chances of success:

  • Follow dental associations and organizations that provide information about job vacancies and requirements for dental assistants in different regions of Canada.
  • Use dental applications and platforms, like Tempfind, that connect dental assistants with employers seeking temporary or permanent staff. You can create your profile on these apps and receive job offers from different clinics in your area.

#5 Apply for a Job as DA at

One of the most convenient and efficient ways how to become a dental assistant in Canada is by using the Tempfind app, which connects temporary dental assistants with employers:

  1. Create your profile, where you can showcase your skills, experience, schedule, and preferences.
  2. Browse and respond to various job offers from dental clinics in your area that are in need of temporary dental assistants.
  3. Receive notifications about new job opportunities that match your profile.

You can visit the Tempfind website or download our app and start searching for dental assistant positions right away.

#6 Get Dental Assistant Practice with Temp Job

How to Become a Dental Assistant — Useful Guide

Temporary dental assistant positions are an excellent way to achieve this as they offer you the opportunity to:

  • Work with various dentists and patients, learning different styles and approaches to dentistry;
  • Apply and refine your skills and knowledge by performing various procedures and tasks;
  • Adapt to different equipment, technologies, and protocols used in clinics;
  • Enhance your competitiveness and reputation in the job market by receiving feedback and recommendations from employers.
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Skills Required for Dental Assistants

How to Become a Dental Assistant — Useful Guide

Mastering the necessary skills and knowledge is essential, and knowing how to become a dental assistant is equally important.

Effective Communication Skills

Dental assistants should be friendly, patient, and good listeners who can explain medical terms and procedures in plain language to make patients feel comfortable and informed.

Skill in Multitasking

Dental assistants have to be capable of handling multiple tasks simultaneously without compromising the quality and speed of their work. They should be prepared to deal with any situations that may arise during their work, maintaining efficiency in their responses.

Foundational Computer Knowledge

How to Become a Dental Assistant — Useful Guide

If you are wondering how to be a dental assistant, you should be skilled in working with electronic medical records and databases. You should also be familiar with radiographic programs and equipment to capture images of patients’ oral cavities. These skills are essential for effectively managing and processing medical information, which is a crucial aspect of modern dental practice in Canada.

Collaborative Aptitude

Dental assistants should possess the ability to coordinate their actions with the supervising dentists, following their instructions and guidance.

Administrative Competencies

Dental assistants have to handle medical documentation and records. They should also be skilled in accounting and financial programs, allowing them to perform tasks such as invoicing, payment processing, and expense tracking.

Critical Thought Skills

Dental assistants should have the ability to analyze situations, identify causes and effects, assess risks and opportunities, and make informed decisions. They should also be adept at applying their knowledge and skills to new and complex cases, adapting to changing conditions.

Aptitude for Following Instructions

Dental assistants must follow strict protocols and standards to ensure safety and quality in their work. They should be open to feedback and willing to adjust based on guidance from dentists or colleagues.

If you are ready to embark on this journey, don’t forget to download the Tempfind app to find the best job opportunities in your area.

Frequently Asked Questions

What subjects should I focus on in high school to become a dental assistant?

Studying biology, chemistry, math, and English will help in comprehending oral cavity anatomy and physiology, dental materials and procedures, radiography, pharmacology, and anesthesia.

Is the NDAEB exam mandatory in all provinces?

The National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) exam is mandatory for all dental assistants, except those working in Quebec.

How can I improve my chances of getting a dental assistant job?

You can do the following:

  • Prepare your resume;
  • Use various channels to search for job opportunities;
  • Register and create your professional profile, to be found and booked by dental practices as well as find temporary dental assistant jobs on Tempfind platform.

What computer skills are necessary for dental assistants?

Dental assistants should be skilled in working with electronic medical records and databases, as well as radiographic and radiographic programs and equipment used to capture images of patients’ oral cavities.

What career opportunities are available for dental assistants?

Dental assistants can use their experience and skills to transition into related professions such as dental hygienists, dental technicians, or dentists.

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