Category Archives: Careers in Dentistry

Tennessee RDA Continuing Education Requirements

Registered dental assistants must obtain twenty-four (24) hours of continuing education during the audit cycle. The current cycle runs from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018. Anyone initially licensed in 2017 or 2018 is exempt from the current cycle. All other dental assistants must obtain the required hours and maintain CPR certification during the entire audit period.

At least two (2) of the twenty-four (24) hours must be in the subject of chemical dependency. Failure to comply with the continuing education requirements may subject you to disciplinary action.

As previously reported, the board has partnered with CE Broker to allow licensees to manage and track their continuing education. Please visit learn more about this partnership and for a link to CE Brokers website.

This email is being sent to all currently licensed dental assistants with email addresses. If a dental assistant does not receive this email it is due to either there was no email on file with the board office or an email that is no longer valid is on file with the board office. Everyone needs to check to verify the board office has the correct mailing, practice and email addresses, including correct phone numbers. The address information can be verified in the new online licensure system which is accessible at Just click on Licensure Renewal to be taken to the licensure system. If you have not already created an account, you will need to begin as a new user and then add your license to the account. If you have a license in another profession, you can add multiple licenses to the same account. Please do not let anyone create an account for you since your license can only be added to one account. If your office manager or someone else creates the account and then leaves the office or is not available, you will not be able to access your licensure information to make changes or to renew.

For more information visit the TN website.

Career Options for Dentistry 2018

Career Options

What Are My Career Options and Job Description as a Dental Assistant?

Dental assistants greatly increase the efficiency of the dentist in the delivery of quality oral health care and are valuable members of the dental care team. If you have strong communication skills, enjoy working with your hands as well as your mind and want a career with responsibility, dental assisting is for you.

Being a dental assistant offers many other options aside from working chairside with the dentist. Inside of the dental office, many financial coordinators, treatment counselors and office managers got their start and have a background as a dental assistant. Insurance companies hire dental assistants as consultants as well as other positions related to claims review and processing. Dental assisting can also open the door to a vast array of job positions in healthcare business, healthcare sales, consulting and management.

Let’s take a look at the job description of a dental assistant according to the American Dental Association;

Job Description

The duties of a dental assistant are among the most comprehensive and varied in the dental office. The dental assistant performs many tasks requiring both interpersonal and technical skills. Responsibilities of a dental assistant include:

  • assisting the dentist during a variety of treatment procedures
  • taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays)
  • asking about the patient’s medical history and taking blood pressure and pulse
  • serving as an infection control officer, developing infection control protocol and preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment
  • helping patients feel comfortable before, during and after dental treatment
  • providing patients with instructions for oral care following surgery or other dental treatment procedures, such as the placement of a restoration (a filling or crown)
  • teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health (toothbrushing, flossing and nutritional counseling)
  • taking impressions of patients’ teeth for study models
  • performing office management tasks that often require the use of a personal computer
  • communicating with patients and suppliers (i.e. scheduling appointments, answering the telephone, billing and ordering supplies)
  • helping to provide direct patient care in all dental specialties, including orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, endodontics, periodontics and oral surgery

Career Advantages

  • Variety: Dental assisting is a challenging and rewarding career, demanding versatility and a willingness to assume responsibility for many different tasks
  • Flexibility: Since dental assistants are in demand, career options include both full-time and part-time positions
  • Excellent working conditions: Dental offices are interesting, pleasant, people-oriented environments in which to work
  • Personal satisfaction: Dental assisting involves people contact, and with this personal interaction comes the personal satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped someone by helping to provide valuable health service.


Since many dentists employ two or more dental assistants, employment opportunities in this field are excellent. The types of practice setting available to dental assistants include:

  • solo dental practices (practices with only one dentist)
  • group practices (practices with two or more dentists)
  • specialty practices, such as oral and maxillofacial surgery (removal of teeth and correction of facial deformities), orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics (straightening teeth with braces or other appliances), endodontics (root canal treatment), periodontics (treatment of gum problems), prosthodontics (replacement of lost teeth) and pediatric dentistry (treatment of children)
  • public health dentistry, including settings such as schools and clinics which focus on the prevention of dental problems within entire communities
  • hospital dental clinics, assisting dentists in the treatment of bedridden patients
  • dental school clinics, assisting dental students as they learn to perform dental proceduresOther career opportunities for dental assistants include:
  • insurance companies, processing dental insurance claims
  • vocational schools, technical institutes, community colleges dental schools and universities, teaching others to be dental assistants (which may require associate or baccalaureate college degrees)
  • dental product sales representatives



How to survive the first days of your dental assisting career

So! You survived dental assisting school and even the  job application process. Now you’re finally working for real money! Congratulations! But the problem I had, and I know I’m not alone here, was that I was terrified going to work my first day. It was like the first day of school all over again. I had never worked with these dentists or assistants. What if I didn’t fit in, or what if I didn’t know what I was doing? Yikes! I had to take slow deep breaths to calm myself. Just breathe! And remember life is a journey.

