Monthly Archives: December 2017

Risks of Being a Dental Assistant

Having a career as a dental assistant is a great career opportunity. You will have the ability to work in the dental profession and observe many types of dental procedures taking place. In addition to assisting dentists and hygienists with the procedures you will have the opportunity to get to know patients as well as help them to feel comfortable before, during, and after procedures.

However, in this type of career, it is important that you are completely aware of the risks and take all necessary precautions to protect yourself. While it is very rare, some patients become upset and irate as a result of dental work. They may be afraid of the processes or not happy with the work. This can result in verbal or physical abuse taking place.

To protect yourself, make sure you are aware of the proper policies and procedures of the dental office you work in and follow them completely. Generally, the police will be called to take a report. Since most dental offices are very small, your communication skills are very important. Your efforts to de-esculate a situation can make the difference of how it plays out.

Most dental offices understand the importance of a good working relationship with all individuals. They work together to make the office environment fun, relaxing, a learning experience, and a place everyone looks forward to working at. Since we spend so many hours at work in the presence of co-workers, it is important to establish quality relationships.

Unfortunately, in some dental offices, Dental Assistants are treated poorly. Other staff does not show them respect or include them in things that take place both in the office and get togethers outside of it. There are reports of Dental Assistants who claim they were sent to get coffee for the other staff and other such tasks rather than being able to participate in the dental procedures. Other Dental Assistants have reported verbal and physical abuse at the hands of the other staff. They have been ridiculed for having less knowledge and even kicked for handing staff the wrong instrument.

It is important that you do not allow yourself to continue being the victim of such abuse as a Dental Assistant. If you are having problems with other staff, let the dentist know immediately. If the issue involves the dentist, immediately remove yourself from the dental facility. You should also report the incident to the State Dental Board for further investigation.

The possibility of being infected with a communicable disease is the biggest risk Dental Assistants face. Since most communicable diseases are transmitted via saliva and blood, it is obvious why it can be such an issue. All dental offices should follow proper procedures including always wearing sterile gloves during all procedures. Dental Assistants should always wear gloves if they are in the area of a procedure. Emergencies can happen fast where you have to reach into a patient’s mouth. You should always be prepared to help as well as have yourself protected.

If you believe you have punctured your sterile gloves, immediately change them no matter how small of a hole you believe you have made. This will help protect you against communicable diseases.

If you come into contact with saliva, blood, or other bodily fluids, immediately wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. Most dental offices have patients fill out a questionnaire asking about comunicable diseases. However, since the information isn’t verified, it is unknown if it accurate. Therefore, treat every patient respectfully, but always be prepared for the risk of infection from a communicable disease.

Patient Rights in Regard to Dental Care

Dental Assistants work hard to help Dentists and Dental Hygienists provide quality care to patients. They try to provide patients with the knowledge of proper dental care as well as information about the procedures they are about to undergo. Patients have rights in regards to their dental care that Dental Assistants need to be aware of and respectful of.

Dental patients have the right to make an informed decision about their dental care. It is the responsibility of the Dental Assistant to make sure they know the facts about the procedures, the alternative options, and any risks involved in the procedures. Dental patients have the right to receive care from qualified staff members. Most dental offices will provide the licensing and credentials of staff members upon patient request.

The right to receive quality care is important to patients. Dental Assistants can do their part by taking the time to properly clean all dental tools and equipment. Standard sterilization procedures need to be followed accurately. Patients have the right to ask questions and receive informed decisions about the care they receive. Dental Assistants have the responsibility of keeping the lines of communication open. They need to be approachable by patients.

A patient has the right to refuse treatment or discontinue treatment at any time. The Dental Assistant needs to be respectful of this choice. However, the Dental Assistant has the responsibility to inform the patient of the health risks involved with doing so. Those patients wanting to continue care have the right to be seen at scheduled appointments and for a detailed treatment plan to be carefully outlined, and then followed.

Emergency situations do occur. Patients have the right to be seen as soon as possible. In the mean time, the Dental Assistant needs to do everything possible to reduce the pain and make the patient comfortable. Dental care can be expensive. Patients have the right to receive an itemized cost of treatment prior to accepting any dental services.

All patients want to be treated with dignity and respect. The patient who comes in with poor oral care habits doesn’t want the Dental Assistant to ask them rude questions about the last time they brushed their teeth. However, it is important for the Dental Assistant to express concern about the patient’s oral health habits, and provide education to help the patient develop better oral care practices.

