A dental assistant’s job is to help the dentist in the field of performing dental procedures and also in providing preventative care. A dental assistant will usually work under the guidance of a licensed dentist. The dental assisting professionals are also responsible for providing services for hygienists, dentists, psychiatrists, podiatrists, surgeons and other allied health professionals. They assist the dentist by making necessary repairs to the patient’s teeth or assisting the dentist in his work. They also provide basic care such as taking and developing x-rays, sterilizing instruments and preparing patients for dental procedures.
Dental Assistants are required to have a high school diploma or a GED to work in the field. Many of these assistants begin their careers as dental assistants who train on the job. Others continue their education by earning an associate degree from a vocational-technical high school. Others complete an eight-month residency in a dental college. Upon completion of the training program, most dental assisting graduates go on to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree.
As a dental assistant, you would be responsible for the routine duties related to the office of a dentist. These include preparing patients for dental procedures and collecting x-rays and relevant materials. Other tasks may include applying polish and removing stains on the patient’s teeth. You may also be asked to assist the dentist by using your hands in certain procedures such as picking the fillings, maintaining appropriate appointments and recording vital signs of the patients. The primary responsibility of a dental assisting professional is to make sure that all of the patients are properly groomed before their first dental visit and that they take their x-rays and other important materials home with them. Assistants are also responsible for maintaining the cleaning supplies in the practice.
Most dental assistants receive some amount of job security because the job usually has stable salary ranges and benefits. However, it is still possible for assistants to experience layoff at anytime during their employment since more dentists are now outsourcing some of their minor cosmetic procedures to third party dental offices. This has led to a sharp decline in the number of qualified applicants entering the field. Fortunately, most dentists are able to find competent assistants who are eager to work with them.
A typical day of duty for a dental assistant is similar to that of the day of the dentist. The duties of a dental assisting professional also include administrative tasks, although these would differ depending on the size of the office and the dentist’s staff. Regardless of whether the job takes place in a small dental office or in a large dental facility, the job of a dental assistant does not necessarily involve the same set of physical tasks as that of a dental hygienist. In other words, a dental assisting job description would likely make little mention of cleaning the patient’s mouth or performing any form of minor cosmetic procedure.
In addition, unlike dental assistants, hygienists have to perform tasks beyond simple tooth brushing. They must be responsible for performing oral surgery such as root canals and bridges, taking x-rays, making molds of teeth, and more. As you can see, dental assistants are not responsible for treating patients as they would be if they were working in a dentist’s office. However, many dental hygienists enjoy the fact that their job involves far more than simply being a patient’s dentist.