How Can I Become a Dental Surgical Assistant?


Dental surgical assistants, also known as oral surgeon's assistants, clean and sterilize surgical equipment, help during surgery and monitor patients after surgery is completed. Becoming an oral surgery assistant requires hard work and dedication to learning about oral surgery.

  • Go to an accredited dental assisting, dental hygiene or surgical technology program. According to, oral surgeons want surgical assistants to have at least an associates degree in a related field. Since many dental assisting and surgical technology programs only award a certificate, you will need to take additional courses to earn an associate's degree in allied health.

  • Pass your occupation's certification exam. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, dental assistants must pass the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exam. Surgical technologists must pass the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) exam or the Liaison Council on Certification for the Surgical Technologist exam. Dental hygienists must pass the exam administered by the American Dental Association's (ADA) Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations. Passing these exams are necessary to work in the dental field.

  • Work for several years in the dental field and get to know oral surgeons. Many oral surgeons prefer to train their own oral surgery assistants, but you have to prove yourself first. Once you have worked for a few years in the dental field and have shown that you are dedicated to the art of oral surgery, one will train you as an oral surgery assistant.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check with your state's dental board. Some states require more training to become an oral surgery assistant.

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  • Photo Credit nervio dentario image by Manuel Berrazueta from
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