Dr. C. Edmund Kells of New Orleans, U.S.A., hired the first Dental Assistant in 1855. Kells hired a woman as a “Lady in Attendance”, so that female patients could respectably come to his office unattended.
It was found that these individuals could be enlisted to perform routine dental office chores in the operatory as well as in the business office. Dental Assistant continue to serve as office helpers until World War II, when there was a crucial shortage of labour to meet the demand of dental care for military personals.
Thus, the Dental Assistant were used in the history of dentistry in the military units, where assistants were trained to work at chairside as an attempt to improve the dental care productivity.
Dentists, who trained and worked with the Assistants in the military, retained the concepts of use of auxiliary staff on returning to the civilian practice. So, the concept of involvement of Dental Surgery assistant in actual chairside work came into the existence.
Dental assisting has experienced a number of significant changes in more recent years. The first major change in history of dentistry was in l960s with the advent of four-handed, sit-down dentistry, which necessitated that a Dental Assistant be actively employed in the delivery of patient care.
Operator design and the use of work simplification principals were introduced to make more efficient working environment, with necessary involvement of the DSA.
In 1961, the U.S. Government also granted the programme to train the dental students to work using the concept of four-handed dentistry. Since then the profession of the DSA got formal approval to be an important part of the Dental Assistant Profession as an auxiliary staff.