4 Types of Dental Professionals You'll Meet at the Dental Practice

Many types of dental professionals work in dental practices. These highly trained health professionals are dedicated to serving the oral health care needs of patients. Here we cover the four main dental professionals you may meet at your next dental appointment.

Dental Receptionist

The dental receptionist is usually the first person you will meet when you arrive for your appointment. Dental receptionists greet visitors, answer the telephone, and answer patient questions. They may ask to see your dental insurance card to process insurance forms. They may also schedule appointments, process postal mail, perform various administrative tasks, and ensure the office and waiting area is organized. Dental receptionists are an integral part of any dental office.

Dental Assistant

A dental assistant is an important member of the dental care team. Dental assistants assist the dentist in providing the best oral health care to patients. They perform many tasks throughout the day including:

  • Communicating with patients about their oral care needs
  • Assist the dentist during treatment procedures
  • Taking and developing dental x-rays
  • Ask the patient about their medical history
  • Take a patient's blood pressure and check the pulse
  • Help patients feel comfortable during their visit
  • Sterilize and prepare dental instruments and equipment
  • Instruct patients concerning at-home oral care such as after oral surgery, after fillings, or other dental procedures
  • Teach patients about oral hygiene (flossing, brushing, nutritional counseling)

Dental Hygienist

The dentist and dental hygienist work as a team to meet a patient's oral health needs. The services that dental hygienists provide may vary from state to state. Dental hygienists often provide these patient services:

  • Remove plaque and calculus from teeth surfaces
  • Make an impression of a patient's teeth (used by the dentist to evaluate a patient's oral care needs)
  • Apply a preventive material (fluoride, sealant) to a patient's teeth
  • Assess a patient's overall oral health condition, including a health history review, oral cancer screening, head and neck inspection, and dental charting


Dentists are degreed clinicians who are devoted to providing the best oral care for their patients. Dentists diagnose and treat oral diseases and other oral health conditions.

Typically, dentists earn an undergraduate degree at college and then attend a DDS/DMD program at a dental school. It usually takes a dental student four years to graduate from a dentistry program.

Dentists often provide these patient services:

  • Perform dental procedures, including routine exams, dental crowns, tooth fillings, dental implants, inlays, onlays, tooth extractions, and corrective surgeries
  • Evaluates the general health of patients
  • Advises patients about oral health and disease prevention
  • Diagnoses and treats oral conditions
  • Detects oral cancer and other health conditions that may appear in the mouth before being noticed in other areas of the body
  • Treat oral health and detect diseases – including cardiovascular disease
  • Treat diseases of the soft tissue or bone inside the mouth

Whether it's performing dental restorative procedures or providing dental education, dental professionals are dedicated to providing the best oral care for their patients.

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This blog is designed to provide general information and discussions about health and dental-related subjects. No doctor/dentist to patient relationship is established by your use of this blog or website. We are not providing any treatment or diagnosis on this blog, and it is not intended to offer specific dental or medical advice to anyone. The information or other content provided in this blog is not a substitute for professional dental expertise or treatment. We will do our best to provide you with information that will help you make your own healthcare decisions, however no guarantees or warranties are made regarding any of the information contained within this blog. If you have questions about any of the information presented on this blog, you should consult with your dentist. The dentists at Advantage Dental+ are licensed to practice in the states of Alabama, Florida, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas and this blog is not intended to solicit patients from other states. External links may be provided on this blog as a service and convenience to our patients and other visitors to our blog. These external sites are created and maintained by other public and private organizations, and we do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance or timeliness of any outside information.

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Gary Allen, DMD, Advantage Dental Group, P.C. | James Thommes, DDS, Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Massachusetts, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health And Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Oklahoma, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Texas, P.C. | Cory White, DMD, Advantage Dental Oral Health and Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C. | John Clasen, OD, Advantage Dental Oral Health and Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C. | Neil Williams, DMD, Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Florida, PA