Clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. May educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop x rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.
How much education and experience would I need for this career?
These jobs typically require at least some sort of post-secondary certification or Associate's Degree.
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Would I like this career?
If you're one of the following types of people, you would probably like this career!
- Realistic - You like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. You enjoy dealing with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. You enjoy outside work. Often you tend not to like occupations that mainly involve doing paperwork or working closely with others.
- Social - You like work activities that assist others and promote learning and personal development. You prefer to communicate more than to work with objects, machines, or data. You like to teach, to give advice, to help, or otherwise be of service to people.
Determine Your Personality Types
The personality types described in the above section are based on the Holland RIASEC Codes. To find out what type you are, you can take this simple test, or download a more complex interest profiler from O*NET Online. Once you know your primary and secondary personality types, come on back to find the best career in health care for you!
What kinds of things would I do on a daily basis?
- Clean calcareous deposits, accretions, and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums, using dental instruments.
- Feel and visually examine gums for sores and signs of disease.
- Chart conditions of decay and disease for diagnosis and treatment by dentist.
- Feel lymph nodes under patient's chin to detect swelling or tenderness that could indicate presence of oral cancer.
- Apply fluorides or other cavity preventing agents to arrest dental decay.
- Examine gums, using probes, to locate periodontal recessed gums and signs of gum disease.
- Expose and develop x-ray film.
- Administer local anesthetic agents.
- Record and review patient medical histories.
- Provide clinical services or health education to improve and maintain the oral health of patients or the general public.
- Maintain dental equipment and sharpen and sterilize dental instruments.
- Maintain patient recall system.
What skills would I need to be successful in this career?
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.