Monthly Archives: December 2017

Dental Assistant Skills to Become a Dentist or Hygienist

You can complete your Dental Assistant training in about 12 to 24 months. This will provide you with the necessary skills to work in a dental facility. If you are interested in becoming a Dentist or Dental Hygienist, then it is a good idea to train as a Dental Assistant first. This will provide you with the opportunity to explore the dental field and know exactly what you are getting involved in before spending four or more years on an education in a field you are not going to enjoy.

Dental assistants help with a variety of needs in dental offices. They sterilize tools and get items ready for procedures for both Dentists and Hygienists. They assist during the actual procedures, handing necessary tool and equipment. In some states, they are even allowed to administer local anesthetics.

Dental Assistants have a front row seat for all the dental procedures as they take place. Careful observation of techniques will be a great learning experience for them. While Dental Assistants aren’t allowed to perform the procedures they are watching due to licensing issues, they definitely come to learn the process for each procedure.

Once a Dental Assistant decides to continue their education and pursue a career as a Dentist or Hygienist, they knowledge they gained in the dental office will be very valuable. Since the Dental Assistant has watched procedures take place many times, they are more likely to complete the procedures accurately themselves during the learning process of their continued dental education program.

Many Dentists want to keep the qualified staff they have. They are often willing to work your schedule around your classes. Some in larger dental offices might offer to assist you with the cost of attending the classes or reimburse you for your education upon completion if you agree to work for them.

Working as a Dental Assistant prior to becoming a Hygienist or Dentist gives you an edge on the competition. You will have work experience and education to market versus only education. Many employers want both when they hire dental Hygienists and Dentists. You will also have very sharp skills in the areas of communication and understanding fears patients may have when they enter the dentist office.

A certificate as a Dental Assistant can be a mere stepping stone for some who have greater ambitions in the dental field. However, the experience is one you will find educational and full of opportunity. You will also be more likely to treat new Dental Assistants with compassion and take them under your wing as they enter the dental field in the future.

All fields of dentistry continue to grow because people are taking better care of their teeth then ever before. New technology has lead to procedures that are not as painful as in the past, encouraging patients to come in for dental care. People are also living longer, so their teeth need to last longer.

If you are a Dental Assistant with an interest in pursuing a career as a Dentist or Hygienist, look into various programs in your area. Some with give you credit for the work you are doing at your position in the dental office. It will depend on the program and what types of tasks you are performing. However, many people find out they have less courses to take, saving them both time and money if they look into this prior to enrolling in a dental program.

Dental Assistant Relationships with other Staff

Having a career as a dental assistant is a great opportunity to work with others in the dental profession. The most common staff you will work with in a dental facility are Dentists, Dental Hygienists, and the Receptionist. It is very important that you forge quality relationships with the other staff you work with. The smaller the dental facility, the more important it is as everyone will have to work well together to allow the facility to function properly.

Since you will be present for the procedures conducted by Dentists and Hygienists, patients will quickly pick up on any staffing issues. I went to a dentist for years. He was great to me and my children. However, he continually was impatient with his staff, especially the Dental Assistants. We went for cleanings every six months. We loved the Dental Hygienist. However, she was often in tears over is behaviors. We also noticed that the Dental Assistant staff changed almost every time we came in. It didn’t take too many years before he went out of business because patients were tired of seeing the behaviors and he couldn’t find help that would work for him.

Communication skills are a great asset for any profession, but as a Dental Assistant it is a must. You will be interacting with patients, staff, insurance companies, and family members of patients. It is very important you are able to make everyone feel comfortable and that you convey the message that you are approachable. Poor communication skills can result in your career as a Dental Assistant not working out for the long haul.

To ensure proper communication among staff members, dental facilities need to arrange trainings. These should be informative, explaining to everyone what is expected as far as interoffice relationships. It should be clearly stated that lack of respect for co-workers will not be tolerated. Policies and procedures should also be in place for employers to resolve any conflicts with other employers. Everyone should know where they are to report and such issues that they can’t work out with the other staff member or members.

