Dental Assistant Resumes: Examples Section by Section

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Table of Contents

A dental assistant works side by side with the dentist, assisting in all treatments and procedures.  They are there to supply equipment, support the patient and the doctor, and ensure the procedure’s overall success.

These treatments may include fillings, root canals, crown impressions, fittings and placements, dentures, bridges, implants, or other dental surgeries.

A dental assistant is not the same as a dental hygienist. 

A dental hygienist is trained in how to clean and properly care for your teeth and gums.  They can detect likely cavities and other dental issues, while assistants are trained to assist with dental procedures and x-rays.

Becoming a dental assistant opens you up to the world of dentistry and can set you up for a lifelong career or to advance within the dental field. 

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Dental assistants make a stable wage; the average salary is over $40,000 a year, and the career has a projected job growth of 7% in the next ten years. 

A stable career, job growth, and room for advancement make becoming a dental assistant an excellent career choice!

Resume objective for a dental assistant

A dental assistant is a jack or jill of all trades.  They must understand patient care and customer service, explain procedures and possible costs to patients, and understand the tools and terminology needed to complete care.

Some assistants may even be called upon to work at the front, make appointments, handle phone calls and customer check-ins, order supplies, and other office duties.

A dental assistant is considered an entry-level career in dentistry, but that does not mean it cannot be a lifelong career choice. 

I spent three-and-a-half years after college working in a dental office, and some of the assistants had been there their whole career and happy with their job!

A dental assistant will be called upon to complete many tasks. When writing your objective, sit back, and think of the different ways you can showcase your reliability, skill set, and dedication to the career.  

After reading through several tip articles on becoming a dental assistant, reliability and customer care were two skills frequently mentioned. 

There are many different types of dental offices, and specialties and dental assistants work in all of them.

A general dentist is whom you see for your bi-annual check-up, fillings, basic gum issues, crowns, bridges, dentures, and simple root canals. 

For advanced root canals, you may be referred to an endodontist.  For major restorative work, including crowns and bridges, you may see a prosthodontist; for surgery, including wisdom teeth, you might visit an oral surgeon.  

When writing your objective, pay close attention to the type of office you are applying to so that you can cater your objective to fit. 

Sample Objective

Dental Assistant with five years of experience in a general dentist office looking to expand my skills at an endodontist office.  Assisted in dozens of single-root root canals, as well as common dental treatments and procedures.  Skilled at making patients feel calm and relaxed and at answering questions based on their concerns. 

Resume skills for a dental assistant

The skill-set for a dental assistant is very long, with many technical terms and procedures.  The office hiring you is going to assume you have the necessary skills all dental assistants have. 

ExploreHealthCareers.org lists information on becoming a dental assistant, as well as a lengthy list of skills needed.  

Skills that probably do not need to be mentioned include sanitizing tools, preparing rooms, assisting the dentist during treatments, collecting patient data, applying fluoride, or arranging and confirming appointments.

Instead, focus on more specialized skills that you have learned on the job and have experience doing.  You may also wish to point out your customer skills since they are an integral part of the job.  

Depending on where you live, if you speak a second language, it could be beneficial to list that skill; even if you aren’t proficient, you may still be able to help patients understand what is going on and calm them as well.  

There are various dental scheduling software programs out there; if you have experience with one, list it in your skills.  

The office may not use it, but it will show you are computer savvy and could quickly learn a new program is needed. 

Sample Skills

Xrays | Impressions | Sealants | Removing Sutures | Mouth Guards | Placing Restorations | Assist with Anethstesia | Calming Patients | Teaching Oral Care | Answering Patient Questions

Dental Assistant work experience

Since dental assistants can work in various offices, one person’s work experience may vary greatly from another’s. 

If you are new to the field, list any relevant experience you may have in customer service, medical or health-related fields, or hospitality. 

While working as a dental assistant is a technical career, there is quite a bit of customer care that goes along with it.  A great dental assistant will be able to meld those two qualities together.

Sample Work Experience

Johnson Family Dentistry

Dental Assistant, 2012-2020

Provided direct patient care in all dental specialties, including orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, and oral surgery.  Assisted patients in feeling comfortable before and after procedures.  Increased customer satisfaction ratings by 27%.

  • Patient vitals and procedure documentation
  • Scheduled follow-up appointments
  • Removal of sutures
  • Placing and removing dressings
  • Fittings for permanent restorations

Friendly Smiles

Dental Assistant, 2006-2012

Responsible for dental procedure prep, assistance, and documentation.  Positive patient interaction and education and increased customer satisfaction ratings by 33%.  Efficient and room prep and cleaning, ensuring scheduled appoints occurred on time.

  • Prepped and took x-rays
  • Patient vitals and procedure documentation
  • Dental equipment operation and cleaning
  • Handled phone calls, insurance, and scheduling

Warminster Dental 

Dental Assistant, 2003 – 2006

Assisted the dentist in procedures including fillings, root canals, crown fittings and placements, and simple tooth extractions.  Scheduled follow-up appointments for patients and thoroughly explained all procedures to patients ahead of time. 

