Oral/maxillofacial surgery assistants are responsible for assisting dental surgeons in operations and procedures involving the teeth, mouth, and related areas. The oral surgery assistant performs a variety of tasks, including providing information to patients before procedures have been performed and setting up surgical environments and sterile instruments for doctors. They also assist during actual procedures and guide patients through post-operative expectations.
While most patients receive full walk-throughs of procedures by oral surgeons, the assistant will also provide guidance by explaining to patients step-by-step what will happen in the operation. The assistant helps to ensure a clean and ready work environment with all instruments laid out and sterilized for ease of use by the surgeon, and they also prepare patients for surgery by performing any necessary pre-operative teeth cleaning, final imaging, or X-rays, and administering local anesthesia and general relaxants.
As the operation proceeds, the assistant helps by providing suction, padding, and access to areas of the mouth for the surgeon, and they also monitor patients for signs of sharp pain stimuli during the procedure. When the surgeon has completed work, the assistant will reduce and remove any general anesthetic gases and help to provide short- and long-term post-operative care guidelines for the patient.
While an oral surgeon assistant's job is somewhat similar to that of a dental assistant, a separate professional certification may be required for this position, which itself requires extra education and even experience and an internship in an oral surgery clinic. Most oral surgery assistants work during regular weekly business hours in a clinical and surgical environment.
Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery Assistant Tasks
Help physicians examine and treat patients, handing them instruments or removing sutures.
Explain treatment procedures, medications, and physicians' instructions to patients.
Record patients' medical history, vital statistics and information such as test results in medical records.
Interview, measure and record medical information and vital signs.
Clean and sterilize instruments and dispose of contaminated supplies.