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A Day In The Life Of A Dental Assistant

Apr 18, 2008
Dental Assistants are very versatile. They are well trained in a variety of areas to properly assist Dentists and Hygienists perform quality dental work on all individuals. The duties will depend on the state regulations, the type of dental facility, and how that particular facility has their operations set up. Often the smaller the dental facility, the more types of duties the Dental Assistant will be trained in.

Typical Dental Assistant tasks include sterilizing instruments and setting up instrument trays. The proper cleansing and sterilizing of dental instruments is a detrimental part of providing quality service to all patients. Instrument trays are set up with the proper tools and equipment that can possibly be needed for a particular dental procedure. Dental Assistants get these materials together and in the area where the procedure will take place. This helps things run smoothly and allows the Dentist or Hygienist to remain focused on the procedure. It eliminates searching for each item as it is needed.

Dental Assistants often remain with the dentist or Hygienist during the procedures. They are responsible for suction and for handing the instruments to the other staff throughout the procedures. They are also there to offer instant assistance if an emergency arises during the procedure. In some dental facilities, the Dental Assistant will monitor the vital signs of all patients as well as administer local anesthetics.

Dental Assistants often help to make patients feel comfortable before, during, and after their procedures. They can offer a king word, help adjust lighting and chair position, and provide the patient with follow up information to care for their procedures. Dental Assistants are often asked to make phone calls and follow up on the recovery process for some patients after major procedures including root canals, bridges, and extractions.

It is common for Dental Assistants to perform X-rays and other lab procedures including castings for caps and bridges. They often talk to patients about their medical history and any types of communicable diseases. They discuss proper care after procedures to ensure patients do all they can to allow their procedures to heal properly. They may even call in prescriptions as a courtesy to patients.

Dental Assistants are trained in emergency procedures. While it is unlikely anything will go wrong in the dental office, occasionally it does. Some individuals suffer from an allergic reaction to the anesthetic and require medical attention. Others may swallow something and choke during a procedure. Other times a patient may stop breathing. Knowing CPR and properly monitoring vital signs are all valuable in a crisis situation in the medical facility.

As you can see, Dental Assistants are often trained in a wide variety of processes and procedures. This will help ensure they keep busy as well as add variety to their daily routine in the workplace. Dental Assistants must learn quickly as well as pay attention to details. Their role is very important to the overall functioning of the entire dental facility.

The duties of a Dental Assistant are constantly changing depending on the needs of the patients and changes in technology. It is important that Dental Assistants keep up on such changes. Often, their employer will require them to attend trainings, workshops, and seminars to keep up with all the changes and brush up in any areas necessary to provide the best possible services.
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