There are several career areas for dental professionals, each with its own educational requirements; some require certification and licensure. Dentistry is a unique profession in that there are so many avenues of oral health to explore.
The dental profession offers a range of career opportunities and experiences:
- Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary (EFDA)
- Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)
- Dental Assistant
- Dental Lab Technician
Benefits of a career in dentistry include the gratification and prestige of working in the health care field, job security, flexibility, and a sense of personal satisfaction from helping others.
For informational resources from the ADA about dental careers, click here.
Dentists enjoy a unique, diverse, technology-driven profession with numerous areas of service and expertise:
- disease detection
- diagnosis & treatment
- esthetic improvement
- surgical restoration
- public education
Education/Licensing Requirements: Undergraduate education and four years of dental school; additional education for dental specialties. Dentists are licensed by the Ohio State Dental Board.
Dental hygienists are an important part of the dental care team. Duties include taking the patient's history, cleaning teeth, taking and developing dental x-rays, placing sealants and fluorides, teaching patients how to brush and floss properly, educating the patient on how nutrition is important to good dental health, and more. There are good job opportunities on a full or part-time basis in dental hygiene.
Education/Licensing Requirements: Completion of a dental hygiene curriculum, generally offered as part of a two or four-year full-time curriculum at community colleges, technical schools, universities and/or dental schools. Additional studies are available for higher-level careers in dental hygiene, such as teaching, clinical practice or public health. Dental hygienists are licensed by the Ohio State Dental Board.
Expanded function dental auxiliary (EFDA) is a person that can perform the same tasks as the dental assistant, plus place restorations and sealants, working under supervision and full responsibility of a licensed dentist.
Education/Licensing Requirements: To qualify as an EFDA, an individual must pass the Ohio State Dental Board designated examination for expanded function dental auxiliaries.
Certified Dental Assistants can receive on-the-job training, and a minimum of a high school diploma is required. However, better opportunities may exist with a college certificate or two-year degree.
Education/Licensing Requirements: Dental assistants who take x-rays must hold a permit to do so from the Ohio State Dental Board. Individuals may also become Certified Dental Assistants (CDAs) by meeting certain criteria and passing an exam. CDAs may polish teeth and place sealants in addition to providing all of the services that a dental assistant can.
Dental assistant tasks can include taking and developing of dental x-rays, taking patient blood pressure and pulse, patient comfort, demonstrating good oral hygiene techniques, taking impressions, providing the patient with follow-up instructions after surgery or other oral procedures, and infection control. The dental assistant may also help the dentist with examinations and fillings. There are excellent employment possibilities in this field.
Education/Licensing Requirements: Dental assistants can receive on-the-job training, and a minimum of a high school diploma is typically required by the employer. However, better opportunities may exist with a college certificate or two-year degree. Dental assistants who take x-rays must hold a permit to do so from the Ohio State Dental Board.
Dental lab technicians are the behind-the-scenes members of a dental team, working from the dental laboratory making full and partial dentures from impressions taken at the dentist's office. They also create crowns and veneers, orthodontic appliances and splints. The lab technician works with a wide range of materials and high-tech equipment and instruments.
Education/Licensing Requirements: A one-year degree of certification for studies at a college is available, and continuing education in the field is desirable.
For a current list of dental, dental hygiene, dental assisting and EFDA programs in Ohio, click here.