Can a Dental Assistant Become an Oral Surgeon?
As you are exploring careers in the field of dentistry, you might wonder if a dental assistant can become an oral surgeon. What kind of path do you follow to pursue these different careers, and how do they differ?
What Does It Take to Become an Oral Surgeon?
First, let’s take a look at the process of becoming an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Oral surgeons are highly specialized, providing services ranging from extracting teeth or placing dental implants to treating traumatic injuries. Due to the skill needed and the complexity of performing surgery on patients, a great deal of training is required.
To become an oral surgeon, dental school is required. After completing dental school, a surgeon must complete a hospital-based surgical residency program that lasts a minimum of four years. Following the residency, many oral surgeons will then choose to pursue an advanced degree or medical degree. In the end, most oral surgeons will complete between 12 and 14 years of postgraduate education before beginning their practice.
What Is an Oral Surgery Assistant?
Another related career path is an oral surgery assistant, which is similar to a dental assistant. An oral surgery assistant supports a dentist or surgeon during surgical operations. These duties might include sterilizing and laying out surgical instruments, explaining the procedure to the patient, and applying topical anesthesia.
Other responsibilities during the procedure might be taking notes to provide documentation for the dentist, monitoring the anesthesia, and keeping the patient’s mouth clear. Training for this career usually requires a high school diploma or equivalent, then training in a post-secondary program for either a certificate or an associate degree.
A license is required to administer anesthesia or use X-ray equipment, as well as certification by completing the Dental Anesthesia Assistant National Certification Examination (DAANCE).
Differing Career Paths
There are some definite similarities between dental assisting and oral surgery assisting. In fact, most oral surgery assistants have completed a dental assisting program, then pursued further training and certifications to qualify for an oral surgery assisting position. There is quite a difference between dental assisting and becoming an oral surgeon.
There is no short path to becoming an oral surgeon, even with experience in dental assisting. Fortunately, completing a dental assisting program is a quicker process with plenty of future career advancement. With the training and experience gained in dental assisting school, you’ll be able to determine which specializations you’d like to pursue and receive additional qualifications, such as certification for anesthesia.
The First Step On the Path to Dental Assisting
Becoming a dental assistant is a significant first step toward many different career options, including the possibility of working as an oral surgery assistant. Here at Dental Fundamentals School of Dental Assisting Salt Lake City, Utah, we can help you meet your career dreams. Providing service to students in Salt Lake City, Murray, Layton, and more, our 10-week program offers flexibility as well as great hands-on experience, including onsite dentists. Give us a call at (801) 419-7311 or book an appointment online to take a tour and see for yourself!