Assistants, Dental

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Assistants, Dental

Assistants, Dental - Overview

Dental assistants help dentists with patient care, office tasks, and lab duties.

Dental assistants perform a variety of tasks, depending on the dental office they work in. They put out tools for the dentist to use and help prepare patients for their exams and treatments.

During procedures, dental assistants hand instruments and materials to dentists. They use suction devices to keep patients' mouths dry and clear.

When patients have surgery, dental assistants instruct them in postoperative care. They also teach patients about general oral health care, such as how to control plaque. They record exam and treatment information in patients' charts.

After procedures, assistants sterilize dental instruments and equipment and prepare tray setups.

With additional training dental assistants can perform other tasks such as:

  • Take and process x-rays
  • Apply numbing agent to gums
  • Apply fluoride
  • Prepare teeth for fillings
  • Remove stitches

Dental assistants who have lab duties make models of the teeth from impressions taken by dentists. They also may polish removable appliances, such as bridges, and make temporary crowns.

Dental assistants with office duties schedule and confirm patient appointments. They keep records, send bills, and take payments. They also order dental supplies and materials.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.