You Should Become a Dental Assistant

Becoming a Dental Assistant offers you a great career working with people. You will generally be working under one or more dentists. This type of career will allow you to interact with many people as well as get to see various dental procedures take place first hand. This profession allows you the opportunity to participate in providing dental care as well as comfort to patients.

Dental Assistants are often confused with Dental Hygienist. They perform different dental procedures. Dental Assistants help both dentists and hygienist. A Dental Hygienist cleans patient’s teeth while the dentist performs procedures including fillings and bridges.

Dental Assistants are in huge demand all over the Nation. It is anticipated that Dental Assistants will be among the fastest growing occupations between now and 2012. This means you will have job opportunities available most anywhere you choose to live. The pay for Dental Assistants varies by region, but is generally several dollars above minimum wage. Being a Dental Assistant will allow you to decide if you want to pursue a career as a tech, dental hygienist, or a dentist. You will get to see first hand just what such jobs entail.

Employment as a Dental Assistant will help guarantee you job with normal hours of operation. This is very important, especially if you have a family you want to be spending your evenings and weekends with. In addition, you will generally have paid Holidays off as well. Most Dental Assistants receive a large discount on dental care for themselves, their spouse, and their children. This can be a great perk of the job that saves you a large sum of money in the end.

Some of the duties Dental Assistants will perform include assisting with dental procedures, setting up dental rooms, performing X-rays, and completing lab work. The exact procedures you will be able to perform will depend on the licensing requirements in your state as well as the needs of the dental office you choose to work in. It is important to ask what procedures you will be performing during a job interview if a complete job description is not provided for you.

If you enjoy working with people, having a daily routine that varies, and have excellent communication skills, then a career as a Dental Assistant might be right for you. Since you will be dealing with the public and other dental professionals throughout your day, the ability to communicate is going to make a big impact on how successful you will be as a Dental Assistant.

Generally, the certification program for Dental Assistant is 1 year. The exact length of the program depends on your state requirements and the program you are enrolling in. In some states, you can be trained on the job in as little as three months. Most states require you to pass a Dental Assistant Exam for certification.

Since technology and dental procedures continually improve, you will need to keep up with these changes as a Dental Assistant. Generally, such educational needs and trainings will be set up by your employer for you to attend at no charge.

Becoming a Dental Assistant can be a fun and rewarding career for individuals with a desire to help others, provide comfort, and who has excellent communication skills. The amount of employment opportunities in the field are numerous, with the numbers continuing to climb as more and more people focus on the importance of good oral hygiene.

Dental Assistants working with Drug Users

Dental Assistants are used to working with patients who are suffering from poor dental hygiene. Statistics show more than 10.5 million people in the United States are affected by drug and alcohol use. Substance abuse is easily recognizable by Dental Assistants. Many parents are left completely dumbfounded when the Dental Assistant has to inform them that their child appears to have a drug dependency and it is affecting their oral health. Types of drug abuse Dental Assistants encounter include sedatives, barbiturates, and narcotics.

The effects of drug use in relation to oral health care include missing dental appointments, fear, anxiety, cravings for sweets, the risk of infection from Hepatitis B and HIV, oral neglect, periodontal disease, gingivitis, and painful gums. It is easy to see from this list how taking drugs can lead to ongoing oral health issues. If the drug use continues tooth lose and inflamed gum areas may increase.

Dental Assistants are often consulted when individuals call the dental office or come in complaining of severe tooth pain. This can be a ploy on the patient’s behalf to obtain drugs from the dental facility, either in the office or in the form of a prescription. Dental Assistants need to watch for such scenarios and listen to their gut reaction in such cases. Often, these individuals will come in at closing time, get a prescription and an appointment to return the next morning. They get the prescription filled, but never show up for the appointment.

Since drug use is so common, Dental Assistants and other dental staff should be properly trained in the areas of drug use, drug interactions, and promoting drug treatment. If your employer does not offer such training, it is important that you bring it to their attention. In the mean time, it is your responsibility to train yourself by educating yourself in these areas. You can do so with textbooks or online materials.

Dental Assistants can provide patients with education, early intervention, and motivation to seek treatment for drug use. Often Dental Assistants can help the patient find a treatment program to look into. It is important for the Dental Assistant to treat the patient with respect, but fully disclose the risks involved in continued drug use as well as they affects to their dental health. This is where those valuable communication skills come in to play.

