Your dental team has many members, from the dentist to the hygienist to the front office team. This month, we honor another integral group member, the dental assistant.
Dental Assistant Recognition Week (DARW 2022) is March 6-12. The American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) takes the first week in March every year to honor these hard-working dental practice team members. This year's theme is "Passionate About Our Patients, Dedicated to Our Profession." Here at Smile Generation, we celebrate the dental assistants at over 850 Smile-Generation trusted dental practices nationwide.
You might have noticed the dental assistant when you undergo treatment with the dentist. But do you know what they are doing and how it helps? You might be surprised to learn all the ways that dental assistants are integral to your clinical care while you are in the dental practice.
Dental assistants' clinical responsibilities include helping the dentist with the necessary dental instruments and suctioning moisture away from the dentist's working area during treatment procedures. However, they also do many things you might never see, like maintaining the dental materials inventory for the practice and preparing the work area for your treatments.
Dental assistants also take care of you. For example, dental assistants can help you improve your oral hygiene. Dental assistants even schedule your appointments or work with you on billing and payment in some dental practices.
5 More Ways That Dental Assistants Enhance Your Visit
At Smile Generation-trusted dental offices, we have five more ways that dental assistants enhance your visit:
- They provide chairside and patient support: Dental assistants are the dentist's extra set of hands, often anticipating the dentist's needs. However, they are also your ally in the chair, explaining what is happening and helping relieve the discomfort you might have during your visit.
- They take your X-rays. Our offices use digital X-rays, which our dental assistants take so your clinical team can assess your oral health and diagnose any potential problems. Our dental assistants handle this efficiently to deliver the best possible experience while in the chair. Once they take your x-rays, the dental assistant checks to ensure the images are clear and then gets the X-rays to the proper place for the dentists to review during your evaluation.
- They explain your options for treatment. When the dentist or hygienist has diagnosed something in your mouth that needs treatment, the dental assistant can explain what it means and your choices for treating it. They can also answer any questions you have about a wide range of other concerns, like healing times or how to know if insurance will cover the treatment. They can also offer feedback on your oral healthcare and things to watch out for when you aren't in the office under their care. Sometimes, the dental assistant helps the dentist take impressions of your teeth for restorative care or prepare the materials for your temporary crowns. Some states have a scope of practice where the assistant can polish your teeth to remove stains and plaque and apply sealants to protect your teeth from decay, fluoride to strengthen your enamel or anesthetic before treatment.
- They keep the records. You have probably heard of charts if you work in healthcare or watch TV dramas about hospitals or medical teams. Dentists have charts, too. The dental assistant is responsible for providing your charts to the dentist before your appointment and updating your charts after the dentist sees you. They keep your patient information up-to-date and at the dentist's fingertips. In the old days, these were paper, but today's charts are digital patient records.
- They keep you safe from infection. These days, who doesn't know how important it is to sterilize the equipment and environment between dental patients? Your dental assistant has stepped up their infection control game over the past two years to meet or exceed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards.
Dental assistants are versatile and valuable members of our Smile Generation dental team. We have five reasons listed here, but we appreciate them for many more reasons than that. So, while we make it a point to celebrate their contributions this one week every year, every day in the dental practice is a day we appreciate our Smile Generation dental assistants.
We hope you will join us in our celebration of dental assistants on your next visit to one of our Smile Generation trusted dental offices. Plus, if there is anyone you want to send a shout-out to from your dental team, don't hesitate to get in touch with us. We'd love to hear from you.
- "Dental Assistants Recognition Week™." American Dental Assistants Association. www.adaausa.org. Web. Accessed 24 February 2022.
- "What Dental Assistants Do." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bis.gov. Web. Accessed 24, February 2022. < https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm#tab-2>.
- "Dental Assisting Information By State." American Dental Assistants Association. Adaausa.org. Web. Accessed 24 February 2022. < https://www.adaausa.org/Legislation/State-Information>.