A dental assistant's duties include hands-on work with dental patients, assisting the dentist, and/or performing clerical functions in a dental clinic. Depending on an individual’s certification and goals, any of these are possible job tasks. If an individual would like hands-on work in the dentist’s office, their duties may include prepping the patient for a particular operation; this particular duty would involve knowledge of the teeth and most dental procedures. The dental assistant would then assist the dentist in performing the operation, and do such things as handing the dentist the required tools and providing secondary support. This kind of job usually entails working one-on-one with the dentist, and requires good communication skills.
However, if an individual prefers to work in a less hands-on environment, dental assistants are also needed to handle the business-support functions of a dental office. These individuals would be responsible for making appointments, filing paperwork, and handling billing for the company. Additionally, the dental assistant would be responsible for greeting patients when they walk in the door, and providing a warm, professional face for the office. To perform this job well, the dental assistant would need to possess strong interpersonal skills, have a professional appearance, and have basic skills with computers.
Dental Assistant Tasks
- Take and develop patient x-rays, including digital (if certified).
- Sterilize instruments and equipment.
- Teach patients how to practice good oral hygiene.
- Assist dentist during dental treatment procedures.
- Maintain office records and supplies and schedule appointments.