Many dental facilities require staff members to attend communication workshops. These are often very fun and interactive workshops, showing more effective methods of communication. They generally include information on individual communication as well as group efforts. These workshops are conducted by individuals who customize the workshop to meet the needs of your group. This makes the sitting more intimate and usable in your dental facility.

To help alleviate stress and issues among co-workers, each staff member should be made aware of what other staff members are responsible for. Many inter-office struggles are the result of workers believing others are not carrying the same weight. Most employees complete tasks behind the scenes, so this assumption is based only on what is being seen on the front lines.

Effective communication is essential in the role of Dental Assistant. It is imperative to your career that you understand various communication styles. It is also very important that you are aware of your own communication style. You want others to view you as enthusiastic about your job and willing to assist in anyway possible.

Effective communication doesn’t mean that you let other staff members take advantage of you or belittle you. It simply means being able to put forth your best efforts to work well with others. You are all committed to providing patients with quality care. This can’t be accomplished if you have issues of communication standing in the way.

Most issues that arise from communication is assuming you know what the other person means or what they will say. Make sure that you reflect back what is being said to you by other staff members. This way any misconceptions can be resolved up front before they escalate into major issues that affect everyone’s work performance. Since we all spend so many hours at our place of employment, it is very important to make it a comfortable place to be.

Patient Rights in Regard to Dental Care

Dental Assistants work hard to help Dentists and Dental Hygienists provide quality care to patients. They try to provide patients with the knowledge of proper dental care as well as information about the procedures they are about to undergo. Patients have rights in regards to their dental care that Dental Assistants need to be aware of and respectful of.

Dental patients have the right to make an informed decision about their dental care. It is the responsibility of the Dental Assistant to make sure they know the facts about the procedures, the alternative options, and any risks involved in the procedures. Dental patients have the right to receive care from qualified staff members. Most dental offices will provide the licensing and credentials of staff members upon patient request.

The right to receive quality care is important to patients. Dental Assistants can do their part by taking the time to properly clean all dental tools and equipment. Standard sterilization procedures need to be followed accurately. Patients have the right to ask questions and receive informed decisions about the care they receive. Dental Assistants have the responsibility of keeping the lines of communication open. They need to be approachable by patients.

A patient has the right to refuse treatment or discontinue treatment at any time. The Dental Assistant needs to be respectful of this choice. However, the Dental Assistant has the responsibility to inform the patient of the health risks involved with doing so. Those patients wanting to continue care have the right to be seen at scheduled appointments and for a detailed treatment plan to be carefully outlined, and then followed.

Emergency situations do occur. Patients have the right to be seen as soon as possible. In the mean time, the Dental Assistant needs to do everything possible to reduce the pain and make the patient comfortable. Dental care can be expensive. Patients have the right to receive an itemized cost of treatment prior to accepting any dental services.

All patients want to be treated with dignity and respect. The patient who comes in with poor oral care habits doesn’t want the Dental Assistant to ask them rude questions about the last time they brushed their teeth. However, it is important for the Dental Assistant to express concern about the patient’s oral health habits, and provide education to help the patient develop better oral care practices.

Dental patients have the right to confidentiality. Dental Assistants need to keep information about procedures and those coming in for them to themselves. No one wants everyone in town to know they had two cavities or that they got their teeth whitened. Confidentially is very important to individuals in all areas, and their dental care is no different. A patient has the right to request copies of all information in their file at any time for their own use.

All patients have the right to express their concern over the dental care they received. They have the right to file a complaint against the Dental Assistant or other staff with the State Dental Board. Each state has their own policies and procedures for investigating complaints. The standard procedure includes obtaining the complaint in writing, sending a copy of the complaint to the dental facility, interviewing witnesses to the event, and making an informed decision on how to handle the complaint.

Dental Assistants need to be fully aware to patient rights. It is easy to get caught up in the procedures and duties of the dental profession. However, the satisfaction of the patient is the key to providing quality service and maintaining ongoing relationships with patients. Dental Assistants can do their part by providing patients with an approachable individual that they can discuss their needs, ideas, thoughts, and concerns over their dental care with. In that regard, a Dental Assistant can serve as a lesson between the patient and the other dental staff.