When many people go to see the dentist, they often don’t spend much time in the company of the dentist alone.
Usually, they spend more time with the dentist’s assistant than with the dentist.
What does a dental assistant do, though? Is their job to hand instruments to the dentist, much like a surgical assistant? While that is part of the job, and the part that the patient is most likely to be aware of, that is not all there is to the job.
In general, dental assistants provide technical, administrative, and even interpersonal assistance to help the dentist not only to work with patients during visits, but to develop a decent working relationship with them when they come into the office.
Here are just a few tasks that the average dental assistant might perform on any given day.
The first person that one will generally encounter when they walk into a dentist’s office is usually a receptionist/administrative assistant. While this job can be filled by almost anyone, it is often filled by a dental assistant.
In this capacity, an assistant may spend a lot of time in contact with various patients for the office. They call and schedule customer appointments, ensure that recommendations are made for continuing care for the customer’s teeth, and similar tasks. They might also do the billing work and talk to insurance representatives concerning payment.
While this may not sound important, it is really one of the most important parts of running a dentist’s office. Perhaps being an administrative worker may not be what may dental assistants dreamed of when learning their trade, but the work they do behind the counter, seated at a computer, is invaluable.
In order to keep dental costs low, dental assistants usually do a lot of the work that requires less training and knowledge than someone with a doctorate has received.
Due to this fact, it is the dental assistant who is usually the first one to interact with the vast majority of patients.
Before the patient ever meets with the dentist, the dental assistant can be in the room with them, whether they’re receiving a root canal or simply coming in for a routine cleaning. The assistant can work to prepare the customer for their procedure. Most often, they will ask about any sort of allergies, as well as other medical history questions.
However, arguably the most important thing that the dental assistant may do in the course of their daily duties is to help keep the patient calm. Few people enjoy going to the dentist, and the prospect of having a drill pierce a tooth to fix a cavity is not a pleasant one.
A great dental assistant can help assuage the fears of the patients, and ensure that they remain calm throughout the procedure.
While that may not sound like a big deal to some, it is much easier to perform any sort of procedure on a person who is calm than it is on a person who is fretting and worried about the pain.
No discussion of dental assistant duties would be complete without talking about the technical assistance they provide in the course of their day. Indeed, arguably chief among dental assistant responsibilities is rendering aid to the dentist themselves.
A dental assistant generally spends most of their time helping the dentist to perform various procedures, from numbing the patient’s gums passing the dentist instruments, while also doing their best to ensure that the patient is calm while in the chair.
A good dental assistant should be able to help the dentist immensely, acting as a second pair of hands and a relief during longer procedures that can cause muscle fatigue.
Becoming a Dental Assistant
To become a dental assistant, one does not need to do anything other than show a willingness to learn and a desire to help make smiles brighter. However, the things that a dental assistant can do are extremely limited if they do not invest in training and certification.
With the help of a course, such as the one offered online at Stratford Career Institute, a prospective dental assistant can learn a bit more about things like X-rays, coronal polishes, and other more advanced functions that they can help to serve in their office.
Explore Stratford’s Dental Assistant Online Course
If you’re looking for a rewarding new career, or you’re just looking to get a little further ahead in the world of a dental assisting, a good fundamental education can help you get started.
Enroll in the Dental Assistant Course today!
This educational program is an introductory course designed to help students gain knowledge necessary for the vocational application of this subject. Completion of a Stratford Career Institute program does not fulfill the legal requirements of particular state licenses or certifications, which may require additional training or apprenticeships.
Become a Dental Assistant
If you’re considering a career in the dental industry, enroll in Stratford’s Dental Assistant Course today.