Dental assistants work in a variety of settings, including general dentistry practices, pediatric dentist offices, periodontist offices, and oral surgeon’s offices. They perform tasks such as taking x-rays and making impressions for molds or casts. They also help patients who are under anesthesia by monitoring vital signs during surgery and assisting with instruments used during procedures.
Dental assistants in orthodontist offices help with the administrative duties of the practice, such as scheduling appointments and answering phones. They also perform other tasks, such as taking x-rays and applying braces to patients’ teeth.
Pediatric Dental Office
In a pediatric dental office, dental assistants work with children from infancy to adolescence. Dental assistants may assist with the administration of local anesthesia and help perform procedures such as removing sutures and stitches.
The duties of a pediatric dental assistant can vary greatly depending on the location of the practice, how large it is, and what type of dentistry they practice (general dentistry or orthodontics). For example, some practices might ask their assistant to clean up after patients before they leave while others will require them only to record vital signs during visits.
General Dentistry Practice
Dental assistants work in a variety of settings, including general dentistry, orthodontics, pediatrics, periodontics (gum disease), oral surgery, and prosthodontics (teeth replacements). A dental assistant should have good communication skills as well as attention to detail. They should also be able to work well with others on a team approach.
In addition to these qualities listed above, some other skills will help you get employed by a dentist or dental office:
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in gum and bone health. Periodontists treat gum disease and other problems of the gums and supporting structures, such as the bones that hold your teeth in place.
Periodontists work with patients to develop an individual treatment plan to manage their condition. They may perform scaling, root planing, or flap surgery (also known as gum grafting) to help heal gums around the teeth that are damaged by periodontal disease.
Oral Surgeon’s Office
A dental assistant in an oral surgeon’s office helps with procedures such as tooth extractions, dental implants, and dental crowns. In this setting, they are responsible for taking x-rays and preparing patients for surgery.
As a dental assistant in an oral surgeon’s office you may also assist with the following:
- Performing routine dental cleanings (scaling) on patients
- Recording patient information such as symptoms or medications taken in a chart
- Taking impressions of teeth to make temporary crowns
Prosthodontists are the dentists who make crowns, bridges, and dentures. They can also perform oral surgery and treat periodontal disease.
Prosthodontists must have 3 years of post-doctoral training beyond dental school, including a residency in prosthodontics. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you consider an ADA-approved program if you are interested in this field of dentistry.
Employers for Dental Assistants
Dental assistants work in a variety of settings, including private dental offices, hospitals, schools and universities, public health clinics and community health centers, and research institutions.
It is important to remember that dental assistants are in high demand and can work in many different settings. They can choose from a wide variety of career options, including working as an orthodontist, pediatric dentist, or general dentist. In addition to their primary duties, dental assistants also help patients learn about healthy eating habits, proper oral hygiene techniques, and the importance of regular visits with their doctors.