What Do Dental Assistants Wear?


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When you walk into a dental office, you may not immediately recognize who there is a dental assistant, dental hygienist, or even the dentist themselves, but with one glance, you can tell who works in the office and is prepared to help you feel comfortable and taken care of throughout your appointment.


The right uniform makes a difference, especially within the healthcare industry. It helps patients identify the providers, and because so many professionals in healthcare positions wear the same outfit, it sends a signal to patients that this person can be trusted.


While the exact uniform may vary from one office to the next, most dental assistants wear the same basic outfit to work each day. If you are curious about what that is, let’s take a closer look at what dental assistants wear to work.


Before we do that, if you're interested in becoming a Dental Assistant, consider enrolling in UEI College's Dental Assistant Program. The program is short-term, allowing you to earn a Dental Assistant Diploma in as few as 10 Months!

What Do Dental Assistants Wear to Work?

Dental assistants usually wear scrubs to work. Scrubs are simple, professional-looking outfits made of light, breathable fabric that is durable and easily washed and dried. Scrubs are made with short sleeves and a v-neck design, and the pants are tied with a drawstring. Some people choose to wear a long sleeve shirt underneath for some added warmth.


Dental assistants are often on the move, greeting patients at the front desk, getting patients settled in the dental chair, restocking supplies, and helping dentists with chairside assistance. All of this movement requires a uniform that is functional and can withstand lots of wear and tear.

What Do Dental Assistants Wear to School?

During training, dental assistants should practice every part of working in the field, including wearing the uniform. Most training programs require students to wear scrubs to class each day. This not only allows students to get used to wearing scrubs but also allows them to practice taking them home and washing them, and caring for them as a professional uniform.

Why Do Dental Assistants Wear Scrubs?

Dental assistants wear scrubs for several reasons. The two top reasons that dental assistants wear scrubs are because scrubs are easy to work in, and they help to identify the dental assistant as part of the staff at the office.


Scrubs are the uniform of choice for those working in healthcare fields because they are easy and comfortable to move around in, they provide the coverage needed, and they clean easily. The short sleeves and v-neck make scrubs comfortable enough to move around in easily. This is helpful when doing the bending, lifting, and maneuvering that dental assistants do.


Scrubs are also durable enough to handle being cleaned often, and when you are working in a dental office with saliva and other bodily fluids, it’s necessary to wash your uniform after each shift. Scrubs are designed to hold up to this kind of constant washing.


The most important reason why dental assistants wear scrubs is that it helps to identify them as trained members of the dental team. A dental assistant helps with several tasks around the office, and their professional scrubs send an unofficial signal to patients in the office that they are there to help.

How Much Do Dental Assistant Scrubs Cost?

The price of scrubs can range anywhere from $20 to $60, depending on the vendor. Scrubs that claim to be wrinkle, fade, or stain resistant may be more costly. Some scrubs offer extra pockets, different colors, or higher quality and more stretchy fabric. The best way to select scrubs is by reading reviews and possibly buying one set of a few different kinds to test how they work for you.


Some employers will provide scrubs, while others expect employees to get their own. Some offices may require dental assistants to wear a specific color, while others are more flexible.

Can Dental Assistants Wear Jewelry?

Dental assistants may wear minimal jewelry while working but a good rule to keep in mind is that less is more. Dental assistants are often required to wear gloves to do their job. It is easier and more sanitary to get gloves on and off if no rings are worn. Small necklaces or earrings may not get in the way of everyday tasks but they may be distracting if they dangle or make noise when moving.


It’s important to keep in mind that even minimal jewelry can harbor bacteria that could be passed on to patients. Most employers would prefer that dental assistants do not wear jewelry while assisting chairside.

What Kind of Shoes Do Dental Assistants Wear?

Dental assistants may wear close-toed shoes that are comfortable to move around in. Again, some offices may have more strict policies on the exact type of shoes to be worn. Neutral or solid colors like black and white are preferable. Dental assistants may spend long hours on their feet and may be working around many different tools and bodily fluids. Closed-toed shoes that are comfortable to wear all day are preferred for Dental Assistants.

Can Dental Assistants Have Long Nails?

Dental assistants cannot have long nails. A dental assistant’s hands may come in close contact with patients and so above-average hygiene is vital. Long nails provide a hiding spot for harmful bacteria that can be dangerous for patients. An important part of a dental assistant’s job is sanitizing equipment, and it may be difficult to sanitize with long nails thoroughly. Using sanitizing chemicals with long nails can also have negative side effects for the dental assistant.


Long nails also make it very difficult to handle the tools and equipment that dental assistants work with. Even when a dental assistant is wearing gloves, long nails can make doing their job a little more difficult. If you are thinking about becoming a dental assistant, it’s a good idea to get used to having short, clean nails now.

Can Dental Assistants Wear Makeup?

Dental assistants can wear makeup, but the same rule of less is more should be applied. Too much makeup may be distracting and may not be sanitary for patients that dental assistants are in close contact with. Everyone wants to look nice, but too much makeup may have the potential to come off as unprofessional.

How to Conduct Yourself As a Dental Assistant?

Dental assistants are the backbone of a dental practice and often become the face of the practice as well. They are the ones to greet patients as they enter the office and ensure the office is a clean and comfortable place to be. Dental assistants also play an important role in working alongside the dentist and making sure they have the tools and equipment they need to make a procedure as painless as possible.


No matter the task a dental assistant performs, their conduct should be professional and ethical. They should be respectful of the different personalities and cultures that enter the office and strive to provide the best customer service.


When a dental assistant is in the right uniform, it helps contribute to the professional image they should be displaying.

Become a Dental Assistant with UEI College

If you dream of a career where you can wear scrubs and play a part in helping people smile, becoming a dental assistant may be a good fit for you. Give us a call today to take a tour of the UEI College campus nearest you and to see if becoming a dental assistant is the best path for you.


Financial aid is available to those who qualify, and classes are starting soon!


Check out UEI College's Dental Assisting Program!