Why are Dental Assistants in Such High Demand?

When you head to the dentist's office for your semi-annual checkup, the person you'll be spending the majority of your time with probably won't be the dentist - it will be their hardworking and passionate dental assistant. Dental assistants also happen to be in an incredibly high demand in Indiana in particular for a wide range of different reasons that are more than worth exploring. 

What is a Dental Assistant?


Dental assistants are the men and women who prepare a patient for treatment and perform other essential functions like:

  • Assisting the doctor with the restoration of caries and the fabrication of provisional crowns, veneers, and implants.
  • Sterilization of instruments.
  • Holding and Securing All Suction Devices
  • Properly exposing dental radiographs.
  • Taking Impressions

Dental assistants are important because they act as an extra pair of hands at all times. This allows the doctor to focus his attention on the minor details that matter the most when a procedure is being performed. When the dentist and assistant can work cohesively to accomplish a task, the highest level of care is performed which in turn provides the best patient satisfaction.  

The Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for dental assistants between 2014 and 2024 the field is projected to grow at a rate of about 18% per year nationwide - much faster than the national average for all other similar professions. Within the ten year period, 58,000+ new openings for dental assistants are expected to be created across the country.

The occupational demand for Indiana, in particular, is also growing at a similar rate. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development estimates that between 2010 and 2020, the number of dental assistants will increase by 2.9% from 5,764 to 7,642. To put that into perspective, ALL other occupations in the state have an average growth rate of just 1.3%.

In the state of Indiana, dental assistants can expect to earn a median hourly wage of about $17.11. Hourly wages typically begin at around $12 and can go up to $23 per hour or more depending on the circumstances. According to one study, the vast majority of dental assistants in the state of Indiana are full-time employees, coming in at around 69%. The remaining 31% are part-time workers.

This rate will vary depending on experience when you begin your job search, as well as your practice location in the state of Indiana. One study puts the average wage of an entry-level dental assistant in Indianapolis at $14.48 per hour. 

Part of the reason why dental assistants are so highly demanded nationally and in Indiana has to do with an increasing emphasis on preventative dental services. As healthcare in the United States continues to improve, most fields are shifting from a reactionary model to a much more proactive one. As insurance plans begin to cover dental services and as people place a higher weight on their oral health in general, more people are going to be visiting their local dentists' offices than ever before. As a result, trained and experienced dental assistants are going to become more necessary (and by association more valuable) over time.

If you'd like to find out more information about why dental assistants are in such high demand in Indiana and learn more about the experience here, please contact us below..