4 tips that got me through, and still do

Here are four tips that were my saving grace. Even after the first few months, these tips help keep me motivated when I go to work every day. Arriving early so you have time to set-up and prepare for the day.

My first tip is to be humble, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. My approach to being a brand new dental assistant is to recognize that I know the basics. But I realize that all doctors and assistants have their own way of doing things, and they all use different products. I always ask why they use something, and I ask what it does. Asking questions helps me to remember the order of a procedure and the order in which the doctor wants certain items.

My second tip is to always read the directions on the product I’m using, or for clarification I Google the name of the product and how it’s supposed to be used. The only way to become a subject matter expert is to do your own research. This will help you feel more confident in your skills. One example is that I was told by my doctor to apply fluoride varnish to a patient, so I did. Well, once I got home and did my research about the brand we use, I discovered that I was supposed to dry the teeth first because that helps the varnish adhere to the teeth. Reading directions and doing your own product research also helps your credibility with patients. They expect you to be informed.

My third tip is the most fun for me. I am a self-professed YouTube junkie! I love watching dental procedures, and this has been very helpful. Just watching something as simple as “how to prep a tooth for a crown” is amazing. Your doctor may use different products, but the steps are the same. Anytime I know ahead of time that we’re doing a procedure I’m not that familiar with, I YouTube it!

My fourth and final tip is probably the most important. Have a positive attitude, and always try and be part of the solution, not the problem. I’m so thankful and grateful to have such a rewarding career. There are a thousand things that happen everyday that I could complain about, but I choose to stay positive. If I hear people venting about a problem, I try to help. If I hear people venting about their coworkers, I listen but I do not comment. It does no good to add fuel to the fire. Be the positivity and the light in your environment. Leave your personal problems at the door and focus on your patients.

Don’t Wait too Long, or it Will be too Late

Take the time now to prepare for your future; it will be here before you know it. Our next course begins March 18th, 2017, and you don’t want to miss out. As our space is limited and classes fill up very quickly, you will want to register as soon as possible

It turns out, you might need to take a look at in-demand careers. If you choose the right career training program, you can land a job that pays well and rewards you with personal fulfillment, too.

Even if you need to look beyond your current degree to other training, your education wasn’t a waste. You can apply what you learned in college, or even in high school, to a new career. If you’re a problem-solver, a multi-tasker, and you like working with people, becoming a dental or legal assistant is a sensible choice. It’s a fun, rewarding career that’s new and different every day.

You’ll be a valuable part of your dental practice as a cross-trained dental assistant, and you’ll be making your community better, every day. What more can you ask for?

If you want to make a difference in the world, healthcare is the right field for you. It’s practical, it’s in high demand, and people rely on it every day.

Its time to move forward and find your own path.
It’s time to make a positive change for your future, with the Dental Staff School.

Control your Future

Control Your Future

If you start now and train for the career you want, your future is in your hands. There’s no more sitting around and waiting for change to happen. No more hoping you get a raise or hoping you find another job. No more hoping someone is hiring in an already oversaturated field.

You really can take positive steps toward achieving financial stability and going to a job you love.

As a career training program, the Dental Staff School features:

  • Ten weeks of classes
  • A realistic amount of homework that won’t overburden you in your already busy life
  • An optimal student-to-teacher ratio, meaning you’ll have a personalized learning experience
  • Real-world experience and job training
  • Saturday classes are an easy fit for busy schedules
  • An excellent job placement program

If you like working with people, are interested in providing health services, and are interested in a career instead of just a series of jobs, it may be a good fit for you.

Our next class starts in March and registration ends on February 29th, so don’t wait. Good things come to those who take action. Sometimes, the best things in life aren’t worth waiting for, they’re worth actively pursuing.

