A Day in the Life of a Dental Assistant
Dental Assistants play an important role in a multi-specialty office. They are normally the first one to arrive in the morning and the last one to leave for the day with little breaks in between. In the morning they arrive 30 minutes early to stock new inventory, prep trays and make sure everything is ready for the first patient. Once the patient arrives and fills out the necessary paperwork the assistant greets the patient, seats them and puts the bib on the patient. At that time, they speak to the patient about what brought them into the office today. Once that is done they take an x-ray of the tooth and go over any medical history and consent to treat with the patient. These steps are repeated throughout the day and often there are multiple patients being seen at the same time in different operatories.
Once these first steps are done, the dental assistant informs the doctor the patient is ready. Once the doctor has spoken to the patient and given the patient anesthesia, the assistant then sits with the patient until they are fully anesthetized. The assistant then helps the doctor through each step of the procedure. They suction out extra saliva, provide the doctor with needed materials, record notes and make sure the patient stays comfortable. Once the doctor has completed the procedure, the assistant normally takes the final x-ray to confirm. The assistant makes any follow up appointment, goes over post- op instructions and walks the patient out to checkout. Afterward, they phone in prescriptions, disinfects the operatory and get ready for the next patient.
In addition to preparing for and assisting with the procedure, dental assistants are responsible for sterilizing instruments for the entire office, order supplies and making sure everyone is on schedule for the day. Needless to say, its is never a dull day in the life of a dental assistant.
The dental assistant is the most critical link between the patient and the doctor before, during, and after treatment. The person in this position plays an acute role in the successful delivery of treatment. The ability of the dental assistant to anticipate the needs of the doctor in any procedure and to act on them promptly is a key factor that allows an office to increase its efficiency in treating patients without compromising the quality of care.
Thank you to all the dental assistants that help Dental Specialists of Maine function each and every day.