Job Profiles

Dental Assistant

Dentist with young boy patient
Dental Assistants work as part of a wider dental team, primarily with Dentists.

Role of a Dental Assistant can be quite diverse.

Role Description:

  • Dental Assistants work as part of a wider dental team, primarily with Dentists, but also with Dental Specialists, Oral Health Therapists, Dental Hygienists and Dental Prosthetists.

    The role of a Dental Assistant can be quite diverse, depending upon the requirements of the practice but could include:

    • Assisting dentists, hygienists and therapists with dental procedures.
    • Preparing for and cleaning up after procedures, including the preparation of materials used in treatments.
    • Assisting the dentist during procedures eg. passing instruments, operating suction apparatus.
    • Efficient administration of the practice including stock control.
    • Acting as the first point of contact for patients at reception – taking payment, scheduling appointments, preparing them for procedures, explaining courses of prescribed treatments, updating patient records.

Where you might work:

  • Your workplace will most likely be within a private or specialist dental practice although there are other options including:

    • public dental health clinics (including those run in schools);
    • hospital dental clinics – these can incorporate community education on good oral health practices if appropriately qualified; and
    • working in the Australian Defence Force, assisting in the care of military personnel.

Personal Attributes:

  • This role will appeal to those who enjoy interacting with people and have excellent communication skills. You will need to be organised and able to multi-task. Attention to detail is also very important as is the ability to understand and follow instructions.


  • Between $40,741 and $95,345 per year, depending on the organisation employed and level of experience based on 218 salaries in Australia.
    (Reference:, 2019)

  • Middle of the range salary: $55,000
    (Reference: National Centre for Vocational Education Research, 2018.)

Employment Rates:

  • 16,000 job openings over 5 years (that’s about 3,200 a year!)
    Reference: ABS Labour Force Survey, 2018

Industry Growth:

  • Dental Assistants grew strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow over the next 5 years: from 26,600 in 2018 to 28,400 by 2023.
    Reference: ABS Labour Force Survey, 2018

Dental Assistant Occupation Profile Videos:

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