The dental assistant, sometimes called a dental nurse, handles many responsibilities. If you’re hiring an assistant for your dental practice, keep reading for some helpful information. This article covers the primary duties of the role, dental assistant job description templates, and a comprehensive guide on different dental assistant job descriptions to help you find the best candidates.

What Are the Main Duties of a Dental Assistant?

What does a dental assistant do? A dental assistant’s role involves performing administrative and technical responsibilities, so the dentist can focus on the patient and already have the dental equipment, tools, and information they need. A dental assistant is not the same as a dental hygienist, a dental professional who performs dental cleanings autonomously.

Dental Assistant Duties Checklist

Typical dental assistant responsibilities include:

  • Speaking with patients about their concerns
  • Performing office and administration tasks
  • Preparing exam rooms between appointments
  • Sterilizing rooms, equipment, and instruments
  • Taking dental impressions
  • Assisting dentists with fillings, extractions, and other procedures

These are common things found in a dental assistant job description.

Dental Assistant Skills

Specific skills prove essential to thrive in the dental assistant role. These include:

Dental assisting often involves administrative tasks, requiring skills in phone etiquette, appointment scheduling, and record keeping.

Successful dental assistants can communicate effectively with coworkers and clients.

Assistants must have enough dental knowledge to recognize emergencies and make quick decisions on behalf of the patient.

Dental Assistant Job Description Template

If you’re looking for a dental assistant for your practice, use the template below.

Job Description Template

Job Summary
Introduce your practice and provide a summary of the available dental assistant job.

Duties and Responsibilities
List the essential tasks performed by dental assistants in your office.

Requirements and Qualifications
List education, certification, and experience requirements.

Dental Assistant Job Description Sample

Job Summary
Our busy practice needs a dental assistant to improve efficiency and help our dentists provide outstanding care.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Prepare patients and exam areas
  • Sterilize and set up instruments and equipment
  • Take X-rays
  • Assist dentists with exams and procedures
  • Perform lab tasks
  • Perform administrative tasks

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Proven dental assistant experience
  • Great communication
  • Computer proficiency
  • Certified dental assistants preferred

Dental Assistant Job Description and Salary

Your dental assistant job description may look slightly different from another clinic’s, especially if you offer procedures or services others do not.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median dental assistant salary is $38,000 a year.¹ The exact number will depend on your location and the type of office.

How To Describe a Dental Assistant on a Resume

The average dentist doesn’t spend more than seven seconds looking at a resume, so follow these tips for the best dental assistant resume:

  • List all of your experience, including volunteer work
  • Be specific about your education
  • List all skills, including soft skills like listening and teamwork

Are you a registered dental assistant? Be sure to say so!

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Popular Dental Assistant Roles To Consider

Many dental assistant roles exist, so you can find a great position, whether your passion lies in spreading knowledge of good oral hygiene or helping patients feel less uncomfortable at the dentist. Consider the following roles if you’re looking into dental assisting or writing a dental assistant job ad.

Dental Administrative Assistant Job Description

Administrative dental assistants handle the office functions of a practice. These responsibilities include:

  • Answering phones
  • Answering emails
  • Taking and distributing messages
  • Managing client arrivals
  • Making appointments
  • Managing client records
  • Managing client payments
  • Ordering office and dental supplies
  • And other administrative tasks

Dental Hygienist Assistant Job Description

Hygienist assistants help improve dental office efficiency by assisting dentists and hygienists. Their job duties may include the following:

  • Reviewing patient care plans
  • Preparing equipment and instruments
  • Taking vital signs and patient’s teeth impressions
  • Sterilizing dental procedure area
  • Giving fluoride dental treatments
  • Inventorying and stocking supplies

Dental Business Assistant Job Description

The business assistant functions in the same way as an administrative assistant with similar duties, including:

  • Answering phone calls and emails
  • Scheduling appointments and referrals
  • Managing online communications with patients
  • Managing online reviews and other marketing duties
  • Managing records and payments
  • Inventorying and ordering office supplies

Dental Surgical Assistant Job Description

Dentists need help during surgeries, so they hire surgical assistants. These dental assistants perform the following tasks:

