• Getting to Know Dental Assistants

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    August 9th, 2010adminarticles

    Often, it’s neither the dentist nor his accolades hanging on the wall that give us assurance that a procedure will go well. In most cases, it’s the ambiance of the dental office and the smile of the dental assistant that give us a good premonition of what’s going to happen in the treatment room.

    You’ll notice that a both newly-practicing and seasoned dentist always have dental assistant/s that are tasked to help them clean their tools as well as to accommodate patients in the waiting room. Being a dental assistant is no easy undertaking—some dentists are perfectionists and often hire mutually meticulous assistants in their office to safekeep both the dental apparati and the reputation of the dental clinic.

    Being a dental assistant also means adhering to the strict standards set by the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) aim to maintain a safe and infection-free environment inside the clinic for both the dental health workers’ and patients’ sakes.

    In line with this, the basic and preemptive tasks a dental assistant is required to do are:

    • Prepares/briefs the patient before a check-up or treatment is about to take place. The assistant is also tasked with filing the dental records of the patient and picking them out upon the request of the dentist.
    • Be present inside the treatment room if the dentist requires help with the instruments and equipment.
    • After a procedure, handles charting responsibilities and recordkeeping of patient’s history file.
    • Also tasked with taking the blood pressure of a traumatized, ill or elderly patient.
    • Cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing surfaces, instruments and equipment inside the treatment room.
    • Properly labeling chemicals, medicine and other instruments, as well as keeping track of the individual expiration dates of these items.
    • Maintaining aesthetics and functionality inside the treatment room—because the dentist should not trip over or accidentally hit any instruments. Slip-ups may impede an ongoing treatment/operation.
    • In cases of dental emergencies, the dental assistant, if not asked to be on standby, should keenly assist the dentist in treating/assisting the patient and should also be well-aware of protocols during these emergencies to avoid conflicts of interest with the dentist.
    • Processes, exposes and helps analyze dental X-rays.
    • Takes teeth impressions by administering the patient on how to bite a dental mold.
    • Helps in instructing the patient about postoperative procedures and precautions.

    Some states (like Texas) and other countries require the dental assistant to undergo a licensure examination for the latter to become a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA).

    Presumptively, a dental assistant may be fresh graduate dentist who wants to gain firsthand experience on actual dental procedures before embarking in setting up his/her own dental clinic. Other dental assistants are sometimes relatives or close friends of dentists whom the latter can entrust their practice with.

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