Dental Assistants are employed in private practice, public health, hospitals and other workplaces. When you are working in a dental office or other environment, you will be expected to be able to perform a wide range of tasks. These skills keep clients and professionals safe, maintain organization and provide the resources for dentists to accurately diagnose and provide treatment.
A career as a dental assistant is a great choice for anyone who wants to help people and make them feel comfortable, all while excelling at the daily tasks involved with helping a dental office run smoothly. Read on for a few of these common tasks and what makes them important parts of being a dental assistant.
1. Dental Assisting Training Includes Methods for Infection Control
Controlling the spread of infectious diseases not only keeps clients safe, but it also protects everyone working in a dental office. Dental assistants are in a powerful position to control the sterilization and sanitization of the dental environment. This includes sterilization of instruments and other objects as well as by monitoring sterilization equipment. In-office sterilizers can malfunction due to various factors, such as mechanical errors or misuse. Careful surveillance of sterilizers keeps everything in top form so that you can reduce the spread of infection.
In dentistry, steam or autoclave sterilization, dry heat and chemical sterilizers are common methods used. When these tasks are missed, people are put in danger. Understanding how to keep dangerous germs under control is of the utmost importance when you become a dental assistant and it is why infection control is part of your dental assistant training.
2. Office Management Tasks Like Scheduling Are Often Shared
In many dental offices, employees are cross-trained to ensure that they can handle different tasks if a co-worker is away or too busy to do everything themselves. Multiple employees may be required to schedule client appointments, for example. Having basic computer skills and the ability to complete administrative tasks is another way that dental assistants wear multiple hats.
Your communication skills come into play when scheduling for a dental office, as you need to take into consideration client requirements and preferences, as well as the dentist’s workload. A cramped, overloaded schedule keeps clients waiting and can also run the risk of burning out a dentist and the dental assistants who may become overtaxed by back-to-back appointments.
3. Digital Radiography Skills for Dental Assistant Careers
In dental assistant training, you will learn how to process radiographs, which are x-rays of the teeth and gums. Conventional radiographs are on film and have some limitations, so you will also learn to use digital radiography. This method allows images to be shown quickly on a screen, with the option to enhance contrast for more clarity. Digital x-rays also use less radiation, which increases client safety. It’s easier and simpler to keep client records with digital radiographs, which is another advantage of the technology.
Learning to take x-rays digitally will help you get a jump start on mastering your tasks if you are working in a modern, up-to-date dental office. You will also better understand the safety procedures related to x-rays, for both clients and yourself. Safety protocols are a key responsibility for dental assistants in order to prevent harm or overexposure.
Are you interested in dental assistant careers?
Contact CADH to learn more.