Dental Assistants are members of the dental group responsible for performing dental procedures. They can help a dentist in providing efficient dental care. Dental Assistants are distinguished by different roles, training, patient scopes, and areas of responsibility. You should be aware of them so that you can recognize the duties of a dental assistant.
The job of a dental assistant may include giving fluoride treatment to teeth and preparing cavity fillings. They use sterilized instruments to remove decayed or yellowed teeth. These instruments may be over-the-counter or prescribed by the dentist. Dental Assistants are employed in dentists’ offices, hospitals, clinics, private practices, and the public health sector. A median annual salary for these occupations is $15 an hour.
Dentists work full-time day in clinic but may work part time within the dental office premises. They can work as dental assistants in clinics where they have to assist the dentist with patient care. The majority of them can work part time when the clinic is closed for the day or weekend. A typical dentist has many assistants whom he has recruited through advertisements in newspapers, on bulletin boards and at fairs.
Dental Assistants are employed in dental offices where they perform the tasks of applying polish, coloring, applying acrylic sutures, coronal polishing, bonding, filing, making castings, preparing teeth charts, preparing permanent cosmetic dentistry tools, taking X-rays, lab work, preparing dental trays, and assisting the dentist during the clinical phase. Some DAs are employed in laboratory dentistry where they work closely with the technicians and the dentists. Other dental assistants work closely with the laboratory technicians where they prepare materials for the final impressions.
The duties and responsibilities of a registered dental assistant vary according to the size of the clinic in which he works. An average size dental practice has DAs who performs most of the general patient care such as taking a patient’s x-rays, preparing dental charts, repairing fractured or broken tooth, cleaning teeth, and making temporary crowns or temporary veneers. More specialized tasks may be assigned to them by the dentist depending upon the requirements of the patient. DAs need to complete their formal training program which usually last between two and four years.
Some of the subjects that are covered in dental assistant training programs are professional ethics, dental procedures, dental administration, physiology, anatomy, medical terminology, lab procedures, dental office procedures, record keeping, laboratory procedures, patient service, advertising for dentists, office procedures, bookkeeping, office management, billing, insurance, bookkeeping, and accounting. Many Dental Assistant Schools also offer programs that give you an overview of the career options after completing the course. Most programs are residential in nature, though some offer distance education opportunities also. Most dental assistants who have completed their systems go on to obtain a CDA status within their state.
Many dentists and dental offices prefer to hire dental assistants who have taken advanced courses. These dental assistants usually work under the guidance of a senior dentist department. Some dental hygienists who also have assistants also conduct their own private practices. The hygienists also conduct private practice and help to train the new dental assistants.
There are several possible avenues to becoming a dental assistant. You can take up a job as a dental assistant in a clinic if there is one in your locality. This will give you the chance to get some experience working with patients and with the dentist. If you have decided to take up a formal education route, you need to ensure that you complete a four-year college or an equivalent vocational course which should have some general subjects covered.