Working as a pediatric dental assistant is a lot like being a general dental assistant, but all of your patients are 18 years and younger. Most of your patients will be on the younger side, so they might need some extra help to get through their appointments. It’s important for pediatric dental assistants to stay calm if their young patients throw tantrums, are terrified, or are having a hard time staying focused. Working with children and building their confidence can be very rewarding.

Cleanings and Exams

As a dental assistant, you’ll be cleaning your patients’ teeth with the prophylaxis procedure. The prophylaxis is like brushing your patients teeth, but instead of your hand piece wielding bristles, you’ll be using a small spinning rubber cup to scrub off plaque and stains. Since children have much smaller mouths, you’ll learn ways to make this procedure comfortable for all ages. Younger toddlers that have fewer teeth most likely will not sit through the prophylaxis. In these cases, you’ll most likely use a regular toothbrush, or the dentist will clean the youngster’s teeth and simultaneously perform the exam.

While the dentist is examining the child’s teeth and bite, you’ll take notes and enter them into Dentrix. You’ll need to be quick, listen well, and stay focused; especially as more wiggly children can cut an exam short due to their lack of patience. As the child grows and continues to make their return appointments, you’ll help them have more patience and better experiences at the dentist.

X-Rays (Radiographs)

Straightening teeth, correcting bites, and helping people grow their confidence is an awesome daily reward for orthodontists and their dental assistants. Every day, orthodontic dental assistants will take radiographs, help place and remove braces, replace rubber bands on braces, and help answer patient’s questions about their braces. Helping patients straighten their smiles or have a better experience chewing their food is extremely rewarding as a dental assistant! Every day is a positive experience at an orthodontic dental clinic in Alaska.

Assisting During Procedures

General chair side assisting in Pediatrics is very similar to assisting with general dentistry. You’ll prepare the rooms with materials before the patient arrives and supply the dentist with the materials and tools throughout the procedure. Overtime, you’ll memorize each procedure, each dentists’ preferences for hand pieces, pace, and methods, and you’ll become a great chair side dental assistant.

In pediatric dentistry, children are most nervous about procedures like fillings, crowns, pulpotomies (root canal on a child’s tooth), and other restorations. They may have been harassed by siblings or friends that they will get a “shot” in their mouth, which terrifies them. To help ease their fears, many clinics will never use the word “shot” when describing the procedure to their young patients. Instead, they’ll describe the anesthetic as “sleepy juice” or “a small tickle.” Answering your patient’s questions will also help keep them at ease. After your patient successfully makes it through the procedure, remember to congratulate them!

Sanitization and Sterilization

After cleaning a patient’s teeth or performing a procedure, it is the dental assistant’s job to clean up the carts, tables, chairs, and counters. You’ll collect all of the used hand pieces and drop them off in the clinic’s ultrasonic cleaner to begin the sterilization process. After cleaning up a room, you will set it up for the next appointment. After the last appointment, you’ll close the room by wiping down the chairs, carts, and counters once more and performing other deep cleaning routines. Most clinic’s floors, windows, and trash will be cleaned by an after-hours crew, so you won’t need to worry about cleaning the entire clinic; just the expensive equipment you have been entrusted with.

Start Your Dental Assisting Career Today!

At 90 Day Dental Assistant, you’ll have access to the entire course online. This means, you can train to become a dental assistant from your phone! Study for exams, get ready for externships, and prepare yourself for your career. If you’re interested in learning more, the link below will take you to the course outline.