The Role of a Dental Assistant
When you visit a dental office, you meet several members of a professional staff with different job titles and responsibilities. Dental assistants perform a wide variety of duties and may spend quite a bit of time with patients. A dental assistant could also be unofficially called a patient assistant or a general office assistant, because he or she performs so many tasks and is closely involved with patients.
So what exactly does a dental assistant do? Different states have different rules for dental assistants and the tasks they are allowed to perform. Generally, dental assistants may do some of the following things:
- Radiography, including both taking and developing x-rays
- Sterilizing instruments and equipment
- Office management tasks
- Talking to patients about their medical history
- Phoning in prescriptions
Dental assistants may also directly perform some aspects of dental procedures under the direct supervision of a dentist. These could include placing temporary crowns, applying fluoride treatment, examining the oral cavity, removing sutures and applying topical anesthetics.
In Alabama there are two levels of dental assisting: dental assistant and expanded duty dental assistant. There are no specific educational requirements for dental assistants in the state, but many dental assistants have completed formal training programs and are certified. Certification for expanded duty dental assistants was first made available in 2013, and laws are still developing in this area.
With over 3,400 practicing dental assistants in Alabama, most dental patients will meet and work with a dental assistant when they visit a dental office. A dental assistant may be the person you get to know the best during your office visits, as he or she may spend time talking with you and getting you ready for your appointment. It may also be a dental assistant who gives you discharge instructions and plans your next appointment with you.
At Alabama Family Dentistry, the staff at our four locations in the Birmingham area is dedicated not only to your oral health, but also to making sure that you are comfortable, secure and confident at every appointment you have at our offices. If you need a dental checkup or would like to learn about any of our services, call Alabama Family Dentistry now and a member of our friendly staff will be happy to help you.
These are our four locations:
- Warrior Family Dentistry (205) 647-3181
- Gardendale Family Dentistry (205) 631-7301
- Acton Road Family Dentistry (205) 823-2258
- Sumiton Family Dentistry (205) 648-6054