Dental assistants have many important responsibilities within the dental clinic. Between preparing clinical areas, sterilizing instruments, performing simple laboratory procedures, and recording data, these professionals are indispensable to a smoothly running dental practice.
A dental assistant can also assist in educating clients in the maintenance of proper oral health. Some of these clients will inevitably be children. It can be tricky to get children to maintain proper oral health. However, it’s very important that they practice good oral healthcare.
Children’s teeth are weaker than adults’, as they have a thinner coat of enamel. Because of this, they’re more prone to tooth decay, a factor that can greatly contribute to tooth loss. The loss of children’s teeth isn’t just an annoyance, but can result in long-term problems. Without them, there is nothing left to guide permanent teeth into place as they grow. This could result in issues with alignment. Read on to learn how dental assistants can encourage oral health in children.
Dental Assistants Should Use Their Educational Skills
One of the unique skills that dental assistants possess is in the realm of education. These professionals are adept at conducting community and clinical education on matters pertaining to oral health. They can use these communicative abilities when dealing with children. The elasticity of children’s’ brains is a resource that dental assistants should take advantage of.
Instead of simply expressing the importance of avoiding sugary beverages, these professionals should try going deeper and explaining why exactly this matters. Illustrate the amount of sugar that’s hidden inside a can of pop or a bottle of fruit juice, using videos, diagrams, or sugar itself. Teach kids in detail what the regular consumption of high amounts of sugar does to their teeth, not to the point of frightening them, but enough to make them aware. Finally, it’s important to explain what exactly a toothbrush or a thread of dental floss is doing, rather than simply stressing the importance of using them. Taking the time to educate children on why different aspects of oral health are important can make all the difference.
Try to Make Oral Health Maintenance More Appealing
Oftentimes, children either don’t want to brush their teeth or want to rush through it. In their worlds, there’s so much else they could be doing with that segment of time: playing with toys, watching videos online, or hanging out with siblings and friends.
After graduating from a training program, one aspect of many dental assistant career opportunities is maintaining the stock of dental supplies and equipment. In this capacity, they can help to make oral health more entertaining for children. Providing toothbrushes with cartoon characters or in their favourite colour is a simple task that can go a long way to keeping kids committed to brushing their teeth. Finally, dental assistants should show children how they can brush along to a favourite song to make sure that they stay cleaning their teeth for enough time.
Make the Appointment as Comfortable as Possible
For children, visiting the dentist can be a frightening experience. It’s a strange environment, filled with strangers, odd whirring sounds, the smell of fluoride, and professionals who want to see inside their mouths. It’s no wonder that many children attempt to dissuade their parents from bringing them to the dental clinic.
However, it’s of central importance that children visit the dental clinic regularly for cleanings and assessments, especially while their teeth are still growing out. Dental assistants can counter this fear and discomfort by working to make appointments a comfortable time. They should do their best to be friendly and empathetic, making children comfortable and relaxed. This way, kids will feel better about going to the dentist.
Do you want to enroll in a dental assistant program?
Contact the Canadian Academy of Dental Hygiene for more information!