Dental Assistants Provide Care to Low Income Families

Dental Assistants take pride in providing quality care to patients. They assist Dentists with procedures and Dental Hygienists with assistance during preventative cleanings. However, many Dental Assistants understand there is a population of individuals who do not receive the dental care they should because they have no insurance and they can’t afford to pay for it out of pocket. The result of not obtaining proper dental care is ongoing health and dental issues that spiral out of control.

Many low income families are not receiving dental care. Often, dental programs are available through a variety of programs including Child Development Services, Migrant Services, and Head Start. All of these programs are conducted throughout the United States. These programs provide schooling for children and parenting skills for parents. The programs often include programs of budgeting, meal planning, family activities, and dental care. These programs are Federally funded.

In these programs, children and their families receive dental care for free. This requires qualified Dental Assistants to assist Dentists and Dental Hygienists in their work of providing procedures and dental cleanings to patients in these programs. Since their dental care is limited, it is very important for them to become educated about oral hygiene. Education becomes a key for them to work hard to maintain quality dental hygiene on their own as much as they can.

Dental Assistants often conduct training workshops for these types of programs, stressing the importance oral hygiene. The programs include information on brushing twice a day, the proper way to brush, the importance of flossing, and the proper way to floss. Family members are generally given handouts as well as toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and pills that will show the plaque you missed on your teeth by turning the areas a bright color. These educational workshops are very helpful to the families involved in these programs.

For children and adults who have severe dental needs, this many be the only way they will ever be able to have those needs addressed. Dental Assistants who work with low income families often earn less than Dental Assistants in other dental fields of employment. However, they find a strong satisfaction in helping families obtain dental care. To them, it is more rewarding than any increase in pay.

The lack of programs to help with those who can’t afford adequate dental care is a huge concern for Dental Assistants all across the Nation. It is an issue that needs to be addressed locally, statewide, and on a Federal level. Many Dental professionals agree to assist with education and providing services to low income populations because they understand the dire need of such care.

While Medicare and Medicaid programs under Federal guidelines offer some relief for families, many don’t qualify for the programs, yet still don’t earn enough money to pay for the care on their own. In addition, most dental facilities don’t accept the Federal programs or they only accept a limited number of participants at a time.
The Surgeon General has only yet begun to conduct studies on the effects of low income families not receiving the dental care they need. However, they do agree that the issue needs to be addressed. They have implemented some strategies to improve the situation.

They would like to see the expansion of mobile dental clinics, public dental clinics, and school based dental clinics. They would also like to see schools and other educational programs focusing more on oral hygiene. Possibility adding toothbrushes and areas to each classroom for students to use after breakfast and lunch on a daily basis.

The Surgeon General is also looking into developing programs for dental staff, including Dental Assistants to receive assistance with tuition if they agree to work in low income dental facilities for a specified period of time. It is their hope that the staff will choose to remain their after that time period has ended because they see how beneficial their services are to the patients they are serving.

Dental Assistant Training

Pursing a career as a Dental Assistant can be very exciting. With so many employment opportunities to choose from, it is an excellent choice for those who are interested in working in the dental field, enjoy working with people, and enjoy some variety in their daily routine. The duties of a Dental Assistant vary according to patient need. Your job will be assisting the dentist and hygienist to deliver quality oral health care. If you are interested, contact your dentist and ask if you can shadow the office for a day to see what really goes on. Most will be very willing to accommodate your request.

Dental Assistant training takes place either in a program at a Dental School or local college. Some dental offices choose to train their Dental Assistants in house without any schooling. Most Dental Assistant training programs last from 12 months to 24 months. It depends on the state requirements and the curriculum for the program you enroll in. You will learn the basic fundamentals of dentistry in these programs.

Upon completing a Dental Assistant course, you will know eat type of dental instrument, the proper use of each, how to properly clean all tools, how to protect yourself from communicable diseases, and effective communication skills and techniques. Make sure the program you enroll in is accredited under your state regulations.

If you are trained in a dental office, then you will get first hand experience of dental procedures as well as how that particular dental facility operates. If you choose to do this type of on the job training, take the time to research the dental office. Check with the Better Business Bureau and the State Board of Dentistry regarding complaints about that particular dentist. Do not accept a position with any dentist office that has received numerous complaints for their treatment of patients.

Most states require Dental Assistants to obtain certification within 3 months of completing a program. On the job trained Dental Assistants are not eligible to take the certification exam until they have completed 2 years of on the job training. This is to ensure to the patients that all staff members have been properly trained. You can find out when such exams will be taking place by checking online or with the instructor of your Dental Assistant program.

