Who Is the Typical Dental Patient?

dental patientIf you are looking forward to working in the dental field as a dental assistant, you might wonder who your typical dental patient will be. The truth is, when you work in a dental office, your “typical” patient will vary each day! Here are some of the characteristics you’ll find in typical patients in various venues throughout your career.

Private Dental Office
If you work in a private dental office, the types of dental patient that you will run into depend on whether you’re working for a general dentist or a specialist. General dentists often see everyone from the very young to the very old. Some patients, particularly those who have dental insurance, will come in regularly for checkups and cleanings. Others might come in more sporadically, or only when they have a toothache.

If you work for a specialist, your patient base might be less varied. For example, if you work for a pedodontist, all of your patients will be under the age of 18, and most will be quite young. You might even have babies as patients. (Some pedodontists also see adults who have developmental disabilities, in addition to children).

Working for an orthodontist will generally expose you to pre-teens and teenagers, but with more adults getting braces, you will probably also see a good number of adults as well. There will also be smaller children coming in who need orthodontic work. Periodontists and endodontists typically see adults, for the most part, though occasionally children do have problems with their gums or need a root canal.

Dental Clinic or Health Department
Some dental assistants work for dental health clinics or the public health department. A lot of the patients who you see coming in might not have dental insurance, and they also might not see the dentist very often. Sometimes dental clinics are the first course of action for people who are in a lot of pain. You will probably also see children in these types of clinics, as some towns offer free or low-cost dental care to uninsured kids in dental clinics.

Dental Schools
Another place that you might end up getting a job is a dental school. All types of patients go to dental schools to have work done; the prices are usually lower than those charged by private dental offices, so a good number might be uninsured. Others who go to dental schools for treatment need extensive work that their insurance won’t cover. You will likely see a lot of variety in the types of patients as well as the types of procedures that are done.

Working as a dental assistant is a rewarding and exciting career, especially if you love working with a variety of people! Contact us about starting on the road to your new career as a dental assistant.