Job Interview: What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses

An interview is the short span of time spent with each other, in which a person has to decide whether the employee is perfect for the job or not. To establish this, the ‘interviewer” asks several questions.
Keeping in mind there are different people who may interview you throughout the hiring process.
Ex. The dentist, office manager, or a company hired by the dental office and or personality test.

Certain questions are quite simple and can be answered immediately, while some are not as simple and require some thought before the answer is given. One good example of this is the question regarding strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths that employers look for in a new candidate: 

Perhaps you’re incredibly organized. Or, you might excel at motivating people, helping resolve disagreement, or researching hard-to-find information. I enjoy challenges and figuring out new tasks/projects, then getting good at them. I am very motivated and driven, very honest and hungry to keep learning.

Whatever your strengths, you have something valuable to offer. Find a role within your team that allows you to do what you do well. This will help you make a meaningful contribution – and increase your chances of doing a great job. Plus, it’s usually much easier, and more satisfying, to do tasks when you’re naturally good at them.

Learning quickly and having effective communication skills
Research shows who will perform well and succeed in a new job is the one who possesses ability to learn quickly and the one who can adjust himself/herself to changes and new situations. Also, effective interpersonal communication skill is one of the best personal traits.

Self Motivated and Determined
To achieve success, one needs to be self motivated and determined to succeed. All companies search for an individual who has the drive within himself or herself.

Team Player
But how, exactly, do you go about showing that you’re a team player during a interview? You could explain your commitment of meeting goals or deadlines. During previous work or school you were the one other team members depended on. One should avoid gossip, politics, and religion. Showing appreciation of other members of the dental team. Team players should work on having diversity, attitude, and being candid.

This is one of the most common traits found in a successful boss as well as a successful employee. It is said that success is ninety percent hard work and ten percent thinking/brain activity. Any company would like to have a hard-working employee. Therefore, you can speak about hard-work, dedication and commitment as your strengths.

Intelligence and Self Confidence
Being intelligent does not mean being the only person in the room who can drive a plane, but a person who has the simple logic and practical knowledge that goes with running a proper team.

Employer ask what are some of your Weaknesses:

Several interviewers will also ask whether you have any weaknesses. When it comes to weaknesses, make sure that you describe the weaknesses that are vague enough to be converted into strengths.

Here are some of the weaknesses that are generally discussed.

• I am too much of a perfectionist.

• I work too hard sometimes.

• I care too much about my work.

Sensitive person: Taking things to heart and getting too disappointed when things are done in the wrong way.

Too helpful: Crossing limits while helping teammates.

Lack of some skills: No person has all the requisite skills for the job profile.

Getting Nervous around people: Shy
 There are some people who have become introverts because all we do is text and email. Remember communication if key for a good employee so I would pick another topic or ways you are improving your verbal and communication skills.

The Yin and the Yang

Personality Type Strength Weakness
(Get It Right)
Thinking Excludes feelings from decisions
Thorough Goes too far; perfectionist
Disciplined Too rigid or demanding of self/others
(Get It Done)
Independent Has trouble operating with others
Decisive Does not take time to consider other perspectives
Determined Domineering; too focused on doing it “my way”
(Get along)
Supportive Tends to conform to wishes of others
Patient No time boundaries; things do not get done
Diplomatic Not assertive or directive
(Get appreciated)
Good communicator Talks too much
Enthusiastic Comes on too strong
Imaginative Dreamer; unrealistic

Hope this helps on your next interview.


Job Description for Dental Assistant 2015

A dental assistant’s duties include hands-on work with dental patients, assisting the dentist, and/or performing clerical functions in a dental clinic. Depending on an individual’s certification and goals, any of these are possible job tasks. If an individual would like hands-on work in the dentist’s office, their duties may include prepping the patient for a particular operation; this particular duty would involve knowledge of the teeth and most dental procedures. The dental assistant would then assist the dentist in performing the procedure, and do such things as handing the dentist the required instruments. Becoming a dental assistant usually involves working one-on-one with the dentist, requires the ability to multi-task and has excellent communication skills. Enroll today, for a dental career, at the Dental Staff School.


Dental Assistant Salaries for 2015


Exciting new career path

Exciting new career path

Women encompass the majority of Dental Assistants in the United States. Individuals in this line of work make around $14.00 per hour on average graduating from the Dental Staff School. Total cash compensation for Dental Assistants runs from $22K to $43K depending on your location, career path or specialty. Job satisfaction for Dental Assistants is high. Medical benefits are awarded to over a third, and just over two-fifths earn dental coverage. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed a Dental Staff School salary questionnaire.