This exam with require both a written test of your knowledge and a presentation of your skills. The written portion will be based on the basic fundamentals of dental care and sanitation issues. The presentation will require you to show a state examiner your ability to properly cleanse and sanitize all instruments. You will likely be asked to perform several tasks for the state examiner to observe. This is done to verify your ability to perform what you learned in the classroom setting.

Dental Assistant training is time well invested in your future, with a wonderful career in the dental field with numerous job opportunities. It is important to choose your training program wisely as you want to be a valued asset when you start trying to secure employment. Dental assistants are very valuable to the dental office and to patients. They are often the person patients come into contact with before and after their procedures. Dental Assistants can help patients who are afraid or nervous prior to a procedure taking place.

Dental Assistants in Orthodontics

Dental Assistants are becoming more and more popular in the area of orthodontics. This is due to new technology for orthodontics as well as the increase in the number of children and adults seeking orthodontic care. Dental Assistants normally complete a variety of duties including sterilizing dental tools and assisting both Dentists and Hygienist with procedures. This generally entails sitting in on such procedures, handing the staff the necessary tools and equipment as the procedure it taking place. Dental Assistants may also find themselves assisting with lab work.

The role of Dental Assistant in the area of Orthodontics is different. They will generally still be responsible for sterilizing all dental tools. However, they will have more hands on work inside the mouth of the patient. These tasks include fixing loose brackets, changing rubber bands, and tightening wires. Many Dental Assistants love working in orthodontics because of the hands on work they get to do with the patient. They also enjoy getting to see the patient every few weeks from the beginning of the process until the end. Generally individuals wear braces for two years or longer.

Being a Dental Assistant in an orthodontic setting is not something that is commonly taught in a Dental Assistant program. It is a specific area of specialization, and most Dental Assistant programs are designed to give you an understanding of the basic elements of dentistry only.

Most training for Dental Assistants in the area of orthodontics takes place on the job. Generally, by having another Dental Assistant walk you through the process, then watching you perform it on actual patients. This can be intimidating for some Dental Assistants as they are used to learning by observing in the dental field rather than taking on the task at hand. Other Dental Assistants thrive in this type of learning environment, enabling them to really excel in the orthodontic field.

With the use of Dental Assistants, many orthodontic offices are meeting the demand for treatment in a very unique way. Dental Assistants are set up to specialize in a particular area of the orthodontic process. Many patients are scheduled for the same appointment time, and then dispersed to various dental assistants depending on their needs.

For example, one such dental facility has all patients sign in to see the Orthodontist first. He quickly reviews their progress, documents the chart, and puts the chart into a file on the wall. Dental Assistants come here to pull the charts of those in their slot on the wall. There are Dental Assistants to take X-Rays and to make adjustments. These adjustments include adjusting wires and changing rubber bands. Other Dental Assistants perform repairs including changing brackets and removing excess cement on the teeth. There are also Dental Assistants to remove the braces and others to take the molds for retainers.

Once the patient has seen the necessary Dental Assistant based on the needs that should be addressed during that visit, the patient is taken back to the area where they first signed in. They again see the dentist who reviews the work completed by the Dental Assistant. The Dentist will record necessary notes on the chart including when the patient should be seen again. The patient then takes their chart to the reception area, schedules an appointment, and they are on their way. This method has proven to be fast and effective. It is well organized, like worker ants doing their part to make it all flow well.

The advantage to this type of system is that more patients can be seen on a daily basis. Therefore, the cost of treatment is often reduced. However, patients will find themselves seen by numerous Dental Assistants over the course of their treatment. Many Dental Assistants enjoy working in the area of orthodontics. They like the hands on interaction with the patients as well as providing quality care to those in need of orthodontic procedures.

Dental Assistants

The role of a Dental Assistant is to help Dentists and Dental Hygienists carry out the duties of providing quality dental care to individuals as well as providing an environment with sterile equipment and a comfortable setting for the procedures to take place in.

Dental assistants are a valuable resource to the area of dentistry. While they aren’t qualified to perform cleanings or extensive dental procedures, they keep things moving at a steady pace. Their role is often behind the scenes getting everything ready. There are more duties to Dental Assistant than what meets the eye.

Being a Dental Assistant takes a particular type of person. You have to enjoy working with the public. You also have to have confidence in your abilities. A sincere interest in the dental field and helping others are also recommended. Dental Assistants must have excellent communication skills as they are an important part of the patient and dental staff relationship.