Dental patients have the right to confidentiality. Dental Assistants need to keep information about procedures and those coming in for them to themselves. No one wants everyone in town to know they had two cavities or that they got their teeth whitened. Confidentially is very important to individuals in all areas, and their dental care is no different. A patient has the right to request copies of all information in their file at any time for their own use.

All patients have the right to express their concern over the dental care they received. They have the right to file a complaint against the Dental Assistant or other staff with the State Dental Board. Each state has their own policies and procedures for investigating complaints. The standard procedure includes obtaining the complaint in writing, sending a copy of the complaint to the dental facility, interviewing witnesses to the event, and making an informed decision on how to handle the complaint.

Dental Assistants need to be fully aware to patient rights. It is easy to get caught up in the procedures and duties of the dental profession. However, the satisfaction of the patient is the key to providing quality service and maintaining ongoing relationships with patients. Dental Assistants can do their part by providing patients with an approachable individual that they can discuss their needs, ideas, thoughts, and concerns over their dental care with. In that regard, a Dental Assistant can serve as a lesson between the patient and the other dental staff.

Dental Assistants Provide Care to Low Income Families

Dental Assistants take pride in providing quality care to patients. They assist Dentists with procedures and Dental Hygienists with assistance during preventative cleanings. However, many Dental Assistants understand there is a population of individuals who do not receive the dental care they should because they have no insurance and they can’t afford to pay for it out of pocket. The result of not obtaining proper dental care is ongoing health and dental issues that spiral out of control.

Many low income families are not receiving dental care. Often, dental programs are available through a variety of programs including Child Development Services, Migrant Services, and Head Start. All of these programs are conducted throughout the United States. These programs provide schooling for children and parenting skills for parents. The programs often include programs of budgeting, meal planning, family activities, and dental care. These programs are Federally funded.

In these programs, children and their families receive dental care for free. This requires qualified Dental Assistants to assist Dentists and Dental Hygienists in their work of providing procedures and dental cleanings to patients in these programs. Since their dental care is limited, it is very important for them to become educated about oral hygiene. Education becomes a key for them to work hard to maintain quality dental hygiene on their own as much as they can.

Dental Assistants often conduct training workshops for these types of programs, stressing the importance oral hygiene. The programs include information on brushing twice a day, the proper way to brush, the importance of flossing, and the proper way to floss. Family members are generally given handouts as well as toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and pills that will show the plaque you missed on your teeth by turning the areas a bright color. These educational workshops are very helpful to the families involved in these programs.

For children and adults who have severe dental needs, this many be the only way they will ever be able to have those needs addressed. Dental Assistants who work with low income families often earn less than Dental Assistants in other dental fields of employment. However, they find a strong satisfaction in helping families obtain dental care. To them, it is more rewarding than any increase in pay.

The lack of programs to help with those who can’t afford adequate dental care is a huge concern for Dental Assistants all across the Nation. It is an issue that needs to be addressed locally, statewide, and on a Federal level. Many Dental professionals agree to assist with education and providing services to low income populations because they understand the dire need of such care.

While Medicare and Medicaid programs under Federal guidelines offer some relief for families, many don’t qualify for the programs, yet still don’t earn enough money to pay for the care on their own. In addition, most dental facilities don’t accept the Federal programs or they only accept a limited number of participants at a time.
The Surgeon General has only yet begun to conduct studies on the effects of low income families not receiving the dental care they need. However, they do agree that the issue needs to be addressed. They have implemented some strategies to improve the situation.

They would like to see the expansion of mobile dental clinics, public dental clinics, and school based dental clinics. They would also like to see schools and other educational programs focusing more on oral hygiene. Possibility adding toothbrushes and areas to each classroom for students to use after breakfast and lunch on a daily basis.

The Surgeon General is also looking into developing programs for dental staff, including Dental Assistants to receive assistance with tuition if they agree to work in low income dental facilities for a specified period of time. It is their hope that the staff will choose to remain their after that time period has ended because they see how beneficial their services are to the patients they are serving.

Duties of Dental Assistants

Dental Assistants are very versatile. They are well trained in a variety of areas to properly assist Dentists and Hygienists perform quality dental work on all individuals. The duties will depend on the state regulations, the type of dental facility, and how that particular facility has their operations set up. Often the smaller the dental facility, the more types of duties the Dental Assistant will be trained in.

