What Exactly Does a Dental Assistant Do?

So, you want to become a dental assistant. Congratulations! This is an interesting career that has the potential to increase your earnings over time. Also, it doesn’t require years of study; you’ll learn everything you need to know to successfully enter the job market in just three months when you study with Sunrise School.

So, what exactly does the career entail? Read on for some of the tasks you can expect to do during your career as a dental assistant.

Preparing Dental Trays
As the dentist whom you work for sees patients, he or she will need a tray of sterilized instruments. Part of your job will be to prepare these trays. You’ll learn which instruments are important for each procedure during your education at Sunrise School, but each dentist will have his or her own favorites! You’ll get to know these during the course of your employment, and soon enough, will have everything that the dentist needs within easy reach.

Assisting With Procedures
One of the most exciting parts of dental assisting is taking part in four-handed dentistry. As you work with a dentist (or with a group of dentists), you’ll learn to work seamlessly with him or her, handing over and collecting instruments, rinsing and drying teeth, and mixing cements and other filling materials. Your job is to make sure that the dentist has what he or she needs right when it’s needed. This might sound overwhelming, but it will seem like second nature once you get to know an individual dentist’s rhythms and routines.

Making Patients Feel at Home
If you are a people-person, you’ll love this aspect of the career! A large percentage of people feel intimidated, nervous or downright scared while at the dentist’s office. With your smiling, calm demeanor, part of your job will be to help your patients feel comfortable. Whether that entails bringing them a magazine, explaining what some of the dental instruments do, chatting about their vacations or providing them with a blanket or earbuds, you’ll be the one to meet them where they are and help them get through the procedures with a minimum of stress and discomfort.

Sterilizing Instruments and Cleaning Rooms
Part of dental assisting is taking part in the very necessary housekeeping that needs to take place in order to keep the operatories and instruments safe and sterile. You’ll learn how to properly clean and disinfect an exam room, as well as how to operate the ultrasonic cleaning machine and autoclave. You’ll know which instruments are cold-sterilized and which are heat-sterilized, as well as what items need to be disposed of after use.

Other Duties
Depending on the individual office that you work in, you might be responsible for ordering supplies, charting, entering information in the computer or other duties. In most offices, dental assistants take dental xrays; you’ll have your radiograph certification upon graduation from our program. Your employer will let you know exactly what you are responsible for in the office.

If this sounds like a career that you would love, please get in touch with us for more information before the next dental assisting course begins. We can’t wait to help you get started in your new career as a dental assistant!

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