Dental Assistants generally review the medical history with the patient and help them feel comfortable prior to procedures taking place. The often explain what the procedure entails and what will be taking place. The Dental Assistant will be present during the procedure to assist either the Hygienist or the Dentist. During the procedure, the Dental Assistant will clear out the patient’s mouth, adjust the chair, move the lights, and anything else that can make the experience better for the patient. After the procedure the Dental Assistant will explain follow up treatment to the patient as well as provide the patient will information to assist in the healing process.

A Dental Assistant has to know how to prioritize their time to ensure all their duties are taken care of. One of the most important duties of a Dental Assistant is proper cleaning of all the dental tools. They must be properly sanitized. Each tool needs to be examined to ensure it is still usable. Dental assistants must also know what tools and equipment each dental procedure requires. This allows them to set up tool kits to have at the dental station prior to a procedure being done.

Dentists and Dental Hygienists depend on the Dental Assistant being alert and prepared during all dental procedures. They want to have all the necessary tools at their fingertips for easy access and to allow them to remain concentrated on the patient and the procedure they are performing. In some states, Dental Hygienists are allowed to administer local anesthetics to prepare the patient for their procedures.

A very important role of the Dental Assistant is to monitor the patient during the procedure. This may involve taking their vital signs. Other signs to watch for include changes in breathing patterns, disorientation, and a glazed look in the eyes. All of these can indicate an emergency situation. Patients may have an allergic reaction to the anesthetic or suffer a medical ailment such as a heart attack.

Dental Assistants need to be prepared for such emergencies to arise and react calmly and quickly. It is important that every Dental Assistant is trained in CPR. They should also have emergency phone numbers in place if the need arises. It is the responsibility of the Dental Assistant and other staff to do all they can for the patient until proper medical help arrives. Doing so can make the difference between life and death.

The role of Dental Assistant involves wearing many hats. For those in the profession, they often enjoy having a variation in their daily routine. They love working with people as well as working in the dental profession. Being an effective Dental Assistant involves willingness to continuing learning. It requires a positive attitude and attention to details. The best Dental Assistants are those who know how to effectively communicate with the patients and the staff they work with. This is a great career for those who feel they can handle the ongoing needs that are placed in their hands.

The Risk of Communicable Disease for a Dental Assistant

Dental Assistants need to make sure they fully understand the risk of communicable diseases. A communicable disease is one that is transmitted by saliva, blood, and other bodily fluids. Dental Assistants are at a very high risk because their hands come into contact with patient’s mouths all day long. This exposes them to saliva and often blood. While patients are asked to disclose information about communicable diseases including HIV, many choose not to. Some communicable diseases such as herpes form sores in the mouth and Dental Assistants need to be able to identify them. A Dental Assistant should assume every patient is contagious and take all precautions against infection.

Dental Assistants should always were gloves while working with patients. Even if they are only observing the procedure. This is because you never know what a normal procedure will turn into a crisis. The Dental Assistant will have to be able to jump in and assist at a moments notice. There is no time to stop to put on gloves, and it is not accepted in the dental field to perform any type of procedure without them.

If you feel that you have poked a hole in a glove, immediately throw it away and replace it. Do not take any chances. Communicable diseases can make you ill as the least or result in death at the other extreme. Since open sores are the most common way for communicable diseases to enter your body, make sure any such sore is completely covered with a bandage, band aid, or other covering that won’t come off with your gloves. Keep the sores covered until they have healed completely.

Another valuable way to prevent communicable diseases is to follow all safety procedures as outlined by the employer. If you are unclear, ask. Never take shortcuts, especially in the areas of sterilizing tools and the proper use of tools. This can lead to serious repercussions if other patients become infected with communicable diseases from dirty tools.

If you find that you have come into direct contact with saliva, blood, or other bodily fluids that could potentially lead to a communicable disease, wash the area immediately with soap and water. Many communicable diseases including the flu and the common cold can’t survive soap and water. You will also need to report the incident to your direct supervisor.

All dental facilities have policies and procedures in place for dealing with contact of saliva, blood, or other bodily fluids. It is important that you completely understand these policies and procedures from the first day of employment. Make sure you follow them completely if you do experience such contact. Most dental facilities will have the procedures written and in an easily accessible location for quick reference.

Working as a Dental Assistant is a fun and rewarding career choice. You will have the opportunity to work with many people and to learn more about the dental field. You will be required to perform a variety of duties as well as sit in on several types of dental procedures. It is important to remember that your safety is very important. Make sure you are aware of the risk of communicable diseases and follow all procedures for prevention as well as reporting if such contact does take place during your employment as a Dental Assistant.