Running a dental practice requires having employees who can perform a number of different tasks. While dentists and dental hygienists get the most attention, there is another job that is critical to the field: dental assistants. Dental assistants are, in many ways, the glue that keeps a practice up and running, and their expertise is essential for getting day-to-day needs done. Here are a few facts about what dental assistants do and why they need to be able to fulfill a number of roles.
Dental Assistant Duties -Prepare for Patients
Dental work requires a considerable amount of activity, and dentists and hygienists spend most of their time with patients. Dental assistants are responsible for preparing for patients and getting them situated. They also answer patients' questions and share helpful information with them. Dental assistants might perform other tasks as well; some may clean the office, and some might answer the phone and place calls.
Over time, experienced dental assistants might take on managerial roles. Ensuring compliance is critical in dental practices, and assistants might use their on-the-job training to ensure that regulations are met. Some people with management degrees choose to enter the dental field, and their education helps them ensure that the office is run in an efficient manner. Others might take night classes that give them the knowledge they need to take on additional responsibilities.
Duties May Vary
No two dental practices are the same, and each runs in a unique manner. Because of this, dental assistants might find their responsibilities to change dramatically if they move to a new practice. While not all dental assistant positions require degrees, those with certain certifications might find themselves asked to perform additional tasks, and those with the right education can demand significantly higher salaries.
Dentists and hygienists need to spend as much time as possible with patients, so a number of tasks fall to dental assistants. While this can be stressful, it also provides tremendous opportunities, and assistants who take time to learn about the field and educate themselves will have great job mobility. The responsibilities they take on can also help them transition to different fields in the future.