Dental Assistants

(NOC 3411)

in All Health

Dental assistants assist dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists during the examination and treatment of patients and perform clerical functions. They work in dentists' offices, community health centres, clinics, and in educational institutions.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 70 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 4385 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Dental Assistants most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common.

The median employment income for 59% of Dental Assistants who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $36,277. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$17.75

Minimum

$19.50

Median

$25.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$11,685

Minimum

$32,788

Median

$45,443

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.38

Minimum

$25.50

Median

$41.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,740

Minimum

$43,853

Median

$88,944

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Dental assistants assist dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists during the examination and treatment of patients and perform clerical functions. They work in dentists' offices, community health centres, clinics, and in educational institutions.

Job duties

Dental assistants perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Prepare patients for dental examination and assist the dentist during the examination.
  • Sterilize and maintain instruments and equipment.
  • Prepare dental instruments and filling materials.
  • Take and develop X-rays.
  • Polish teeth and clinical crowns and apply fluoride and sealant.
  • Take preliminary impressions for diagnostic casts.
  • Fabricate and place temporary crowns and restorations.
  • Educate patients concerning oral hygiene.
  • Invoice patients for dental services.
  • Schedule patient appointments and record dental procedures performed.
  • Order dental and office supplies.
  • May perform intra-oral duties such as remove sutures, take and record vital signs, apply desensitizing agents, topical anesthetic, anticariogenic agents and apply and remove rubber dams.

Sample job titles

  • dental aide
  • dental assistant
  • dental clinical assistant
  • licensed dental assistant

Skills

To work as a dental assistant, you should have good interpersonal skills and a desire to help others. Patience and the ability to handle stressful situations may be needed. You must be efficient and accurate, yet sensitive to the needs of patients. Good manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and an aptitude for detailed and precise work are necessary.

Job requirements

  • Completion of an eight-month to one-year college or other program in dental assistance, or completion of high school with on-the-job training is required.
  • To become a licensed dental assistant in Nova Scotia, you must complete an accredited Level II Dental Assisting program.
  • Licensing is required to perform intra-oral duties in Nova Scotia.
  • In Nova Scotia the job is regulated by the Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia.

Other considerations

In some provinces there are two levels of dental assistants: Level I – chair-side assistant and Level II – intra-oral assistant. Progression from Level I to Level II is possible with education, training and licensure.

By the numbers

Quick look

750

employed in 2016

87.2%

employed full-time

0.0%

self employed

99.4%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
0.59999999999999%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
40.8

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

77.1%

employed full-time

10.2%

self employed

83.6%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
16.4%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

50.9%

Halifax

13.2%

Southern

12.6%

Annapolis Valley

12.0%

Cape Breton

11.4%

Northern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

94.7%

Health Care and Social Assistance

2.7%

Educational Services

1.3%

Public Administration

1.3%

Other Industries

What is the age of Employment?

32.1%

25-34

24.4%

35-44

21.8%

15-24

15.4%

45-54

5.1%

55-64

Compared to: All Health

31.4%

45-54

27.6%

35-44

20.5%

55-64

15.2%

25-34

4.9%

65+

Top levels of education

80.1%

College certificate or diploma

$33,935 median annual income
9.0%

Trades certificate

$36,059 median annual income
3.0%

High school

$24,099 median annual income
3.0%

Bachelor's degree

$25,038 median annual income
1.8%

University certificate or diploma

$30,021 median annual income

Compared to: All Health

39.4%

College certificate or diploma

$36,693 median annual income
27.6%

Bachelor's degree

$57,186 median annual income
7.2%

Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry

$83,000 median annual income
6.9%

High school

$24,119 median annual income
5.1%

Master's degree

$87,808 median annual income

Education & training

Dental assisting/assistant

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to provide patient care, take dental radiographs (X-ray photographs), prepare patients and equipment for dental procedures, and discharge office administrative functions under the supervision of dentists and dental hygienists. These programs include courses in medical record-keeping, general office duties, reception and patient intake, scheduling, equipment maintenance and sterilization, basic radiography, pre-operative and postoperative patient care and instruction, chairside assisting, taking tooth and mouth impressions, and supervised practice.

Institutions providing this program

Cape Breton Business College

315 Jamieson Street PO Box 33 Whitney Pier

Sydney, NS B1N 3B1

(902) 564-2222

Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus

5685 Leeds Street

Halifax, NS B3K 2T3

(902) 491-6722

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Dental Assistant

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.

Regulating body:
Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia
1559 Brunswick Street, Suite 102
Halifax, NS B3J 2G1
(902) 420-0083
(902) 492-0301

Contacts

Canadian Dental Assistants' Association
1150 – 45 O’Connor Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4
Tel: (800) 345-5137
Fax: (613) 521-5572
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
380 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
Tel: (902) 461-0871
Fax: (902) 461-9572
Nova Scotia Dental Assistants Association
PO Box 9142, Station A
Halifax, NS B3K 5M8
Tel: (902) 405-1122
Fax: (902) 405-1133

Job postings

Registered Dental Assistant

View all job postings