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NOC Code: NOC Code: 3411 Occupation: Dental assistants
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Dental assistants assist dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists during the examination and treatment of patients and perform clerical functions. Dental assistants work in dentists' offices, community health centres, clinics and in educational institutions. Dental assistants assist dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists during the examination and treatment of patients and perform clerical functions. Dental assistants work in dentists' offices, community health centres, clinics and in educational institutions.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Reading 1 2 3
Writing Writing 1 2
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Digital Technology Digital Technology 1 2
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2
Money Math Money Math 1 2
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2

  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.

  • Read instructions and other text entries on product labels and packaging, e.g. read product labels for mixing instructions and special handling requirements. (1)
  • Read short notes to co-workers, e.g. read short notes from receptionists to learn about special requests and late arriving patients. (1)
  • Read text entries in administrative and reporting forms, e.g. scan insurance company forms to learn about the cost coverage of specific procedures. (2)
  • Read flyers, brochures and other promotional material to learn about promotions and new products, e.g. read about service options for cephalometric X-ray equipment in suppliers' brochures. (2)
  • Read reference books, e.g. read oral pathology reference books to learn about diseases of the gums and teeth. (3)
  • Read journals, magazines and website articles to stay current on industry trends and broaden your knowledge of techniques and materials. (3)
  • Read manuals and guidelines to learn about methods and procedures for your work, e.g. read guidelines published by the Canadian Dental Association to learn about oral care for older adults. (3)
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  • Write reminders and short notes to co-workers and colleagues, e.g. write short notes to inform specialists about new referrals. (1)
  • Write short text entries in reporting and administrative forms, e.g. write the procedures completed on dental charts. (1)
  • Write instructions, e.g. write notes for patients outlining procedures that have been done and instructions for medication and other post-operative care. (2)
  • Write letters to patients and their relatives on behalf of dentists, e.g. write a letter to a patient who did not show up for an appointment. (2)
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Document Use
  • Scan a variety of symbols and icons, e.g. scan Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) symbols to identify potential biohazards. (1)
  • Locate data, such as dates, sizes, codes and quantities, on labels, e.g. locate ingredient concentration levels on product labels. (1)
  • Locate data in lists, tables and schedules, e.g. locate data, such as product names, identification numbers, classifications, quantities and costs, in suppliers' product lists. (2)
  • Complete a variety of forms including inventory control forms, receipts, order forms, laboratory and X-ray requisition forms, insurance claims and dental charts by entering data, such as dates, times, quantities and costs. (3)
  • Scan X-rays to determine their quality and usefulness. (3)
  • Locate dimensions, angles and other data in various technical drawings, e.g. analyze assembly drawings to learn how to assemble and disassemble air-water syringes. (3)
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Digital Technology
  • Operate point-of-sale equipment, such as electronic cash registers, bar scanners, scales and touchscreens, to complete billings. (1)
  • Operate electronic sanitization equipment, such as dry heat sterilizers and cage washers. (1)
  • Use calculators and personal digital assistant (PDA) devices to complete numeracy-related tasks, such as calculating material requirements. (1)
  • Use office equipment, such as printers, scanners, fax machines, copiers and postage meters, to perform clerical tasks. (1)
  • Use word processing software to write letters. (2)
  • Use browsers and search engines to locate information guidelines and bulletins from organizations, such as the Canadian Dental Association. (2)
  • Use the Internet to access training courses and seminars offered by suppliers, employers and trainers. (2)
  • Operate electronic dentistry systems, which include air and water syringes, saliva ejectors and evacuators. (2)
  • Use specialized dental billing and accounting software to schedule appointments, input procedure codes and generate bills and expense statements. (2)
  • Use specialized databases to retrieve patients' medical histories and charts. (2)
  • Use intranets and email applications to exchange information and documents with co-workers, dentists and suppliers. (2)
  • Use databases to input inventory and determine the availability of materials and supplies. (2)
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Oral Communication
  • Talk to suppliers to learn about the availability of products and their delivery dates. (1)
  • Exchange information with dentists, e.g. listen to the dentist's directions before and during examinations and discuss patient treatments and conditions. (2)
  • Reassure patients to reduce anxieties and to comfort those undergoing painful dental procedures. (2)
  • Exchange information with co-workers, e.g. speak with co-workers to obtain information and coordinate activities. (2)
  • Talk to patients and their relatives, e.g. explain treatments and oral hygiene practices to young patients and their parents. (2)
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Money Math
  • Count cash and make change for cash payments, from patients, for exams and procedures not covered by dental insurance plans. (1)
  • Calculate and verify invoice and receipt amounts, e.g. calculate amounts to be claimed from dental insurance plans. (2)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Compare options to get the best prices when ordering new supplies. (1)
  • Create appointment schedules for dentists, frequently adjusting them because of cancellations and other unexpected events. (2)
  • Calculate amounts for debit and credit transactions, accounts receivable and payable, bank reconciliations and summaries in general ledgers. (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure pressures by reading numerical, colour-coded gauges when using sterilizers. (1)
  • Calculate quantities of materials for mixtures, e.g. calculate the amount of water and plaster needed for a specific type of dental cast. (2)
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Data Analysis
  • Compare measurements of time, dimension and pressure to specifications, e.g. compare pressure readings of sterilization to specifications to determine when the equipment is ready for use. (1)
  • Collect and analyze operational data, e.g. collect and analyze data on various types of dental procedures to calculate the average time spent on each type. (2)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate time needed to perform job duties using past experience as a guide, e.g. estimate the time needed for an appointment by assessing the nature and complexity of dental procedures to be performed. (1)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Dental assistants organize their workday according to the scheduled appointments. They assess what preparation is required for each patient, sometimes helping several patients at the same time. (2)
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Decision Making
  • Select methods to organize materials and office supplies. (1)
  • Select patients to fill cancelled appointments. Use first-come, first-served rule or assign priorities based on the severity of dental health conditions. (1)
  • Decide the order of tasks and the priorities, e.g. decide the order in which to prepare patients for dental treatments. (1)
  • Select suppliers and the supplies and materials to purchase. Take into account factors, such as budgets and anticipated needs. (2)
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Problem Solving
  • Encounter patients with special needs, e.g. serve those in wheelchairs who cannot lift themselves into the dentist's chair. Address their needs, such as by lifting them into the chair with the help of another staff member. (1)
  • Encounter nervous patients who are fearful of dental procedures. Speak using a reassuring tone of voice and provide information to reduce fears and anxieties. (2)
  • Fall behind schedule. Try speeding up procedures, rescheduling procedures or reducing the time dentists spend talking to patients. (2)
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Finding Information
  • Locate information about patients by asking them questions and by reading charts for information about their medical condition and special needs. (1)
  • Consult catalogues and co-workers to find out about new products and to compare products or suppliers. (2)
  • Consult oral pathology reference books, co-workers and dentists for information about diseases of the gums and teeth. (2)
  • Locate specifications, such as application times, colour codes and ingredients, by scanning product labels, packaging and information posted on manufacturers' websites and by talking with suppliers and co-workers. (2)
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Critical Thinking
  • Judge the condition and cleanliness of tools, such as probes and mouth mirrors. (1)
  • Evaluate the performance of equipment, such as saliva ejectors and evacuators. (1)
  • Judge the performance of products, such as fluoride treatments and moulding compounds. (1)
  • Evaluate the usefulness of X-rays and teeth moulds. (2)
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