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.