Chairside Heroes: Dental Assistants
Feb. 24, 2015
The next time you open your mouth for your dental assistant, remember to thank that person for his or her dedicated service. March 1-7 is Dental Assistants Recognition Week, when those who encourage you to brush and floss your way to better dental health are honored.
Much more than an assistant
Dental assistants contribute much more to the mission of dental health than you might realize. Besides telling you to “open wider,” dental assistants support dentists and patients in many technical functions as an important communications liaison in the dentist-patient relationship. Responsibilities can include:
- Supporting the dentist during dental treatments and oral surgery
- Taking and developing dental X-rays
- Completing patient intake process, including asking about medical history and taking blood pressure and pulse
- Functioning as an infection prevention specialist through the sterilization of instruments and equipment and standardizing infection prevention through a developed protocol
- Ensuring patient comfort before, during and after dental treatments and surgery
- Instructing patients in oral care following treatment and surgery
- Educating patients in preventive strategies for maintaining oral health, e.g., tooth brushing, flossing, nutritional guidance, etc.
- Taking impressions of patients’ teeth as study casts
- Mixing materials for teeth casts in some offices
- Applying special treatments, such as topical anesthetic to gums or cavity preventive substance to teeth
- Serving as an office manager, utilizing a variety of software applications and office equipment
- Client service communications support through scheduling appointments, answering the office telephone, processing billing requests and paperwork, and ordering supplies
- Providing direct patient care across all dental specialties, including orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and oral surgery
A rewarding profession
Though there is only one week officially dedicated to those who provide such comprehensive support in dental office settings, there is daily satisfaction visible in the healthy smiles of every dental patient served.
Want to know more? Delve deeper into the world of dental assisting through the sources listed below.