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Oswego Career Ladders - Dentistry

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High School Plus Training

Dental Assistant - Performs a variety of patient care, office, and laboratory duties. They work chair side as dentists examine and treat patients. They prepare patients for treatment, and obtain dental records. Assistants hand instruments and materials to dentists, and keep patients’ mouths dry and clear by using suction or other devices. Assistants also sterilize and disinfect instruments and equipment, prepare tray setups for dental procedures, and instruct patients on postoperative and general oral care. Those with office duties schedule and confirm appointments, receive patients, keep treatment records, send bills, receive payments, and order dental supplies. Average salary $30,190/yr, with a 43% increase in job opportunities over the next 10 years.

Two Years of Education or an Associates Degree

Dental Hygienist - Removes soft and hard deposits from teeth, teaches patients how to practice good oral hygiene, and provides other preventative dental care. Hygienists examine patients’ teeth and gums, recording the presence of disease or abnormalities. They remove calculus, stains and plaque from teeth; take and develop x rays; and apply cavity-preventive agents such as fluorides and pit and fissure sealants. Dental hygienists use hand and rotary instruments and ultrasonics to clean and polish teeth, x ray machines to take dental pictures, syringes with needles to administer local anesthetics, and models of teeth to explain oral hygiene. About 50% of dental hygienists work part-time. Average salary $47,250/yr, with a 48% increase in job opportunities over the next 10 years.

Dental Lab Technicians - Working in conjunction with dentists, makes and repairs artificial replacements for natural teeth and make corrective devices, including dentures, bridges, and crowns. Dental Lab Technicians (DLT) may work as an employee of a dentist, or they may own and operate their own lab and contract with several dentists. DLTs do not have personal contact with patients except in rare cases, requested by the dentist, that require a visual inspection of the patient's teeth. Average salary $34,300/yr, with a 43% increase in job opportunities over the next 10 years.

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