Oral Preventive Assistant

Help with patient care at a dental clinic.
picture of Oral Preventive Assistant

Quick Stats

Very Good

Salary Range
$23,000 – $47,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Oral Preventive Assistants do?

There are some people out there who would rather fight a wild tiger than visit the Dentist. You may even be one of the many who quiver when put into the chair. If so, then you know how amazing it can be to have a kind, talented Oral Preventive Assistant by your side.

Each Dentist office has its own way of running things. As an Oral Preventive Assistant, you’re sometimes in charge of everything besides the actual exam; other times, your only responsibility is to sit beside the Dentist and hand them sterilized tools. As far as teeth go, you’re a jack of all trades as the Oral Preventive Assistant. You know the ins and outs of x-rays, polishing, flossing, and keeping detailed charts of your patients’ dental history.

Although you don’t have the same doctoral degree as the Dentist you’re assisting, it may sometimes feel like you’re doing a lot more work. But your job is to take on responsibility so the Dentist can be on top of their game when staring at set of teeth after set of teeth. You might get less than half the credit, but chances are your face is the one that will be remembered when a patient returns.

Whether you have a second grader in for their first teeth cleaning or a senior citizen who needs a few crowns replaced, you greet them with a smile and remain calm and patient. You might be surprised to find out who’s brave when opening up for a shot and who starts shedding a few tears. Having the technical know-how is one side of your job, but being compassionate wins you smiles from those stunningly clean teeth.

Should I be an Oral Preventive Assistant?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.

  • Also known as: Preventive Dental Assistant

    How to Become an
    Oral Preventive Assistant

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