  • Welcoming and prepping patients for oral surgery
  • Applying topical anesthetics
  • Monitoring equipment and instruments during surgery
  • Helping with suction and handing over instruments
  • Cleaning and sterilizing instruments after surgery
  • Taking X-rays before and after surgery
  • Educating clients about infection control

Dental Clinic Assistant Job Description

General dental clinic assistants perform many responsibilities:

  • Preparing the dental office for the day
  • Creating and maintaining records
  • Creating and maintaining maintenance processes
  • Managing clients as they come in
  • Answering questions
  • Answering phones and taking messages
  • Managing payments

Dental Lab Assistant Job Description

Lab assistant tasks include:

  • Providing chairside assistance to dentists
  • Helping the dentist through four-handed dentistry
  • Welcoming and preparing clients
  • Ensuring client comfort
  • Taking X-rays
  • Sterilizing instruments and equipment
  • Providing dental hygiene instructions
  • Stocking and cleaning treatment rooms
  • Maintaining records
  • Performing other lab tasks as needed

Dental Sterilization Assistant Job Description

Sterilization assistants focus on keeping the office safe and clean. responsibilities include:

  • Sterilizing instruments and equipment
  • Sterilizing exam rooms and other areas
  • Documenting the sterilization process
  • Performing other dental assistant duties as needed

Dental Chairside Assistant Job Description

Chairside dental assistants perform tasks that assist dentists during cleanings, procedures, and surgeries. These tasks include:

  • Maintaining accurate patient charts
  • Performing X-rays safely
  • Preparing patients for exams and procedures
  • Preparing instruments and equipment
  • Passing dental instruments
  • Suctioning excess saliva
  • Responding to dental emergencies

Lead Dental Assistant Job Description

Lead dental assistants often have dental accreditation through a dental assisting program. They perform their duties while mentoring other assistants. Their leadership job responsibilities include:

  • Directing other assistants
  • Maintaining routines for cleanliness
  • Improving overall patient care
  • Training other staff members
  • Maintaining up-to-date industry knowledge
  • Improving workflow processes

Pediatric Dental Assistant Job Description

Pediatric dental assistant jobs exist in children’s dentist offices. Their tasks are much the same as assistants for adults. They include:

  • Preparing exam areas
  • Preparing dental instruments and equipment
  • Helping the dentist with exams
  • Educating children on oral health
  • Taking X-rays

Endodontic Dental Assistant Job Description

Endodontists specialize in tooth pulp and internal tissues. They perform root canals and similar procedures. Endodontic dental assistants perform the following duties:

  • Scheduling appointments
  • Taking x-Rays
  • Preparing for procedures
  • Assisting during procedures
  • Monitoring patient comfort
  • Cleaning up after a procedure

Senior Dental Assistant Job Description

Like the lead dental assistant, the senior assistant performs a wide range of duties, including:

  • Radiological tasks
  • Assisting dentists with preventative and restorative dental care
  • Laboratory tasks
  • Clerical tasks
  • Receptionist tasks

Many senior dental assistants are CPR and Intraoral Radiographic-certified.

Orthodontic Dental Assistant Job Description

Orthodontic dental assistants work in orthodontic offices. Job responsibilities include:

  • Preparing exam areas
  • Sterilizing orthodontic tools
  • Providing chairside assistance
  • Placing, replacing, and removing brackets, wires, springs, and bands
  • Educating patients about braces care and aftercare
  • Maintaining patient records
  • Taking X-rays and dental molds


What are some expanded functions of a dental assistant job description

You can use your dental assistant job description to guide office operations and assess current employees. Are you dental assistants completing all required tasks?


What are the main duties of a dental assistant?

The primary duties of a dental assistant keep your clinic running smoothly. They clean instruments, manage patients, prepare treatment rooms and complete other responsibilities that improve operational efficiency. Some dental assistants perform dental cleaning tasks like coronal polishing.


How would you describe a dental assistant on a resume?

A good dental assistant resume should describe a detail-oriented person with interest and experience in dentistry. They should excel at organization, communication, and customer service. If required in your area, they should be a certified dental assistant with the Dental Assisting National Board.


Look for bilingual dental assisting candidates to provide dental care to a broader range of clients.

Weave wants to help your dental practice run more efficiently. Get a demo or call our sales team today at 833-572-2139.


  1. Dental Assistants