Air Force

Air Force Dental Assistant (4Y0X1): Career Details

Air Force Dental Assistant (4Y0X1) assist with the entire customer experience during dental visits.

Dental Assistants assist doctors with exams, procedures and surgeries.

They are there to ensure that each patient has the best experience possible.

This experience includes before, during and after their procedure or exam.

Education, Qualifications and Training

The required education, qualifications and training for an Air Force Dental Assistant is below.


This job requires a High School Diploma or GED.

Recruits must also meet the general ASVAB requirements for the Air Force.

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The qualifications for a Dental Assistant are:

  • Knowledge of oral and dental anatomy
  • Normal color vision
  • Between the ages of 17 and 39 (18 prior to technical training)
  • Completion of a minimum two-year American Dental Association-accredited degree awarding dental hygiene program


Air Force Dental Assistants will attend Basic Military Training for 8.5 weeks.

They will then go to Fort Sam Houston in Texas for 48 days of technical training.

What does an Air Force Dental Assistant Do?

Dental Assistant Air Force
Air Force Dental Assistant Trainee mixing medication. Image:

A Dental Assistant will help with all aspects of the customer experience.

Their main job function is to assist the Dentist in the treatment of patients.

This will begin with helping to schedule appointments and maintaining the information in the patient record/computer programming.

Dental Assistants will seat the patient and prep them for the dentist.

Preparing the patient can include taking vital signs, general cleaning and applying anticarcinogenic agents.

The Dental Assistant will also prep all equipment that the doctor may need.

Preparing equipment includes polishing restorations, adjusting machines, cleaning, lubricating and making adjustments.

The individual instruments will also be cleaned, sterilized and sharpened by the Dental Assistant. 

All equipment and instruments will be inspected by the Dental Assistant to ensure it is in proper working condition and meets all safety standards.

The Dental Assistant will conduct x-rays of the patient.

They will take, develop and mount x-rays.

Any adjustments too the radiographic machine or processing will be completed by the Dental Assistant. 

Dental Assistants will assist in any oral surgeries, periodontics and endodonics. 

These individuals are responsible for reviewing records for accuracy.

They will develop training programs and conduct self-assessments.

Dental Assistants will go over any outstanding patient issues with the dentist.

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They are responsible for ordering, maintaining and disposing of dental supplies.

After appointments, Dental Assistants will instruct patients on routine care practices and after-care for any procedures they completed.

After a surgery, Dental Assistants will prepare and discuss any patient discharge information.

When appointments, procedures and surgeries are complete, the Dental Assistant will help the patient schedule any follow up appointments.

These airman can also help out and report in emergency situations.

This is a position that may give you the availability to have more structured hours unless you are deployed or an emergency takes place.

What is the Pay for an Air Force Dental Assistant?

Air Force Dental
Air Force Dental Assistants trainees. Image:

An Air Force Dental Assistant will make the same base pay as other individuals in the Air Force with the same rank and years of service.

You can see the pay table for the Air Force below.

InsigniaPay GradeRankAbbreviation2023 Minimum Monthly Pay
E-1 +4 monthsAirman BasicAB$1,917.60
airman first class smallE-3Airman First ClassA1C$2,259.90
E-4Senior AirmanSrA$2,503.50
E-5Staff SergeantSSgt$2,730.30
air force e 6 insigniaE-6Technical SergeantTSgt$2,980.50
E-7Master SergeantMSgt$3,445.80
E-8Senior Master SergeantSMSgt$4,957.20
E-9Chief Master SergeantCMSgt$6,055.50
command chief master sergeant insig smallE-9Command Chief Master SergeantCCM$6,055.50
chief master sergeant of the air force insigE-9Chief Master Sergeant Of The Air ForceCMSAF$6,055.50


The benefits that airmen receive on top of their base pay are very generous and can be what sometimes attracts in individual to join.

Benefits include:

  • Insurance: Free or low cost medical and dental insurance, paid sick time and low-cost life insurance
  • Housing: Living expenses that includes utilities and maintenance
  • Food: Food allowance for the on-base dining hall with access to tax-free department and grocery stores
  • Retirement: Available after 20 years of service at no cost
  • Education: Up to 100% tuition coverage with the Air Force Tuition Assistance program, the Post-9/11 GI Bill or Montgomery GI Bill
  • Recreation: Recreation facilities, social activities, youth activities and centers available on base

You can find the information above along with more information regarding benefits on the Air Force website here.

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Job Reviews

Positive reviews of this position include the benefits that the Air Force offers.

Previous or current Air Force Dental Assistants state that the medical, dental and education assistance options are the top benefits of joining.

They also mentioned that the skills that are learned in training and through experience are very valuable.

Negative reviews of this position include having to move frequently. 

Individuals also mentioned that it can be hard to get promotions and the opportunity for growth being dependent upon your leaders.

Here are a few reviews from Air Force Dental Assistants:

AF Dental Assistant
Image: Glassdoor
Air Force Dental Assistant
Image: Glassdoor

Civilian Job Opportunities

The skills learned as an Air Force Dental Assistant will allow individuals to be Dental Assistants in the civilian sector.

Dental Assistant positions are generally in high-demand.

The salary range can vary drastically depending on the geographical area you work in and the location you work in.

The experience and training that airmen receive generally allows individuals to be on the higher side of a pay range.


Air Force Dental Assistants assist the dentist with all aspects of appointments, procedures and surgeries.

These individuals are responsible for everything from appointment setting and patient charting to completing x-rays.

Requirements include a High School Diploma and knowledge of both oral and dental anatomy.

After Basic Training, individuals will go to Fort Sam Houston for technical training.

The Air Force offers steady pay and exceptional benefits.

Dental Assistant experience will directly relate to a civilian Dental Assistant position once you complete your service.

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Air Force Dental Assistant

Rob V.
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Originally posted on 09/09/19

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