Medical Assistants Vs Dental Assistants: Choosing the Right Career Option

The dental assistants and medical assistants handle similar tasks and job duties. So, if you are keen to work as an assistant in the medical industry, you might find yourself at a crossroads not knowing what decision to make. Whether you are a beginner starting or switching to a different career option, it is essential to get your facts right. Once you collect the right option about these career options, it’s easier to arrive at a decision logically. 

The first thing you need to begin with is an analysis of the duties and the tasks that both need to perform on a day-to-day basis. Once you scout the options, and a certified dental assistant course it is easier to choose a career that best suits your interests, passions, and inclinations.

Dental assistant and medical assistant – Know the basics

Medical assistants are healthcare professionals competent in handling administrative and clinical tasks to ensure that the clinics, offices, and physicians’ laboratories run smoothly. Based on where they need to work, the MAs may send the prescriptions to pharmacies, collect and ready the laboratory specimens, and prepare the patients for X-rays. They may also remove sutures, change dressings, and take an electrocardiogram.

The dental assistant also performs various administrative and clinical tasks in the dentist’s office. They support dentists, patients, and dental hygienists within a dental practice setting. That said, you need to earn a dental assistant certificate to manage the tasks more effortlessly. 

Job description Dental assistant vs. medical assistant 

The medical assistant is an essential part of the healthcare team. From clinical to administrative tasks, they have a lot to handle daily and allow the nurses and doctors to perform essential procedures.

Here are the day-to-day tasks of a medical assistant:

  • Recording the history of patients and their personal information
  • Identifying the vital signs of patients such as temperature and blood pressure
  • Administering medications and injections as directed by the nurse and the physician
  • Helping the doctors with the examination reports of each patient
  • Explaining the treatment procedures to patients
  • Answering telephone calls for scheduling patient appointments 
  • Updating and filing the medical records
  • Handling patient correspondence, bookkeeping, and billing
  • Admitting patients for overnight or longer stays in the hospital
  • Showing patients the way to helpful resources

The dental assistant, on the other hand, needs to enroll in a certified dental assistant program as part of their formal education and this may take about a year to complete. You need to complete your high school education before enrolling in the dental assistant program. The following are the duties of the DA in the dentist’s office. 

  • The DAs ensure that patients feel comfortable in the dental chair
  • Preparing the patients for dental procedures and treatments 
  • Resolving the patients’ queries about the procedures 
  • Sterilizing the dental instruments and readying them for the procedures 
  • Creating dental impressions
  • Instructing patients in proper oral hygiene

Education: Medical assistants vs. dental assistants  

Earning a diploma is essential to become a medical assistant and aims to help the aspirants strengthen their career prospects. The programs are offered in universities, community colleges, technical schools, and vocational schools. Diploma programs take about nine to twelve months to complete and associate degree programs take about two years to complete. Although MAs do not need state licenses or certification, most employers prefer MAs with one certification. 

The dental assistants need a dental assistant certificate from a community college, vocational school, or technical school and the entire program may take less than one year to complete. They learn about the areas that dentists need to work on and also through the real-time learning sessions that are part of the course programs. 

How long does it take to become a dental and medical assistant?

Based on the career option you choose, most of the educational programs are completed in as little as nine months during which the aspirants need to go through extensive learning programs on medical and clinical procedures.

The dental assistant certification in California takes less than a year and covers the critical aspects of assisting dentists. 

With short-term certification programs and exposure to a great number of challenges of dental procedures, the career of a dental assistant is like the hand of the supervisor or the dentist. To get to this career with an ideal background, pick MDS Dental Assisting Academy, one of the top dental assistant schools in California, is well-equipped with training programs and curriculums, and enrolling in their courses will let you make a positive impact on the first day of the job.

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