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Dental Asisstant Duties 101

Who are the people working in a dental office

? Apart from the dentist, there is also the dental assistant (DA) who ushers you in to the clinic and makes you feel comfortable until the dentist is ready to attend to you. The dental assistant performs some tasks that dentists usually do such as setting fissure sealants and fluorides on teeth. Apart from these tasks, what additional responsibilities do dental assistants perform?

Other Responsibilities of a Dental Assistant

Scheduling and Appointment. Patients cannot simply walk-in and expect to be treated by the dentist, especially if there are other patients waiting for their own sessions. Thus, in order to avoid any problems when it comes to dental slots, assistants ensure that they keep track of the dentist's schedule as well as patients' follow up schedules. In addition, they also update patients' dental records according to the treatment or dental procedure done on the patient.

Billing Concerns. After each session, assistants prepare receipts that patients are supposed to pay according to the treatment done on them. At times, assistants also prepare billing papers for companies depending on the clinic's agreement with the company. In cases of disputes, assistants are also tasked to check the dental books and talk to the complainants.

Inventory and Procurement. Keeping track of office and dental provisions is another task that keeps an assistant busy. They ensure that supplies are never less than their limit, especially when it comes to dental necessities. As such, assistants maintain good marketing relationships with suppliers as well.

Dissemination of Proper Dental Practices. A dentist assistant also helps the dentist in educating patients about proper oral care and hygiene, especially the children.

Maintenance of Dental Equipment. Ensuring that dental instruments are clean and sanitized is one of the tasks of a dental assistant. This guarantees that patients are using hygienic instruments and patients are not infected with viruses brought about by other patients.

Patient Care. Making patients feel comfortable while waiting for his or her scheduled appointment is one of the tasks of a dental assistant. Aside from this, assistants prepare all dental records and ensure that dental procedures, treatments, and medicines have been logged in the files. During the actual treatment, assistants sit chairside dentists doing the following tasks: wiping and suctioning patient's mouth dry, give correct instrument to dentist, apply surgical dressings, and administer anesthesia, among other jobs.

Laboratory Tasks. The reason why dental assistants also study about radiology is so they will know how to support dentists when taking dental pictures as well as processing the dental x-ray films. If an assistant passed the radiologist's exam, then he or she is more competent in reading the results of a patient's radiography results.

These are just some of the official responsibilities of a general dental assistant. With further and higher dental studies, more opportunities for higher salary, more complicated dental procedure responsibilities, and career advancement are available for assistants.

by: Glenda N. Fowler
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