National Dental Assistants Week

Every year, the first full week of March happens to be Dental Assistant Recognition Week, and this week is dedicated to dental assistants because of all the incredible work they do to keep a good dental practice going. For 2018, Dental Assistants week will be March 4-10, and it’s a great time for practices to honor dental assistants. According to the American Dental Assistants Association, the time for this year is “Advancing the professional through collaboration and leadership.”
Whether you’re getting some complex dental work done or you’re simply having a routine checkup, it’s your dental assistant that works to make sure your experience is stress-free. They play a major role in a dental practice’s office, taking care of patient safety and comfort while juggling technical tasks. This March, it’s your turn to appreciate all the great your dental assistant does to help you keep a healthy smile.
What Does Your Dental Assistant Do?
You may be surprised to find that your dental assistant has a huge, varied list of duties in the dental office. They perform a wide range of tasks that require technical and interpersonal skills. Every state’s regulations vary, but some of your dental assistant’s responsibilities may include:

  • Teaching patients important oral hygiene practices for optimal oral health, such as flossing, tooth brushing, and proper nutrition
  • Providing assistance to the dentist during different types of treatment procedures
  • Offering patients instructions for post-treatment or post-surgery care
  • Taking and developing a patient’s dental x-rays
  • Taking a patient’s medical history and any vitals if necessary
  • Making impressions of a patient’s teeth
  • Helping the dentist provide direct patient care for oral surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, and periodontics
  • Working as the infection control officer in the office, coming up with infection control protocol
  • Sterilizing and preparing equipment and instruments
  • Taking care of various office management tasks
  • Making sure that patients are comfortable before, throughout, and after treatment
  • Communicating with suppliers and with patients, which may include ordering supplies, answering phones, and scheduling patient appointments

Benefits of Being a Dental Assistant
Have you considered becoming a dental assistant? Being a dental assistant actually comes with a lot of different career benefits, such as:

  • Flexibility – Dental assistants are always in demand, and it’s easy to find both part-time and full-time jobs.
  • Variety – There’s so much variety in this career, and dental assistants have to take on many different tasks. This makes the job very challenging, but also quite rewarding.
  • Personal Satisfaction – Since dental assistants spend a lot of time interacting with people, they have the chance to feel personally satisfied knowing that they’ve made a real difference in patients’ lives.
  • Great Working Conditions – A dentist’s office is usually a people-oriented, interesting, and fun place to work.

Great Opportunities for Dental Assistants
Plenty of employment opportunities are available in the dental assistant field since most dentists have multiple dental assistants on staff. Some of the great job opportunities available for a dental assistant include:

  • Group Practices – Practices that have multiple dentists
  • Solo Practices – Practices that only have a single dentist
  • Hospital Dental Clinics – Involves helping dentists take care of the oral health of bedridden patients
  • Specialty Dental Practices – This may include orthodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, pediatric dentistry, oral surgery, and endodontics
  • Dental School Clinics – Helping dental students learn to perform various dental procedures
  • Public Health Dentistry – May include settings like community clinics or schools

A few other opportunities may include working at community colleges, vocational schools, or technical institutes, processing dental claims for insurance companies, and becoming representatives for dental products.
It’s easy to see that dental assistants have a very wide range of duties, and they are a crucial part of any dental office team. Next time you head into the dentist’s office, take the time to let your dental assistant know how much you appreciate all he or she does. Don’t forget, Dental Assistants week is the first full week of March, so consider booking an appointment for that week or dropping in to say a kind word to your office’s dental assistants. It’s sure to make their week an extra special one!