In a dentist office, patients may only recognize the jobs done by the hygienist, the dentist and those at the front desk. However, there is one more person behind the scenes that helps get things done. A dental assistant aids both the dentist and hygienist in their respective jobs, while completing additional tasks around the office. Here are five things you may not have realized they do:
1. Maintenance of tools
One of the main responsibilities the students learn at college is how to care for and maintain the tools that hygienists and dentists use. They make sure all the tools are properly cleaned and sterilized before and after each patient. They also must make sure the tools are functioning properly before laying them out. Dental assisting colleges also teach students to assist doctors during root canals and cavity filings.
2. Patient Interaction
When patients enter the office, they may have questions about certain procedures. Students learn to answer these questions in college. While patients go through procedures, they keep them calm by preparing them for what will happen next. Dental assisting college also shows students how to read people, so they can be ready to calm them down and put their worries at ease.
Dental assisting college graduates make impressions for crowns and molds. From beginning to end, they are responsible for mixing molds, inserting them into the patient's mouth and taking them out to harden. Mixing the molds is an important step that leaves room for no error. This is why they must graduate from an American Dental Association certified college. It is only through these colleges that they can become Registered Dental Assistant, or an an RDA.
In many states RDA's must have a separate college certificate that allows them to take and develop x-rays. A dental radiographic certificate means that the dental assistant has gone to college to learn the safety techniques that apply to radiographic images.
While some of the previously mentioned tasks may require additional certificates or college courses, almost all dental assistants are responsible for managing patient files. When a patient comes to visit, it is the responsibility of the assistant to write down with the dentist dictates, whether that be future treatments or patient information. In some cases, assistants will be asked to perform other front desk duties such as answer phones, ordering new supplies and taking inventory.
The work in a dental office runs with the behind-the-scenes help of RDAs. If you're interested in becoming an RDA, check out a ADA certified college to get started today.