STEM Forward >>> The Pathway to Career Success - Who is taking care of your teeth?

Dental Assistants

The Dentist needs some help. There are a lot of teeth in a person’s mouth. In this episode, we take a look at Dental Assistant as a STEM career pathway. The body content of your post goes here. To edit this text, click on it and delete this default text and start typing your own or paste your own from a different source.

Dental assistants typically do the following:

  • Ensure that patients are comfortable in the dental chair
  • Prepare patients and the work area for treatments and procedures
  • Sterilize dental instruments
  • Hand instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Dry patients’ mouths using suction hoses and other equipment
  • Instruct patients in proper oral hygiene
  • Process x rays and complete lab tasks, under the direction of a dentist
  • Keep records of dental treatments
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Work with patients on billing and payment

he median annual wage for dental assistants was $40,080 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,980, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $56,930.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for dental assistants in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

  • Government $42,960
  • Offices of dentists $40,120
  • Offices of physicians $37,570

Most dental assistants work full time. Some work evenings or weekends.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Dental Assistants, on the Internet at (visited September 01, 2020).

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