Expanded Functions Dental Assistant Job Description

Expanded functions dental assistants support dentists by preparing treatment rooms, ensuring equipment meets cleanliness standards, and liaising with patients. This job involves documenting and updating treatment plans, taking X-rays, cleaning teeth, and taking impressions. Most expanded functions dental assistants work full time in a clinical setting, but there are opportunities to work part time depending on the practice. Applicants for this job should have strong interpersonal skills, the ability stay calm under pressure, and the stamina to spend hours on their feet.

 

Expanded Functions Dental Assistant Duties and Responsibilities

The type of organization an expanded functions dental assistant works for will determine the exact duties they take on. Based on job listings we analyzed, common duties typically involve:

Prepare the Treatment Room

Expanded functions dental assistants prepare the treatment or operating room for procedures, making sure that dentists have all the tools and equipment they’ll need prior to each appointment. After appointments, they clean up, restock supplies, and sanitize the room.

Assist Dentists During Procedures

Expanded functions dental assistants help dentists carry out procedures and treatments on patients, which can include everything from routine checkups to pain medication and local anesthetic administration.

Take Impressions

Expanded functions dental assistants take impressions and bite molds so that the correct treatment can be prepared for patients.

Clean Teeth

Teeth cleaning procedures are a key part of an expanded functions dental assistant’s daily tasks. This involves polishing coronal surfaces to remove stains and applying fluoride treatments.

Fit Crowns for Adjustments

Expanded functions dental assistants fit preliminary crowns for adjustments and place temporary restorative materials in teeth.

Perform Clerical Work

The expanded functions dental assistant may assist with administrative functions like taking and updating patient dental histories and scheduling routine and follow-up appointments.

 

Expanded Functions Dental Assistant Skills and Qualifications

Expanded functions dental assistants are great communicators who are detail oriented and comfortable working under strict protocols and regulations. Employers typically require a high school diploma and at least one year of experience, as well as the following abilities:

  • Dexterity – expanded functions dental assistants must work well with their hands, as they work in tight spaces on a small area of the body while using sharp tools and instruments
  • Listening skills – a key part of this job is listening to patients and other healthcare workers, as well as following instructions precisely to best treat patients and carry out a number of tasks
  • Organization skills – expanded functions dental assistants need the correct tools and equipment prepared for dentists ahead of each appointment. They must also be aware of what procedures are being carried out, so organization is essential to this position
  • Attention to detail – expanded functions dental assistants pay close attention to rules and protocols so that patients are safe and comfortable during treatment
  • Interpersonal skills – this job requires the ability to work closely with colleagues and patients, so strong communication and interpersonal skills are necessary

 

Expanded Functions Dental Assistant Education and Training

The minimum requirement to become an expanded functions dental assistant is a high school diploma, although many employers require a postsecondary qualification in dental assisting. Expanded functions dental assistants are required to have state certification, but the guidelines for obtaining this certification vary from state to state. Applicants for this role are also required to have a current radiology certification in their state, and employers often prefer candidates to have at least a years’ worth of experience in this role.

 

Expanded Functions Dental Assistant Salary and Outlook

The median annual salary for expanded functions dental assistants is around $36,000, according to PayScale. Expanded functions dental assistants in the 10th percentile earn around $21,000 annually, while the highest paid earn close to $52,000 a year. Some companies offer packages that can reach up to $4,000 from bonus structures and profit-sharing opportunities.

Around one-third of employers offer dental plans and medical insurance as part of their benefits package. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that sector will grow 19 percent
through 2026.

 

Helpful Resources

We’ve collected some of the best resources to help you learn more about becoming an expanded functions dental assistant:

Dental Assisting Notes: Dental Assistant’s Chairside Pocket Guide – a useful pocket reference guide, this book prepares dental assistants for everyday encounters they may face on the job. It includes easy-to-scan teeth charts and descriptions of instruments and tools used to treat patients

Essentials of Dental Assisting – focusing on the core clinical skills and knowledge needed for this job, this book is a great resource for prospective dental assistants. It has detailed step-by-step procedures and learning aids as well as built-in study tools

Dentistry IQ – a great reference for anyone working in the dental industry, this site is regularly updated with informative blog posts, industry news, and educational videos

Registered Dental Assistants – with over 4,000 members, this LinkedIn group is the ideal place to network with others in the industry and learn about new techniques, the latest trends, and job opportunities

 

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