Dental Assistant Overview
From the moment a patient walks through the door, dental assistants are there to assist in the delivery of quality oral health care and are valuable members of the dental care team. They coordinate care and information between the dentist, patient, and front office staff to ensure patients are treated well and the practice runs smoothly. When the dentist is working on the patient, assistants are often standing by, providing tools and materials to assist the dentist during a variety of treatment procedures.
Dental assistants must have a strong foundation in the fundamental areas of dental assisting including: radiographic, clinical and administrative procedures. Depending on the office, state regulations and preferences of the dentist, assistants play a larger clinical or administrative role.
On any given day, dental assistants can be found in the lab, office area, or treatment area. Assistants are trusted with patient information and medical records, taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays), taking impressions of patients' teeth and teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health. In addition the dental assistant performs office management tasks that often require the use of a personal computer.
Strong communication skills and professionalism ensure the dental assistant with a rewarding job in a growing health care career.