Obtain dental hygienist benefits

The training occupation “Dental Specialist” (ZMFA or ZFA for short) was known until 2001 as “Dental Assistant”. However, the job description has evolved.
Dental assistants take on numerous tasks. You assist the dentist in treating patients and carry out prophylactic measures yourself. They also ensure that the practice processes run smoothly. Your core tasks are patient care and practice organization. This makes them indispensable in every dental practice.
As a dental assistant

  • you will first go through a 3-year dual training course.
  • you need excellent people skills and empathy.

Dental Assistants: Duties and Responsibilities

Dental professionals work with people all day. Primarily they assist in the examination and treatment Of the patients. They also perform the following tasks:

  • Prepare treatment rooms
  • Hand out instruments during treatment
  • Carry out prophylactic measures (e.g. professional teeth cleaning)
  • Do smaller laboratory work (e.g. pour dental impressions with plaster of paris)
  • Clean, maintain and disinfect instruments and equipment
  • Document the test results

In addition, ZFA are the first point of contact for patients and administrative issues. They make appointments, provide information on the phone and are the contact person in the practice. Tasks in the administration of the practice also belong to the range of tasks:

  • Office and administrative activities
  • Organize work processes in practice
  • Order practice material
  • Issue prescriptions
  • Do settlements

Requirements for dental assistants

A specific school leaving certificate is not required for training as a dental assistant. Potential trainees usually have a secondary school diploma or a high school diploma. But you can also start training as a ZFA with a secondary school leaving certificate.
There are no specific formal requirements for the ZFA training. If you choose the profession, you will need the following personal requirements:

  • Enjoy dealing with people
  • Communicative nature and friendliness
  • Interest in medical topics
  • Reliability and neatness
  • Having fun helping and assisting
  • Confidentiality regarding patient matters

As a ZFA, you come into close contact with many people on a daily basis. They receive the patients and advise them on oral hygiene. During the treatment itself, dental assistants are always at the side of the dentist and the patient. They take the fear of going to the dentist away from small and large patients.

Dental assistants: training

The training for dental assistants takes longer overall 3 years and is dual organized. So it takes place in the vocational school and in the dental practice. With good performance or suitable previous education (e.g. Abitur), the ZFA training is often shortened to 2.5 years. Halfway through the apprenticeship period, you will take an intermediate examination to prove the knowledge and skills you have acquired up to then. The training ends with a written and a practical final exam. You take all exams in front of the responsible dental association.

Course content during the training to become a dental assistant

In the "Ordinance on Vocational Training for Dental Specialist Employees (ZFA)", the content of the training course is precisely regulated. On the schedule are above all the Dealing with patients, the Practice organization and the Dental assistance. You will also learn how to ensure practice hygiene, help in emergencies or create accounts.

In your 1st year of training acquire the basic knowledge about your future field of activity. You will familiarize yourself with typical processes:

  • Receive and care for patients
  • Ensure practice hygiene
  • Accompany caries therapy and root canal treatments
  • Prepare bills for statutory health insurances

During the 2nd year of training deepen your skills and knowledge in the following areas:

  • Organize practice and treatment processes
  • Provide assistance in emergency situations
  • Accompany surgical treatments
  • Procure, store and manage materials and materials

The 3rd year of training rounds off your comprehensive training. You will acquire knowledge about other forms of treatment and become even more confident in organizing the practice. You will learn how to:

  • Accompany the treatment of diseases of the gums and the oral cavity
  • Prepare X-ray and radiation protection measures
  • Perform prophylactic treatments
  • Support patients in handling their dentures

The lessons in the vocational school convey the technical basics for the profession. When working in the dental practice or clinic, you apply what you have learned in practice.

Dental staff working environment

After completing their training, there are dental assistants Employment in dental practices or in orthodontic, oral and maxillofacial surgery practices. ZFA also work in Dental clinics, University institutes for dentistry, oral medicine and maxillofacial medicine and Health authorities.

Dental assistant: salary

How high the salary for dental assistants is cannot be said in general terms. The amount of the salary varies regionally and between employers. In general, employers and employees freely negotiate the salary for ZFA. In Hesse, Saarland, Hamburg and North Rhine-Westphalia, a collective wage agreement applies as a guide.
The training salary for dental assistants is therefore regulated differently from region to region. As a general rule it increases with the years of training. In federal states with collective bargaining agreements, dental assistants receive staggered remuneration: € 800 in the 1st year of training, € 840 in the 2nd and € 900 in the 3rd year of training.
When measuring salaries, the collective agreement takes into account the number of years of service and the extent of the advanced training measures. The monthly collectively agreed salary is included up to the 3rd year of employment 1.800 €. Depending on the employer and region, dental professionals earn up to 3.000 €.


The basic requirement for training as a dental assistant is to enjoy working with people. As the “right hand” of the dentist assist you with all examinations and treatments. This includes looking after and reassuring patients of all ages. In addition document test results and clean instruments and equipment. The range of tasks also extends to Administrative tasks. Organizing the practice is one of the daily tasks of dental assistants. You assign appointments, write prescriptions and coordinate the practice processes.
Dental professionals are therefore employed first point of contact for patients and the figurehead of a dental practice. Friendliness and commitment are therefore fundamental personal requirements. As a future dental assistant, you will take on a crisis-proof profession and help to make the treatments and everyday practice as pleasant as possible.