As a dental assistant, you play an important role in helping patients of all ages practice good oral hygiene and prevent dental diseases. You must ensure that patients feel comfortable in the dental chair, prepare patients and the work area for treatments and procedures, sterilize dental instruments, deliver instruments to dentists during procedures, dry patients' mouths with suction hoses and other equipment, and instruct patients on proper oral hygiene. It is up to you to motivate patients to practice good dental hygiene without excuses. You can recommend different options that should be combined according to the patient's needs.
For those with dentures, you should instruct them to use a denture brush to completely clean them. To protect patients from getting too much fluoride, you must educate adults and parents about fluoride and its uses. In addition to clinical duties, you may also be responsible for administrative tasks such as greeting patients, gathering information about them, filling out medical forms, organizing office records, and other administrative tasks. To become a certified dental assistant, you'll need to pass all three components of the National Board of Dental Assistance (DANB) certification exam and meet the Board's work experience requirements.
You can also earn specialized certifications to further expand your knowledge and skills. By encouraging patient confidence, you can help motivate them to practice good dental hygiene. Completing an accredited dental assistance program is the best way to gain the knowledge and skills you'll need to work proficiently in this position. Nearly all clinical dental assistants work in dental offices under the supervision of dentists, although some may find employment in the government or in doctors' offices. On the other hand, as a clinical dental assistant you will help dentists and dental hygienists with treatment procedures, the sterilization and disinfection of dental instruments, the mapping of patients, the taking of vital signs, the processing of quality radiographs (X-rays), and more.