Certified orthodontic assistants (COA) are responsible for facilitating the orthodontic process and assisting a dentist in their duties. They should have strong interpersonal skills to explain processes and provide technical explanations in simple terms to patients and their families, and they must work well in teams with other assistants, but also on their own with minimal supervision.
COAs conduct initial check-ups and prepare patients for other treatment by the dentist in charge. They should have strong multitasking skills and know how to operate complex dental equipment and tools, and they also assist with disinfection duties, sterilization of supplies, and dental impressions and pictures before and after treatment. They must always follow strict safety regulations to prevent accidents while working with patients and maintain proficiency with orthodontic devices and prostheses, and they strive to provide the best patient service and keep a happy and friendly attitude at all times.
Certified orthodontic assistants work in a clinical environment and also order new supplies, keep work areas clean, prepare dental instruments, and explain hygiene instructions in detail. They also help prepare cement, remove excess from brackets and band positioning, and provide tools and supplies to the dentist for positioning and securing orthodontic devices. A relevant college degree and significant training are required for this position, and dental certifications are highly beneficial.
Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA) Tasks
Inform patients regarding pre-op and post-op instructions.
Prepare for procedures by organizing instruments and equipment.
Document treatment by charting in patient records.
Assist dentist during orthodontic examinations and procedures.
Sterilize and disinfect orthodontic instruments and equipment.