How to Become an Dental Assistant

This article discusses how to become a Dental Assistant in Canada, including job description, education requirements, necessary skills, jobs, and salary information.

Dental Assistant Roadmap

Dental Assistant Job Description

As an dental assistant, you'll work along side a dentist to perform a variety of tasks related to oral and dental hygene and maintenance. Duties of an dental assistant may include:

  • Greeting patients and family
  • Gathering dental chart information
  • Documenting medical diagnosis
  • Ensuring complete medical history
  • Passing instruments to the dentist
  • Assisting with dental procedures
  • Processing dental radiographs
  • Educating patients on dental health
  • Monitor patient’s vital signs during some procedures
  • Taking orthodontic photographs
  • Cleaning dirty instruments
  • Prepping sterilized instruments
  • Wiping down equipment and counters
  • Ordering dental supplies and equipment


Dental Assistant Requirements

Education Requirements

Dental Assistant jobs require that you have attended a dental assistant training program.

Additional Skills Needed

Dental Assistants need the following skills and training:

  • Chair-side dental assisting
  • Exposing dental radiographs
  • Providing oral hygiene instruction
  • Providing dietary counseling relative to oral health
  • Applying and removing dental dam
  • Performing selective rubber cup polishing
  • Applying anti-cariogenic agents
  • Obtaining preliminary impressions
  • Applying and removing matrices and wedges
  • Applying treatment liners (no pulpal involvement)
  • Applying pit and fissure sealant
  • Applying desensitizing agents
  • Applying topical anaesthetic
  • Performing tooth whitening using trays


Experience Requirements

Many entry level positions will allow you to begin work right after graduation and passing the dental assistant certification through the National Dental Assisting Examining Board. Higher paying positions may require several years of experience.

Dental Assistant Certification

Many dental assistant positions will require HARP Certification, which is issued by the National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB). In addition, you may be required to have Basic Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certification.

Dental Assistant Organizations

The Canadian Dental Assistants' Association (CDAA) is the premier dental organization in Canada that supports dental assistants.

Dental Assistant Jobs

You can find dental assistant jobs jobs in Canada listed on sites like WowJobs. Job titles may include:

  • Dental Assistant
  • Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)
  • Expanded Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA)
  • Dental Assistant (Certified)
  • X-Ray Certified Dental Assistant
  • Certified/Registered Dental Assistant (CDA/RDA)
  • Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)
  • Dental Assistant, Registered Expanded Function (RDAEF)
  • Dental Assistant (Non-Certified)
  • Dental Assistant, Surgical
  • Dental Assistant Lead
  • Dental Assistant Instructor
  • Dental Assistant (Registered)
  • Sterilization Assistant, Dental
  • Pedodontic Dental Assistant


Dental Assistant Salary

One of the common questions people ask is: "How much money will I make as an Dental Assistant?" According to Payscale, dental assistants make between C$13.76 - C$24.11 per hour. As with all careers, your salary will greatly depend on the area you live in, the size of the company you work for, your level of experience, and your level of education.

In addition to your salary, you may receive a benefits package which includes healthcare plans, dental plans, paid time off program, sick leave, matching 401(k) retirement, and education assistance.

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