Surgical dental assistants work alongside primary dentists who specialize in surgical procedures. These assistants help prepare patients for procedures and ensure that the area is organized and ready for the oral surgeon; many are also involved in creating x-rays and administering/monitoring anesthetics. Generally, they work with surgeons during these procedures and handle the documentation of surgical notes for patients' records.
Preparation is of the utmost importance for surgical dental assistants. They must organize the surgical area by ensuring that all instruments are sterilized and ready for use, as well as prepare patients for their procedures; this often involves the administration of topical anesthetic, as well as discussing the limits of the procedure to help ease anxiety. They also take final x-rays prior to the surgery and ensure they are developed and posted for the surgeon.
During surgery, these assistants help keep the area clear and use suction and other instruments as necessary. Following surgery, they clean and sterilize all instruments used, advise the patient regarding post-surgical care, and document outcomes and recommendations for the patient's record.
While some requirement-lists for this position can be fairly relaxed, at least two years of education in a community college or dedicated vocational school program are generally required, and most jurisdictions also require certification to be a surgical dental assistant. Those in this position typically work in oral surgery clinics during traditional weekly business hours.
Dental Assistant, Surgical Tasks
Take and develop patient x-rays, including digital.
Sterilize instruments and equipment.
Assist dentist during dental treatment procedures.
Document treatment by charting in patient records.
Maintain patient's vital statistics and intravenous fluids during surgery.
Prepare for surgical procedures by organizing surgical instruments and equipment in operating room.