Celebrate the Dental Assistant?
As a patient, when you go to the dental office, do you ever think to yourself who is that person taking my x-rays that is at my side throughout most of my dental visit? What do you call them? A nurse, technician, or helper. Maybe you haven’t ever thought about it because they are just always there! Actually, their title is dental assistant! Not to be confused with the dental hygienists, although both are supporting roles.
As the patient and dentist advocate, the dental assistant’s job is the glue of the office holding everything together. The dental assistant comes in contact with every patient in the dental office in one way or another. They perform many duties, from x-rays to answering the phone and making appointments, as well as ensuring everything is clean, disinfected and sterilized. Most importantly, staying by your side to keep you comfortable with the dentist throughout your visit. They are the dentists extra set of hands with a warm caring heart.
In most cases the dental assistant spends more time with you, the patient, than any other team member. Typically a connection or bond is created between you and the dental assistant during your visit. Often times, when the dentist leaves the exam room you will turn to the dental assistant to ask questions because of the trust you have established with them. The dental assistant is an important role within the dental office that can’t be replaced with modern technology.
Dental assisting is among the top 25 fastest growing occupations in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 18 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Ongoing research linking oral health and general health will likely continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services thus increasing the demand for dental assistants.
The requirements for a dental assistant vary since it is up to the state to regulate the scope of practice. Some states require dental assistants to be licensed, registered or certified, while others have no formal requirements for entry level. No matter what acronym is behind their name, they all have one thing in common, they impact their your lives by providing you with quality oral healthcare, educating and helping you feel more comfortable.
For the past 40 years, the American Dental Assistants Association has designate the first week in March as Dental Assistant Recognition Week! The theme for this year (March 5 – 11, 2017) is Dental Assistants: Patient focused with Passion and Purpose. The theme is very fitting! Next week, please take the time online or at the office to acknowledge this versatile, multi-talented dental office team member.
It would be difficult to miss the dental assistant since their main focus is you, the patient!