Despite being the face of dentistry, dentists aren’t the only career path available in oral care. Dental assistants play a major part in the success of a dental clinic. Their job involves numerous demands and a dive into a side of dentistry that most people don’t see. Here are five facts new dental assistants should know before looking into or starting their journey down this job path.
1. Education Requirments
Whether you actually perform a procedure or simply work inventory, all job positions must complete specific educational requirements. On top of completing some form of higher education, an externship, and state licensing, other mandated requirements of a dental assistant include HIPAA and OSHA training compliance. Both federal obligations occur after being hired onto a clinic.
2. People Skills Versus Dental Skills
Before sending in a successful online job application, you should consider the behind-the-scenes workings of your potential future job. One side of dental work most people overlook is the social aspect of the job. Dental assistants must use their communication and social abilities, from working alongside your dentist to educating your patients. Fostering various people skills like communication and listening ensures your success.
3. Versatile Job Expectations
Dental assistants take on various odd jobs in the clinic to assist the dentists. Their job expectations include:
- Preparing patients and procedures.
- Sanitizing equipment.
- Educating patients.
- Front desk work.
- Office sanitation.
- Maintaining important records.
- Relaying pertinent information.
Assistant work includes a variety of job functions. Being versatile and flexible allows you to conquer the range of tasks on your daily to-do list and keep the office operating smoothly.
4. Health and Safety Risks
Many different jobs come with their own set of risks. In a dental clinic, the health and safety hazards of the job include exposure to diseases, chemical vulnerability, and the handling of sharp tools. Dental assistants must be prepared to properly care for themselves while at work to optimally care for their patients. Plus, following specific regulations ensures you and everyone else in the clinic stay safe and healthy.
5. State by State Differences
Although mostly similar, many differences between OSHA and WISHA compliance prove that dental regulations vastly differ depending on location, making it a unique feature of this career path. Since dental work includes a range of risks, countless regulations and established protocols surround the topic. Each State in the US enforces slightly varied versions of its ideal health and safety standards. Transferring to another state requires you to learn new mandatory practices, even though you remain in the same job field.
Dental assistants are the unsung heroes of dental clinics. They play an essential part in ensuring a community’s oral and general health and operating many behind-the-scenes functions in dental offices. These five dental assistant facts bring to light the ins and outs of this important career path, whether you’ll make a great fit, and what to expect in this job path.