As an intra-oral dental assistant, you will support and assist dentists, dental hygienists, and dental therapists as they complete examinations and treatments of patients. Assisting and supporting dental professionals can mean a variety of different things. Intra-oral dental assistants might be required to do anything from preparing patients for examinations and treatments, to sterilizing instruments and equipment, and educating patients on oral health and hygiene.
Keep reading if you want to learn more about some of the different responsibilities of an intra-oral dental assistant.
1. What You’ll Learn About Instrument Maintenance and Sterilization in Dental Assistant Training
Maintaining and sterilizing instruments and equipment is an important part of an intra-oral dental assistant’s job and a key feature of dental assistant training. It is also essential in ensuring that a dental office can operate safely and efficiently. Sterilizing equipment refers to the process of ensuring that such equipment is free of microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. Because patient safety is crucial in dentistry, using only sterile equipment to complete different procedures is a must.
Dental offices have very advanced sterilization equipment to help with the process
In many dental offices, equipment is usually cleaned with the help of an ultrasonic cleaner or a specialized instrument-washer. Once instruments are cleaned, dried off, and packaged, they are sterilized using steam autoclaving, dry heat, or a chemical vapor machine. When the instruments have been cleaned and sterilized, they are stored in a protected area.
2. Intra-Oral Dental Assistants Have to Prepare Patients for Exams and Treatments
Another responsibility of intra-oral dental assistants consists of preparing patients for exams and treatments. A dentist may have to see as many as 8-12 patients per day and getting through all of these patients is only possible with the help of an intra-oral dental assistant. A dental assistant course will teach you how to prepare patients for examinations. For example, the room will have to be cleaned and stocked with the necessary equipment and the patient’s dental history records must be available for the dentist to consult.
When preparing a patient for any procedure, it is also important to explain to them the different steps that the procedure will require. By doing this, they will know what to expect and will be reassured. This makes the work of the dentist easier, especially when dealing with children.
Preparing patients well can help an entire procedure or treatment go much smoother
3. Remember that Education is a Central Responsibility of Dental Assistants
Finally, all oral health professionals have a responsibility to educate patients on different aspects of oral health and wellness. For an intra-oral dental assistant, this can mean explaining different things to patients about maintaining their oral health. This may include instructing them on proper brushing and flossing techniques and what foods or activities they should avoid for the sake of their oral health. You may also educate patients on more specific areas of oral hygiene, such as how to properly care for dentures. The dentist may recommend specific programs of treatment, especially for those suffering from oral health issues, and you will need to ensure that the patient understands what the dentist is telling them.
Are you interested in completing a dental assistant program?
Contact Oxford College today to learn more!