Dental assistants are the backbone in dentist offices around the world! From office management to assisting in dental procedures, there are plenty of reasons why we appreciate dental assistants.
What is a dental assistant?
Dental assistants help dental offices run smoothly. Most dental assistants schedule appointments, keep patient records, help with x-rays and perform tasks around the office such as sterilizing rooms and tools. Dental assistants are very involved in patient care and make sure patients are comfortable during their visit.
Common dental assistant tasks
Before you ever sit in the dentist chair, the dental assistant has been hard at work preparing the space for your appointment. This includes cleaning anything left over from a previous appointment, setting out the instruments that will be used and other preparations based on the needs of the patient. Once the patient has completed their appointment and left the office, the process starts all over again for every new incoming patient.
The dental assistant typically begins an appointment by taking the patient to the examination room and discussing their needs. Next, they may take radiographs (x-rays) and other assessments that the dentist needs. The assistant helps the dentist with tasks during the appointment including instrument handling, rinsing and suction, and limiting the spread of bacteria. Dental assistants also take impressions of teeth and provide post-care instructions.
Often, the role of dental assistant isn’t limited to just patient-facing tasks. Dental assistants keep the dental office running smoothly by managing tasks like ordering supplies, scheduling appointments, submitting claims, billing customers and other administrative duties. They’re some of the best multi-taskers around.
Why we appreciate dental assistants
Dental assistants keep appointments running smoothly and help ensure patients have a positive dental experience.
The week of March 5-11 is Dental Assistant Recognition week, designed to honor those important team members in every dental practice. The 46th such celebration to be held acknowledges the vital role the nation’s more than 200,000 dental assistants play in providing quality dental health care to the American public.
The next time you visit your dentist, be sure to give extra thanks to the dental assistants helping you throughout your appointment!
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*Updated March 2023