Dental Assistants need to be very careful when providing dental care to drug users. Since the types of drugs they use generally aren’t disclosed, it is unknown what types of behaviors they will display. They may become violent or experience a chemical reaction when treated with a local anesthetic.

Treating patients who use drugs also raises the risk of being exposed to communicable diseases. All precautions need to be taken to protect yourself. Most dental facilities have policies and procedures in place for dealing with individuals who come in for appointments under the influence of drugs and other substances. However, for ongoing drug users, you might not even know they have been using anything prior to treating them.

As a Dental Assistant, if you suspect a patient has been using drugs, approach the situation confidentially and carefully. Your main goal is to make sure other patients and staff members are not at risk of being harmed. You have the right as a Dental Assistant to refuse treatment to anyone for any reason. While most Dental Assistants don’t exercise this right often, there is not reason to put yourself or others at risk.

Drug use can adversely affect an individual’s oral health. Dental Assistants can offer then assistance with getting treatment for drug use. They can also educate the patient on the effects of drug use. However, this is a gray area where Dental Assistants need to procedure based on the observations of the patient and the policies and procedures in place for the dental facility they work for.

Dental Assistant Skills to Become a Dentist or Hygienist

You can complete your Dental Assistant training in about 12 to 24 months. This will provide you with the necessary skills to work in a dental facility. If you are interested in becoming a Dentist or Dental Hygienist, then it is a good idea to train as a Dental Assistant first. This will provide you with the opportunity to explore the dental field and know exactly what you are getting involved in before spending four or more years on an education in a field you are not going to enjoy.

Dental assistants help with a variety of needs in dental offices. They sterilize tools and get items ready for procedures for both Dentists and Hygienists. They assist during the actual procedures, handing necessary tool and equipment. In some states, they are even allowed to administer local anesthetics.

Dental Assistants have a front row seat for all the dental procedures as they take place. Careful observation of techniques will be a great learning experience for them. While Dental Assistants aren’t allowed to perform the procedures they are watching due to licensing issues, they definitely come to learn the process for each procedure.

Once a Dental Assistant decides to continue their education and pursue a career as a Dentist or Hygienist, they knowledge they gained in the dental office will be very valuable. Since the Dental Assistant has watched procedures take place many times, they are more likely to complete the procedures accurately themselves during the learning process of their continued dental education program.

Many Dentists want to keep the qualified staff they have. They are often willing to work your schedule around your classes. Some in larger dental offices might offer to assist you with the cost of attending the classes or reimburse you for your education upon completion if you agree to work for them.

Working as a Dental Assistant prior to becoming a Hygienist or Dentist gives you an edge on the competition. You will have work experience and education to market versus only education. Many employers want both when they hire dental Hygienists and Dentists. You will also have very sharp skills in the areas of communication and understanding fears patients may have when they enter the dentist office.

A certificate as a Dental Assistant can be a mere stepping stone for some who have greater ambitions in the dental field. However, the experience is one you will find educational and full of opportunity. You will also be more likely to treat new Dental Assistants with compassion and take them under your wing as they enter the dental field in the future.

All fields of dentistry continue to grow because people are taking better care of their teeth then ever before. New technology has lead to procedures that are not as painful as in the past, encouraging patients to come in for dental care. People are also living longer, so their teeth need to last longer.

If you are a Dental Assistant with an interest in pursuing a career as a Dentist or Hygienist, look into various programs in your area. Some with give you credit for the work you are doing at your position in the dental office. It will depend on the program and what types of tasks you are performing. However, many people find out they have less courses to take, saving them both time and money if they look into this prior to enrolling in a dental program.

Dental Assistant Training

Pursing a career as a Dental Assistant can be very exciting. With so many employment opportunities to choose from, it is an excellent choice for those who are interested in working in the dental field, enjoy working with people, and enjoy some variety in their daily routine. The duties of a Dental Assistant vary according to patient need. Your job will be assisting the dentist and hygienist to deliver quality oral health care. If you are interested, contact your dentist and ask if you can shadow the office for a day to see what really goes on. Most will be very willing to accommodate your request.

Dental Assistant training takes place either in a program at a Dental School or local college. Some dental offices choose to train their Dental Assistants in house without any schooling. Most Dental Assistant training programs last from 12 months to 24 months. It depends on the state requirements and the curriculum for the program you enroll in. You will learn the basic fundamentals of dentistry in these programs.