Typical Dental Assistant tasks include sterilizing instruments and setting up instrument trays. The proper cleansing and sterilizing of dental instruments is a detrimental part of providing quality service to all patients. Instrument trays are set up with the proper tools and equipment that can possibly be needed for a particular dental procedure. Dental Assistants get these materials together and in the area where the procedure will take place. This helps things run smoothly and allows the Dentist or Hygienist to remain focused on the procedure. It eliminates searching for each item as it is needed.

Dental Assistants often remain with the dentist or Hygienist during the procedures. They are responsible for suction and for handing the instruments to the other staff throughout the procedures. They are also there to offer instant assistance if an emergency arises during the procedure. In some dental facilities, the Dental Assistant will monitor the vital signs of all patients as well as administer local anesthetics.

Dental Assistants often help to make patients feel comfortable before, during, and after their procedures. They can offer a king word, help adjust lighting and chair position, and provide the patient with follow up information to care for their procedures. Dental Assistants are often asked to make phone calls and follow up on the recovery process for some patients after major procedures including root canals, bridges, and extractions.

It is common for Dental Assistants to perform X-rays and other lab procedures including castings for caps and bridges. They often talk to patients about their medical history and any types of communicable diseases. They discuss proper care after procedures to ensure patients do all they can to allow their procedures to heal properly. They may even call in prescriptions as a courtesy to patients.

Dental Assistants are trained in emergency procedures. While it is unlikely anything will go wrong in the dental office, occasionally it does. Some individuals suffer from an allergic reaction to the anesthetic and require medical attention. Others may swallow something and choke during a procedure. Other times a patient may stop breathing. Knowing CPR and properly monitoring vital signs are all valuable in a crisis situation in the medical facility.

As you can see, Dental Assistants are often trained in a wide variety of processes and procedures. This will help ensure they keep busy as well as add variety to their daily routine in the workplace. Dental Assistants must learn quickly as well as pay attention to details. Their role is very important to the overall functioning of the entire dental facility.

The duties of a Dental Assistant are constantly changing depending on the needs of the patients and changes in technology. It is important that Dental Assistants keep up on such changes. Often, their employer will require them to attend trainings, workshops, and seminars to keep up with all the changes and brush up in any areas necessary to provide the best possible services.

Dental Assistant Training

Pursing a career as a Dental Assistant can be very exciting. With so many employment opportunities to choose from, it is an excellent choice for those who are interested in working in the dental field, enjoy working with people, and enjoy some variety in their daily routine. The duties of a Dental Assistant vary according to patient need. Your job will be assisting the dentist and hygienist to deliver quality oral health care. If you are interested, contact your dentist and ask if you can shadow the office for a day to see what really goes on. Most will be very willing to accommodate your request.

Dental Assistant training takes place either in a program at a Dental School or local college. Some dental offices choose to train their Dental Assistants in house without any schooling. Most Dental Assistant training programs last from 12 months to 24 months. It depends on the state requirements and the curriculum for the program you enroll in. You will learn the basic fundamentals of dentistry in these programs.

Upon completing a Dental Assistant course, you will know eat type of dental instrument, the proper use of each, how to properly clean all tools, how to protect yourself from communicable diseases, and effective communication skills and techniques. Make sure the program you enroll in is accredited under your state regulations.

If you are trained in a dental office, then you will get first hand experience of dental procedures as well as how that particular dental facility operates. If you choose to do this type of on the job training, take the time to research the dental office. Check with the Better Business Bureau and the State Board of Dentistry regarding complaints about that particular dentist. Do not accept a position with any dentist office that has received numerous complaints for their treatment of patients.

Most states require Dental Assistants to obtain certification within 3 months of completing a program. On the job trained Dental Assistants are not eligible to take the certification exam until they have completed 2 years of on the job training. This is to ensure to the patients that all staff members have been properly trained. You can find out when such exams will be taking place by checking online or with the instructor of your Dental Assistant program.

This exam with require both a written test of your knowledge and a presentation of your skills. The written portion will be based on the basic fundamentals of dental care and sanitation issues. The presentation will require you to show a state examiner your ability to properly cleanse and sanitize all instruments. You will likely be asked to perform several tasks for the state examiner to observe. This is done to verify your ability to perform what you learned in the classroom setting.

Dental Assistant training is time well invested in your future, with a wonderful career in the dental field with numerous job opportunities. It is important to choose your training program wisely as you want to be a valued asset when you start trying to secure employment. Dental assistants are very valuable to the dental office and to patients. They are often the person patients come into contact with before and after their procedures. Dental Assistants can help patients who are afraid or nervous prior to a procedure taking place.