What is a Dental Assistant?
Dental Assistants greatly increase the efficiency of the dentist in the delivery of quality oral health care and are valuable members of the dental care team. If you have strong communication skills, enjoy working with your hands as well as your mind, and want a career with responsibility- Dental Assisting is for you.
The duties of a dental assistant are among the most comprehensive and varied in the dental office. The dental assistant performs many tasks requiring both interpersonal and technical skills. Although state regulations vary, responsibilities may include:
- Assisting the dentist during a variety of treatment procedures.
- Taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays).
- Asking about the patient's medical history.
- Serving as an infection control officer, knowledge of infection control protocol, preparing, and sterilizing instruments and equipment.
- Helping patients feel comfortable before, during, and after a dental treatment/procedure.
- Providing patients with instructions for oral care following surgery or other dental treatment procedures, such as the placement of a restoration (filling).
- Teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health; (e.g., tooth brushing, flossing, and nutritional counseling).
- Taking impressions of patients' teeth for study cases (models of teeth).
- Performing office management tasks that often require the use of a personal computer.
- Communicating with patients and suppliers (e.g., scheduling appointments, answering the telephone, billing, and ordering supplies).
- Helping to provide direct patient care in all dental specialties, including orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and oral surgery.