Dental Assistant Job Description

Dental health has expanded in importance in recent years. There have been many studies connecting good dental health with good overall health. While this relationship may not be causative, it does demonstrate that people value dental health more than ever. There are an expanding number of job titles in the dental profession. There are dentists, periodontists, oral surgeons, and orthodontists. There are titles in dental administration, insurance billing, and office management. There are also support staff titles, like dental assistants, oral surgery assistants, and dental assistants. When considering which dental health job appeals most to you, it is important to understand the job description of different job titles. Following is a dental assistant job description.

Dental assistants perform many tasks that support the work of dentists, dental hygienists, and specialists. One of their primary responsibilities is preparing materials for the primary caregivers. They make sure that dental supplies are plentiful and within easy reach. They maintain and sterilize equipment for upcoming procedures. They clean and restock procedure areas after a patient leaves.

A dental assistant job description will include patient care responsibilities. For this part of the job, they must communicate effectively and professionally. They may work with any age or demographic. They often help interview patients about problems and discomfort with their teeth. They usually have the primary responsibility of taking x-rays of a patientís teeth. They must learn how to use the latest x-ray equipment and know the proper safety precautions for patients and themselves. They must be able to recognize problems and inconsistencies in x-ray images. They transport patients to different stations in the dental office and communicate with them about what to expect. Finally, the dental assistant job description includes teeth-cleaning responsibilities. After a dentist is done with a procedure, it often falls to the dental assistant to floss and polish the patientís teeth. They sometimes administer a fluoride cleaning. Dental assistants might review proper flossing and brushing techniques with patients that seem to be failing in their personal dental hygiene.

There are, of course, chair-side assisting duties in the dental assistant job description. During a procedure a dental assistant must be ready to hand dental tools and materials to the dentist or specialist. Often they use some of the tools themselves to help keep patientsí mouths clear and dry. Some of the chair-side duties include administrative functions. Dental assistants often fill out a patientís chart based on the observations of the dentist or specialist. They must be current on vocabulary and medical terms used by dentists to catalogue and identify teeth and dental problems.

Dental assistants also have reporting and recording duties. Aside from the administrative duties involved in interviewing patients and assisting chair-side, there are records to keep. Dental billing involves not only procedures, but also the medicines and materials used in the procedure. Dental assistants must keep track of the materials used and also the materials in stock, not just for ordering new supplies, but also for monitoring workplace safety. Their reporting duties are necessary for insurance claims as well.

Dental assistants work in public and private institutions. Their duties vary depending on the type of employer they work for. Working for public and government run institutions could actually mean an earnings advantage for dental assistants. Such positions might include a bigger administrative load. The majority of dental assistants are employed in private dentistsí offices. There is a lot of job training to be had, in addition to a dental assistantís formal education, as many offices have extra rules and procedures above and beyond what is required by industry regulators.

Last Updated: 05/22/2014