Dental assistants have diverse roles and assume responsibility for scheduling appointments and maintaining records of patient care and x-rays. Dental assistants are in high demand and enjoy great working conditions and flexible working hours. Also, most training programs can be completed within 9-10 months, and financial support is provided to those who meet the qualification criteria. Here are some of the duties expected of the qualified dental assistant:
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Manufacturing of dental splints
A tray of sterilized instruments is usually required for each patient visiting the dentist's office. Part of the assistant's job is to carefully prepare the tray with the right set of sterilized and disinfected equipment and instruments. A variety of dental tools are available, and each dentist often has their preferred tools for working on the different procedures. Also, the dental assistant helps to prepare and provide any medication or other materials that the dentist may need.
Assist in procedures
Dental assistants work closely with the dentist during a procedure, making sure the patient is prepared and comfortable for the exam. They are involved in laying out the dental instruments, mixing cement, and transferring or collecting materials and instruments. It is crucial to work seamlessly with the dentist to ensure they have the right tools and materials. An assistant must work quickly and efficiently, especially when working with fast-drying materials such as those used to make fillings or similar processes. Other duties include applying anti-cavities to the teeth and anesthetics to the gums, removing sutures, and taking and processing X-rays.
Make patients feel comfortable
Almost 25% of all patients who visit the dentist are scared, nervous, or intimidated. An assistant who is a sociable person and has the right calming demeanor is sure to make them feel more comfortable. Helping a patient feel comfortable may include providing earplugs or blankets, explaining the intended dental procedure or instruments, or bringing a magazine. A calming influence is sure to help minimize levels of discomfort and stress.
Sterilization of cleaning rooms and instruments
One of the more important tasks is regular cleaning to keep the instruments and the operating room in a sterile and safe condition. The dentist's private or examination room must be cleaned and disinfected at regular intervals. The correct techniques must be learned to operate the autoclave and the ultrasonic cleaning machine. The cleaning methods for the different tools and equipment can also vary. It is necessary to understand both heat sterilization and cold sterilization practices for cleaning the various instruments.
A dental assistant can perform various tasks in the laboratory, including taking mouth impressions and plaster casts of teeth and taking orthodontic measurements. The polishing and cleaning of removable appliances such as prostheses and mouthguards also play an important role.
A dental assistant can also take on other tasks. For the small practice, the job role may include entering data into the computer system, making charts, ordering supplies, or similar other duties. A dental assistant can assist with post-operative instructions and general dental care. They can also help fill in data in the patient's record regarding procedures or diagnoses received. Office management duties may also include issuing bills and processing payments, retrieving patient records, answering phones, and greeting the arriving patient.