Human Resources

Dental Assistant Job Description

  • To assist in the performance of quality, caring clinical dentistry
  • Become adept at assigned clinical procedures
  • Aid the doctor smoothly and unobtrusively
  • Under the supervision of a licensed dentist, perform clinical and technical procedures
  • RDA gets the patient ready, prepares the operatory and equipment, and assists the doctor during examinations and treatment
  • Maintain awareness of comfort and safety needs of patients
  • Maintain equipment and inventory
  • Adhere to all required OSHA and health regulations


Dental Assistant Qualifications

An individual must be able to fulfill each essential duty to perform this job successfully. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.


Education and Experience

High school diploma or equivalent. Their position requires _______ years of experience in the dental profession. Knows how to administer CPR and first aid. State registration (if required).


Certificates, Licenses, and Registrations

X-ray license, CPR certificate



  • Can competently perform the clinical and technical dental procedures required for a Registered Dental Assistant
  • Can take x-rays, including FMX, Pano, and anterior PA’s
  • Knows how to administer CPR and first aid
  • Knows how to take blood pressure, attach EKG leads to patients, and understands readings of monitors
  • Thorough understanding of cross-contamination and how to prevent it
  • Keeps informed and updated on OSHA regulations, CDC guidelines, and HIPAA requirements



Know how to work with: (update list as necessary)

  • Autoclave
  • Model trimmer
  • X-ray machine
  • Panoramic machine and ceph
  • Ultrasonic
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Laser
  • Intraoral camera
  • Vacu-press
  • Paché gun
  • KCP 2000
  • Whip-Mix
  • Handpieces


Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those employees encounter while performing the essential functions of this job:

  • Occasionally exposed to toxic and caustic chemicals and risk of radiation
  • Noise level is usually moderate
  • Since everyone with the practice works on a time schedule governed by patient appointments, work and general environment can become hectic at times
  • Ability to, both physically and emotionally, effectively handle the anxieties associated with the job



  • Can “get along” well with fellow employees and treat all with respect and courtesy
  • Can work well in teams of co-workers
  • Can accept constructive criticism
  • Has a desire and ability to work well with the public
  • Is organized, motivated, committed, and self-directed
  • Has a positive attitude about the practice, the services provided, and the products sold
  • Ability to communicate – expresses thoughts and ideas competently
  • Increases knowledge and skills through self-study and by attending courses and seminars
  • Able to quickly grasp relevant concepts regarding duties and responsibilities
  • Has dependable job attendance and can be relied on to follow-through with assigned tasks



Records treatment information in patient charts. Enter the type of treatment planned for the next appointment and the amount of chair time, doctor time, and assistant time needed. Dismiss the patient after treatment.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Adhere to enhanced infection control protocols and PPE requirements to reduce transmission of COVID-19
  • Apply non-aerosol and non-caustic topical agents
  • Take digital images and impressions for diagnostic and opposing models
  • Remove post-extraction and periodontal dressings
  • Place and remove elastic orthodontic separators
  • Assist in the administration of nitrous oxide
  • Hold anterior matrices
  • Remove sutures, archwires, ligature ties
  • Take intraoral measurements for orthodontic procedures
  • Seat adjusted retainers, occlusal guards, removable appliances
  • Check for loose orthodontic bands
  • Apply topical fluoride
  • Place and remove rubber dams
  • Seat patients in designated treatment rooms in a timely fashion
  • Pour and trim study models
  • Review medical history, progress from the previous visit, if applicable, and schedule planned treatments with each patient
  • Inform the doctor when the patient is ready
  • Assist the doctor by passing instruments, aspirating intraoral fluids, mixing materials and medicaments
  • Record treatment rendered in the patient charts and post all completed procedures
  • Escort patients to the business area for financial follow-ups and re-scheduling. Adequately summarize treatment provided and next steps to the front office staff.
  • Monitor all incoming and outgoing lab cases
  • Expose digital films
  • Assist with business office procedures as necessary, including Practice Management software functions and hygiene recare


Daily Maintenance

(Update list as necessary)

  • Turn on lights, units, nitrous equipment, and automation processors each morning and shut them down each night
  • Prepare all treatment rooms in advance for each patient
  • Decontaminate all treatment rooms and sterilize all instruments after each patient appointment according to OSHA and CDC guidelines
  • Change all chemical solutions, i.e., disinfectant soaks and sprays, sterilant, ultrasonic, presoak, and x-ray processing on a scheduled basis
  • Maintain cleanliness of treatment rooms, darkroom, lab, and sterilizing area
  • Clean and flush vacuum traps
  • Clean and lubricate handpieces
  • Restock all treatment rooms and other clinical support areas
  • Clean sharp instruments and handles hazardous chemicals in a safe manner


Routine Maintenance

(Update list as necessary)

  • General house cleaning (drawers, cabinets, carpet)
  • Order supplies
  • Maintain plaster trap and lab counter areas


Physical Requirements

(Americans with Disabilities Act)

The physical demands described here represent those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required:

  • To do detailed work using arms, hands, and fingers to handle and feel objects worked with
  • Intermittently is required to sit, stand, walk, stoop, bend and reach throughout the day
  • Good eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity is needed
  • Specific vision abilities include close vision, color vision, peripheral vision, department perception, and the ability to adjust focus
  • Must be physically able to administer CPR
  • May have to physically assist drowsy patients after anesthesia
  • May have to lift up to 25 pounds

(When required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.)


Employers may assign additional or different duties at their discretion.


Download the Dental Assistant job description as a working file.


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