Dental assistant’s responsibilities and duties vary from clinic to clinic depending on the type of dentistry performed at the clinic and the staff make-up.

Sterilization and Cleaning

Each dental clinic is equipped to sterilize hand pieces, drills, drill burs, and other equipment throughout the day. It’s the dental assistant’s job to take used equipment and pieces from operating rooms and chairs to be sterilized. After the pieces have been sterilized, then the dental assistant restocks each drawer and each room. In most clinics, it’s up to the dental assistants to organize the rooms and drawers because the dental assistants set up the rooms for procedures.

Setting Up Rooms

The scheduling and charting program Dentrix will show dental assistants what procedure is planned for each room. Each procedure will have different materials and instruments to lay out on the counters, trays, and carts. Each dentist has a different workflow and particular specifications for each procedure. As you work with each supervising dentist, you’ll know what their go-to instruments and layout preferences are. Be observant, ask questions, and if you need to create drawings to help you remember each procedure’s setup, it’s totally acceptable.

Taking Radiographs

Dental assistants will take the routine x-rays (or radiographs) for patients every six months. Don’t worry if taking radiographs seems challenging at first. You will get the hang of it with practice! You will have lots of dental assistants and your supervising dentists to help you line up the rays with gaps in the teeth. If you live in a state that requires certification before you can take radiographs, 90 Day Dental Assistant will prepare you to pass RHS (Radiation Health and Safety) Exam.

Prophylaxis and Assisting In Exams

Dental cleanings or the Prophlaxis are performed by the dental assistants of the office. This helps increase the patient output exponentially as the clinic can schedule as many patients as it has chairs/assistants. The prophylaxis sounds like a complex procedure, but it is just the basic cleaning received at the dental clinics. Using a hand piece that has a spinning rubber cup on it, you’ll apply a coarse paste to each tooth and scrub the patient’s teeth with the rubber cup. Prophylaxis’ work wonders when removing stains and plaque. You’ll then floss the patient’s teeth and notify the dentist that their patient is ready for an exam.

Assisting During Procedures

Dental assistants set up the rooms before each procedure and assist the dentist throughout the procedure. This entails handing the dentist the proper tools at the right time. This takes some skill as you’ll need to be quick, have memorized procedures, and be quick on your feet.

Explaining Procedures, Helping Patients, Walking Patients Out

This side of dental assisting is really more an extension of customer service. Be friendly when greeting patients; you’ll never know who is far more nervous than they look. Explain procedures clearly and always ask if they have questions. Do your best to answer their questions, but if it is something beyond your knowledge, it’s okay to reach out to your supervising dentist. When walking the patient out, introduce them to the office workers that will be sending the bill, rescheduling, and checking them out. Remember to smile! You’ll make friends with your patients over time.

Start Your Dental Assisting Journey

If you’re ready to take the next steps in becoming a dental assistant, reach out to 90 Day Dental Assistant today! Our program has helped so many dental assistants hone their skills and find jobs quickly after graduation. We’re so excited to meet you and introduce you to the 90 Day Dental Assistant family today!