Expand your training beyond a dental office with a career as an orthodontic assistant. Certified orthodontic assistants work directly with the orthodontist and provide a variety of services to each patient.
After greeting them in the lobby, the orthodontic assistant escorts the patient and their family to their respective chair. The orthodontic assistant follows a treatment plan and any special instructions from the orthodontist. Providing services that include the installation, care, and removal of appliances, braces and other dental equipment used to correct dental issues, including alignment and bite correction. It is also not uncommon for assistants to work in the lab, where impressions are poured and mouthguards, retainers, and aligners are made.
Orthodontic assistants can work in several different office settings, including orthodontic and private dental practices.
An associate’s degree in dental assisting is required to work as an orthodontic assistant. Classroom, online and hands-on opportunities are offered in varying dental assisting programs. Programs include training in radiography, x-ray development and sterilization procedures.
State requirements for orthodontic assistants vary. It is recommended that potential students contact their State Board of Dentistry to determine state certification requirements. The Dental Assistant National Board is the main certification body for orthodontic assistants and requires students to complete a variety of dental related courses as well as pass the Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA) exam.
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To learn more about the industry and becoming an orthodontic assistant, make sure to review our common career questions.