Dental Assistant Kaiāwhina Mahi Niho

Dental assistants help dentists with patient care and running dental practices.

Orthodontic auxiliaries must be registered with the Dental Council of New Zealand.

Dental assistants may do some or all of the following:

  • greet and prepare patients for treatment
  • mix materials for fillings
  • clean and prepare instruments
  • pass instruments and materials to the dentist
  • develop x-rays
  • make moulds of patients' teeth
  • complete infection prevention and control procedures
  • follow up with patients where required
  • perform reception and clerical duties
  • order dental and office supplies.

Dental assistants may progress to become orthodontic auxiliaries, and assist orthodontists with patient care. To become an orthodontic auxiliary you need to complete approved training and meet other requirements set out by the Dental Council of New Zealand. An Annual Practising Certificate and registration with the Dental Council of New Zealand is also required.

Physical Requirements

Dental assistants need to be reasonably fit and healthy, with good posture.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for dental assistants includes reception and hospital work.

Personal Qualities

Dental assistants need to be:

  • friendly, polite and caring
  • good at listening
  • able to communicate effectively
  • quick and efficient
  • able to work well under pressure
  • able to remain calm in emergencies
  • organised and able to follow instructions.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for dental assistants includes reception and hospital work.

Subject Recommendations

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a dental assistant. However, health, biology, chemistry, physics and English to at least NCEA Level 2 are useful.

Dental Assistants can earn around $41K-$46K per year per year.

With further training, dental assistants may progress to become orthodontic auxiliaries, oral health therapists or dental technicians.

Dental Assistant

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