The first week of March is Dental Assistants Recognition Week, and our dental assistants are especially worth celebrating. Our office wouldn’t run as smoothly without them and our patients wouldn’t feel as welcome, relaxed, or comfortable during their visits!
Dental assistants have numerous responsibilities in a dental office. On a daily basis, they provide excellent patient care, support the dentist, and complete various technical duties, all with smiles on their faces. Continue reading to learn more about what it takes to be a dental assistant and why we appreciate ours so much!
What do dental assistants do?
Dentists rely on their assistants to provide their patients with an excellent and comfortable experience by completing various tasks, including:
- Assisting fillings, crowns, extractions, and other procedures
- Taking and pouring molds of the mouth
- Surgery prep
- Answering patient questions
- Preparing exam rooms
- Operating equipment and monitors
- Administrative tasks
- Cleaning operatories after procedures
- Cleaning and sterilizing equipment
Dental assisting isn’t for everyone. It takes a special person with special skills. We’ve chosen the best of the best to work in our office.
Here are a few of the most important skills needed to be a great dental assistant:
Dental assistants help dentists before, during, and after procedures to help things go as smoothly as possible. To do that, they must
- be able to take X-rays, blood pressure readings, and dental impressions,
- have knowledge of advanced dental procedures and the order in which they are conducted,
- and have knowledge about different dental tools, materials, and equipment, as well as how they are used and how to maintain them.
Dental assistants need people skills. After all, their entire job is to serve patients, many of whom suffer from dental fear and anxiety. A dental assistant is often the first face a patient sees when they walk into the office.
Our assistants strive to make every patient feel safe and comfortable from the moment they walk through our doors. Here are some of the patient-facing tasks they perform:
- Walk the patients to the operatory and prepare them for their cleaning, exam, or procedure
- Discuss the patient’s medical history
- Listen to the patient’s fears, questions, and concerns
- Communicate oral hygiene and care instructions once the procedure is complete
On top of technical skills and people skills, our dental assistants must have admin skills. They often conduct computer-based work, office management tasks, scheduling appointments, making phone calls, dealing with billing issues, and monitoring and ordering supplies.
We are so proud to have dental assistants who take on all these responsibilities with a great attitude!
The path toward becoming a dental assistant is different in some states (so if you’re interested, be sure to check your state’s requirements!).
Usually, a person will take classes at a college or technical program for one or two years. At the end of the program, the person receives a certificate, diploma, or associate degree. The next step, in 39 states, is to take a licensure test through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Throughout this process, aspiring dental assistants are also subject to criminal background checks and/or drug and alcohol testing. These must be passed to obtain their license or certificate and employment.
To be able to take X-rays or perform coronal polishes, he or she may need additional training or certifications.
Once all of this is complete, they can begin working as a dental assistant!
We love our dental assistants!
To our dental assistants, thank you for all that you do. You take on some of the most important tasks behind the scenes, and you take on the responsibility of being the first face our patients see. Our jobs are easier and our patients are well taken care of because of your hard work and dedication. We appreciate you!
Come Meet Our Team
Want to see our dental assistants in action? Schedule a dental cleaning and exam appointment at our office today.