Are you wondering what it’s like to work as a dental assistant? Maybe you’re curious about what you should expect? If you’re interested in entering a dental assisting school, then you should consider what a typical day is like on the job, who you’ll interact with, and what your daily tasks may include. Here’s a short guide to a day in the life as a professional dental assistant.
Many dental assistants work full time. They may help open and close a dental office each day. Many work a typical work day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sometimes, they may have to work evenings to assist during dental procedures or surgeries or to make sure the office is prepared and clean for the next business day. Depending on the dental practice or office you work in, you may have to work weekends.
The dental assistant begins each day arriving at work about 30 to 45 minutes early, to stock and prep everything for the day and preparing for the day ahead. Dental assistants must make sure that each room is prepared, and that charts, X-rays, and necessary procedural materials, such as bonding agents, are ready. There are about 20 things to prepare for each patient and procedure, including bringing the patient to the room, seating them, and putting on their bib. These steps have to be repeated for every patient throughout the day, and oftentimes there are multiple patients being seen simultaneously in different rooms.
Throughout the day, you’ll be busy comforting and preparing patients for dental procedures, Once the room is prepared and the patient is seated, the dental assistant has to inform the dentist that the patient is ready. The assistant then helps the dentist through each step of the procedure. Dental assistants hold the patient’s tongue and cheeks back while the dentist works. They rinse the patient’s mouth and suction out extra saliva. They provide the dentist with materials as needed. And they help record notes on the patient’s chart. Afterward, they have to clean the room and get ready for the next patient.
In addition to preparing for and assisting with procedures, dental assistants often help the front desk staff by calling patients to confirm appointments. Dental assistants also help the dental hygienist with X-rays and provide them with clean instruments. In fact, dental assistants are responsible for sterilizing instruments for the entire office. They also have to order supplies and make sure the office is fully stocked. As a dental assistant, you’ll also conduct x-ray and lab tests under the guidance of dentists. You’ll also use your interpersonal skills to communicate with patients and educate them on practical and proper dental hygiene. You’ll also have to ask and record details about their medical histories. Administrative tasks require them to schedule appointments and restock supplies. Needless to say, it’s never a dull day in the office.
In Washington state dental assistants are able to perform:
- Coronal polishing
- Sealant application
- Fluoride application
- Topical anesthetic application
- Chairside restorative procedures
- Crown and or bridge procedures
- As well as so much more
Dental assistants work closely with dental hygienists and dentists each day. They need to communicate and listen to dentists when performing x-rays and helping with procedures. A dental office can be busy with many patients undergoing checkups or procedures, so each dental assistant plays an important role in helping the movement and processing of patients in and out of the office. During the day, dental assistants may need to help each other with administrative or clinical duties. They must also communicate with each other when new dental supplies need to be ordered or restocked.
At Northshore Dental Assisting Academy, we can help you make this typical workday your reality. We are currently enrolling for our Winter/Spring 2021 session and we’d love to talk with you about making your dreams of becoming a dental assistant assistant come true. Contact us today.