Upon completing a Dental Assistant course, you will know eat type of dental instrument, the proper use of each, how to properly clean all tools, how to protect yourself from communicable diseases, and effective communication skills and techniques. Make sure the program you enroll in is accredited under your state regulations.

If you are trained in a dental office, then you will get first hand experience of dental procedures as well as how that particular dental facility operates. If you choose to do this type of on the job training, take the time to research the dental office. Check with the Better Business Bureau and the State Board of Dentistry regarding complaints about that particular dentist. Do not accept a position with any dentist office that has received numerous complaints for their treatment of patients.

Most states require Dental Assistants to obtain certification within 3 months of completing a program. On the job trained Dental Assistants are not eligible to take the certification exam until they have completed 2 years of on the job training. This is to ensure to the patients that all staff members have been properly trained. You can find out when such exams will be taking place by checking online or with the instructor of your Dental Assistant program.

This exam with require both a written test of your knowledge and a presentation of your skills. The written portion will be based on the basic fundamentals of dental care and sanitation issues. The presentation will require you to show a state examiner your ability to properly cleanse and sanitize all instruments. You will likely be asked to perform several tasks for the state examiner to observe. This is done to verify your ability to perform what you learned in the classroom setting.

Dental Assistant training is time well invested in your future, with a wonderful career in the dental field with numerous job opportunities. It is important to choose your training program wisely as you want to be a valued asset when you start trying to secure employment. Dental assistants are very valuable to the dental office and to patients. They are often the person patients come into contact with before and after their procedures. Dental Assistants can help patients who are afraid or nervous prior to a procedure taking place.

Dental Assistants

The role of a Dental Assistant is to help Dentists and Dental Hygienists carry out the duties of providing quality dental care to individuals as well as providing an environment with sterile equipment and a comfortable setting for the procedures to take place in.

Dental assistants are a valuable resource to the area of dentistry. While they aren’t qualified to perform cleanings or extensive dental procedures, they keep things moving at a steady pace. Their role is often behind the scenes getting everything ready. There are more duties to Dental Assistant than what meets the eye.

Being a Dental Assistant takes a particular type of person. You have to enjoy working with the public. You also have to have confidence in your abilities. A sincere interest in the dental field and helping others are also recommended. Dental Assistants must have excellent communication skills as they are an important part of the patient and dental staff relationship.

Dental Assistants generally review the medical history with the patient and help them feel comfortable prior to procedures taking place. The often explain what the procedure entails and what will be taking place. The Dental Assistant will be present during the procedure to assist either the Hygienist or the Dentist. During the procedure, the Dental Assistant will clear out the patient’s mouth, adjust the chair, move the lights, and anything else that can make the experience better for the patient. After the procedure the Dental Assistant will explain follow up treatment to the patient as well as provide the patient will information to assist in the healing process.

A Dental Assistant has to know how to prioritize their time to ensure all their duties are taken care of. One of the most important duties of a Dental Assistant is proper cleaning of all the dental tools. They must be properly sanitized. Each tool needs to be examined to ensure it is still usable. Dental assistants must also know what tools and equipment each dental procedure requires. This allows them to set up tool kits to have at the dental station prior to a procedure being done.

Dentists and Dental Hygienists depend on the Dental Assistant being alert and prepared during all dental procedures. They want to have all the necessary tools at their fingertips for easy access and to allow them to remain concentrated on the patient and the procedure they are performing. In some states, Dental Hygienists are allowed to administer local anesthetics to prepare the patient for their procedures.

A very important role of the Dental Assistant is to monitor the patient during the procedure. This may involve taking their vital signs. Other signs to watch for include changes in breathing patterns, disorientation, and a glazed look in the eyes. All of these can indicate an emergency situation. Patients may have an allergic reaction to the anesthetic or suffer a medical ailment such as a heart attack.

Dental Assistants need to be prepared for such emergencies to arise and react calmly and quickly. It is important that every Dental Assistant is trained in CPR. They should also have emergency phone numbers in place if the need arises. It is the responsibility of the Dental Assistant and other staff to do all they can for the patient until proper medical help arrives. Doing so can make the difference between life and death.

The role of Dental Assistant involves wearing many hats. For those in the profession, they often enjoy having a variation in their daily routine. They love working with people as well as working in the dental profession. Being an effective Dental Assistant involves willingness to continuing learning. It requires a positive attitude and attention to details. The best Dental Assistants are those who know how to effectively communicate with the patients and the staff they work with. This is a great career for those who feel they can handle the ongoing needs that are placed in their hands.