  • Crown and mouth guard impressions
  • Applying sealants 
  • Prepped and took x-rays
  • Coded and filed insurance claims
  • Calming and reassuring patients

Dental assistant education

Dental assistants require specialized education; programs are typically found at trade schools and community colleges; some states will accept hands-on training but attending a program is recommended.

The traditional dental assistant program lasts for 1-year; 2-year programs will typically earn you an associate’s degree. 

Programs can be found as some four-year institutions as well. 

Carrington College has a few recommendations when searching for a dental assistant program.  These include small class size, hands-on training, and the opportunity for externships. 

Externships and shadowing can be beneficial if you have just graduated and do not have much experience to date.  

Sample Education

PennFoster

Dental Assistant Program, 2008-2009

Certifications 

To work as a dental assistant, you may need to obtain certification from your state.  Each state has different policies, and if your role is defined as an “entry-level dental assistant,” you may not need a certification.

Tasks that may be defined as more advanced and require certification include X-rays, infection control, as part of surgery, or more advanced procedures.  

The Dental Assisting National Board offers certifications for dental assistants.  You can earn several different certifications through the DANB, but the most common is the Certified Dental Assistant or CDA.

Each certification consists of a series of exams you will need to register for and pass.

As with most health professions, it can never hurt to have a valid CPR/First Aid certification.  

Sample Certifications

  • Certified Dental Assistant
  • CPR/First Aid

Complete dental assistant resume sample

Now that we have taken a look at the steps and tips to make your dental assistant resume shine, we will look at a real job posting.  Following the post, there will be a complete sample resume.

This job posting is very clear about the job responsibilities and that they are willing to accept those new to the field, although experience is preferred.  

Dental Assistant

Objective

Certified Dental Assistant with 7+ years of experience assisting with dental procedures and performing top-quality patient care; increased patient satisfaction by 25% at previous practice. I am seeking a position where I continue to use current skills and to advance and learn as I work. 

Skills

X-rays | Room Prep | Insurance & Billing | Sealants | Removing Sutures | Impressions| Assisting with Anesthesia |Scheduling with Dentrix & DentiMax

Work Experience

Crofton Dental

Dental Assistant, 2017-2020

Assisted in a wide range of dental procedures, including fillings, single-root root canals, prosthetics, and simple tooth extractions.  Scheduled appointments and handled insurance through DentiMax. 

  • Explained procedures and answered patient questions
  • Seated patients in rooms and took health histories
  • X Rays
  • Reassured and calmed nervous patients

Kids+ Pediatric Dental

Dental Assistant, 2014-2017

Assisted dentists in all procedures related to pediatric dental care.  Interacted with and calmed children down when excited or nervous.  Discussed treatments with parents and scheduled follow up appointments. 

  • Applied Sealants & Fluoride
  • Assisted with anesthesia 
  • Cleaned and prepped rooms
  • Sanitized tools
  • X rays

Externship – Dental Works

Front Desk/Dental Assistant, 2013-2014

Answered phone calls, scheduled appointments, and answered questions from patients.  Clean and prepped rooms and sterilized equipment.  Properly coded and submitted insurance claims.  

  • Used Dentrix to schedule patients
  • Seated patients in rooms and took health histories
  • Answered questions for patients
  • Reassured and calmed nervous patients

Certifications 

  • Certified Dental Assistant 
  • Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant
  • CPR/First Aid 
  • Radiology Certification

Education

Maryland Dental Assistant School 

Dental Chairside Assistant, 2012-2014

Key Takeaways

Dental assistants perform a lot of the footwork needed to ensure a patient feels relaxed and at ease. 

Many people (myself included!) have a fear or strong dislike of going to the dentist; dental assistants are there to help patients and cover concerns and questions.

Dental assistants receive specialized training and certifications to provide them with the knowledge needed to make them an effective team member. 

  • Not all states require education & certification
  • Front desk work and insurance billing may be expected 
  • Most training programs are less than two years

Tips from Experts

“Each member of the dental team directly affects the success of the practice through his or her actions. The way team members communicate the way they deliver a quality experience for the patient, and the way they discuss treatment fees conveys an image for practice.” – Debra Englehardt-Nash, Dental Assistant, Trainer, Consultant & Founder and Former President of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants

“We are not ‘just’ dental assistants. We are hardworking, intelligent healthcare professionals who care about our patients. And we want to give the patient the best dental care possible!” — Ala M., CDA, COA

“I am proud to make a difference in people’s lives. I love to help somebody who never smiles due to the appearance of their teeth to go from never smiling to smiling all the time!” — Natalie J., CDA

Conclusion

A career as a dental assistant is a stable choice and can be very fulfilling as you make a difference in people’s lives every day.

This career’s growth is projected to continue in an upward fashion, and becoming a dental assistant is the doorway to more advanced careers in dentistry if that is your ambition.

If you are seeking a healthcare job but are not sure which direction you want to go, take some time and consider if a career as a dental assistant is right for you!

Methodology

In addition to our own expertise as professional resume consultants, for every resume guide we write, we curate dozens of recent job postings and resumes to make sure all our recommendations align with current trends for each specific industry and career path. Learn more about our methodology here. 

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