Endodontics is a specialty in dentistry that involves work on the inner tissues of the tooth. Endodontic assistants' role closely resembles that of dental assistants, although their work includes assisting an endodontist with procedures within that specialty. Patient-related tasks performed by the endodontic assistant include answering patients' questions or concerns, providing them with instructions on pre-operative preparations as needed and walking the patient through post-operative care requirements. The endodontic assistant also assists the dentist by preparing all necessary instrumentation, which includes ensuring reusable equipment is sterilized and providing necessary disposable items as well. During procedures, the assistant provides help in resecting areas and keeping the surgical area clean with suction equipment. The assistant may also administer local anesthesia and help monitor the patient's pain threshold and, if necessary, vital signs under general anesthesia.
Many community colleges and vocational schools offer specialized programs allowing a person to specialize as an endodontic assistant. Most jurisdictions also require individuals in this field to carry current and up-to-date certification. Endodontic assistants normally work in a dental surgery office during regular business hours. These assistants must have excellent patient-care skills and be able to work effectively alongside other dental professionals, including following instructions from the endodontist promptly and accurately.
Endodontic Assistant Tasks
Sterilize instruments and equipment.
Transcribe tooth number data into patient records.
Perform infection control procedures to meet OSHA and CDC standards.
Assist dentist during dental endodontic or root canal procedures.
Take and develop patient x-rays, including digital.