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Every dental practice is made up of various dental team members. Most have an office manager, front desk staff, dental hygienists, and of course, at least one dental assistant. It’s not uncommon for an office to have many dental assistants on staff, depending on the size of the practice. And although dental assistants wear many different “hats” when it comes to keeping things on track, they are perhaps one of the most integral members of the dental team. 

Dental Assistants Support A Productive Schedule

It’s almost impossible for a dental office to run on time if they don’t have a great dental assisting department. You might even have a lead dental assistant and several other dental assistants who “float” throughout the office performing various tasks. Since assistants will typically turn rooms over between patients, set up the room for each procedure, take X-rays, process sterilization, and perform a dozen other duties, they are one of the backbones to keeping the dentist running on time. Most dental practices run on block schedules, with certain lengths of time set aside for various dental procedures. Since the dental assisting team are the ones preparing for each treatment and keeping the dentist on track, they help “make or break” the office schedule. Attentiveness and timeliness are essential! 

Depending on which state you live and work in, dental assistants can also perform expanded duties beyond that of traditional chairside assisting. Expanded duties might include coronal polishing, sealant placement, prepping temporary crowns, and more. The more dental assistants contribute to their practice, the better job security they’ll have and the prospective income they can earn. Their hard work is vital to the concerns of every member of the dental team. 

Dental Assistants Act as the Dentist’s Right-Hand

A dental assistant is an integral part of every single procedure that the dentist performs. As you’re there to suction for the dentist, pass instruments back and forth, and even mix materials, most dentists and dental office managers agree that the most successful dental assistants are always one step ahead of the doctor. They have things ready before the dentist even asks for them, review the patient records to provide a summary once the dentist steps into the exam room, and always practice impeccable infection control to keep their team and patients healthy. Yes, there are some administrative tasks like writing up records or ordering equipment, but for the most part, a dental assistant is always at the dentist’s side during his or her most important parts of the day. 

Dental Assistants Help Keep Patients Safe

The dental office is full of potential hazards, ranging from blood-borne pathogens and sharp dental instruments to radiation and medications. The proper protective precautions keep dental care safe and ensure the wellness of the patient (as well as the staff.) For example, hands-on training related to infection control ensures that cross-contamination does not occur between patients or team members. Additionally, special precautions must be taken during X-rays to ensure that everyone in the building is kept clear of scatter radiation or occupational hazardous. Dental assistants are also trained in CPR and basic life support so that they can administer medications or even operate an AED if the patient goes into a medical emergency. The better trained you are during dental assisting school, the higher level of patient satisfaction and safety you can ensure once you go into working in a dental practice. 

Dental Assistants Are Attentive To Patient And Team Needs

Dental assistants keep things running in the background. From processing sterilization packets to turning on the oxygen and nitrous oxide tanks to cleaning out traps regularly, the team synergy that assistants provide is essential to each member of the staff. The essential roles of dental assistants make them almost impossible to run a dental office without. A registered dental assistant is usually one of the first and last people that the patients see, spending more time with them than the dentists themselves. 

But patients and dentists aren’t the only people that assistants help. Many dental assistants are cross-trained to provide front office services like checking patients out, scheduling appointments, and even processing insurance claims in some cases. If your office is especially busy and the assistant is a team player, they can help assist the hygienist or turn their room around, helping lessen the time between procedures so that the entire practice can run on time. Not only does this help promote a positive work environment, but it also aids in patient retention. When the entire team is happy, the patients are too. And assistants play an important role when it comes to day-to-day patient care standards. 

Do You Have The Qualities Of A Successful Dental Assistant?

Does it sound like you have the organizational skills, teamwork ethic, and personality to become a dental assistant? Then it’s time to fast track your career in dentistry by attending the Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School. Our students receive on the job training with multiple providers, gaining an insight on what it takes to effectively run a practice and manage the various duties that spring up throughout the day. Dental assistants contribute to the care and production of a practice because without them, dentists have to work more slowly and without the additional resources they need to provide impeccable patient care. If dental assisting sounds like a career you’re interested in, consider visiting our school to learn more about the education and certification process required. We even help with job placement. 

Enroll in a Dental Assistant Training Program Today

The Pacific Northwest Dental Assistant School offers comprehensive training for dental assistants. Many of our graduates have sat for the dental assisting national board, gone on to become dental office managers, or even continued their education to enter dental hygiene or dentistry at a later point in time. Make an appointment with our intake coordinators today to learn more about the exciting pathways available by becoming a dental assistant.