What Are the Pros and Cons of Being a Dental Assistant?

There are several types of dental specialists and professions available. Among them, we have general dentists, orthodontists, endodontists, periodontists, oral surgeons, and the list can go on. One of the most popular of these professions is the dental assistant. Most that opt for this role has either undergone a specialized education program or have attended a community college.

Being a dental assistant can be a fulfilling and rewarding profession. But no job or career is without its series of disadvantages. That said, we’ve comprised a list of some of the pros and cons of what it means to be a dental assistant, so to help you decide whether this is a career for you.

What Are the Pros of Being a Dental Assistant? 

One of the most significant advantages of being a dental assistant is that the industry is experiencing growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 19 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.”  It means that there will be no shortage of open dental assistant positions for the foreseeable future. Throughout these ten years, an estimated 64,600 new jobs will open across the country.

Regarding the pay, the Bureau mentions that the average salary in 2017 was $37,630 per year or $18.09 per hour. Of course, this is compiled nationally and based on average experience. The more experienced dental assistants earn $21 per hour or more, depending on the region.

Also, dental assistants encounter a varied set of tasks, duties, and challenges regularly. If you are the kind of person that doesn’t like monotony and routine, then this profession might be for you. From assisting dentists with treatments to handling x-rays, anesthesia, lab work, handling medical histories, taking blood pressure, or performing office management tasks, among others, dental assistants will always deal with something new. These provide ample opportunities for gaining extra experience and career advancement opportunities.

What Are the Cons of Being a Dental Assistant?

Having a variety and numerous challenges can also view as a stressful situation for some who are more comfortable in a slow-paced job. Concerning stress levels, the profession of dental assistant was classified as average by the US News. Likewise, working close to other people’s mouths can be too uncomfortable for some.

Other potential drawbacks of this profession include personal injury. Since dental assistants need to work with X-ray machines or sit in awkward positions for prolonged periods, they may be subject to back pain, neck pain, numbness in the arm, etc. Fortunately, however, these can be managed with an active lifestyle such as physical exercise and stretching.

One of the responsibilities of back office dental assistants is to clean patient blood and puss, making the job unacceptable for some. It is among the most disturbing aspects of this job. Although, if you don’t have any issues with these, then it shouldn’t be a problem.


The bottom line is that the job of a dental assistant can be a tantalizing one, particularly for those who are looking to enter the dental industry. We hope that this information was useful for you to make the decision. Dental Specialties Institute, Inc. is at your service, providing you with the necessary training and courses for this profession. Contact us today for more details!