A Day in the Life of a Dental Assistant
A dental assistant has many different responsibilities that they are required to perform
in the office. As a dental assistant, your job description will be continually changing. Most
assistants split their time working directly alongside the dentist in the exam room, performing
daily office duties, or working in the laboratory. The constant shift of required responsibilities
helps create an exciting and diverse work experience that never gets boring! This is why many
assistants enjoy their job. Each day brings on new experiences and responsibilities.
While working with the dentist in the exam room, dental assistants perform many of the
simple tasks for the dentist allowing the dentist more time to work on complex dental procedures.
Assistants usually help out by sterilizing and prepping equipment for dentists to use. They
often lay out specific instruments and tools so that they are easily accessible for the dentist.
During procedures they may hand off specific tools to the dentist when they are needed. They
can also work directly with the patients helping them to feel more comfortable by adjusting
their chair, keeping their mouth dry and clear by use of suctioning devices, or even removing
sutures from inside of their mouth. As a dental assistant, all of this is done under the close
and direct supervision of the dentist. Assistants do not perform procedures independently as
dental hygienists often do.
Dental professionals also spend a lot time performing daily office duties necessary to
keep the office up and running. These responsibilities include scheduling patients' appointments
and calling to confirm these appointments. When patients arrive in the office the dental assistant
will greet them and sign them in for their appointment. They are also responsible for keeping
and updating patients' files and records.
Any patient with a change in their insurance provider or mailing address will need to have
their file updated by the assistants. While working in the office, dental assistants will also be
responsible for sending out bills to patients and insurance companies as well as ordering any
new supplies or materials that the office may need. These responsibilities require a great deal
of clerical and good organizational skills.
On occasion, assistants will help out in the dental laboratory. Here they will assist
dentists in using mouth impressions to create casts of the patients' teeth. They will be responsible
for making temporary crowns for patients as well. In the laboratory assistants can also help
by cleaning and polishing equipment and appliances used for lab work. In some places, dental
assistants performing duties in the laboratory are required to have additional training or
certifications. This varies from state to state.
A career as an assistant can be very rewarding as well as exciting. With constantly changing
duties and responsibilities, a day at work will never be the same. This allows assistants to
spend more time doing the tasks that they enjoy which results in a much more exciting job.!
Discover the pay rate for a dental assistant with our salary charts. Read informative
articles to make sure you receive the correct dental assistant degree to start your career
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