In much the same way that doctors of medicine have a wide range of support staff, a dental chairside assistant allows a dentist to have skilled assistance in patient care. These highly trained professionals have a strong knowledge of various essential dental skills from radiology through to orthodontic surgery.
The Dental Chairside Assistant diploma program at the National Academy of Health and Business provides the skills and training necessary to become a successful assistant in a dental clinic. The program takes 26 weeks to complete, with an additional two weeks for job placement. Students who graduate with a 70% average or higher are eligible to continue studying for an additional 13 weeks in order to receive the “Intra-Oral Dental Assistant” designation, making them eligible to become a Level 2 dental assistant and work directly with patients.
In the Dental Chairside Assistant diploma program you’ll learn a variety of practical skills and theoretical information to propel you to success as a dental assistant, including:
– Dental terminology
– Orientation of a dental office
– Tooth morphology
– Dental radiography
– Chairside procedures
Graduates are encouraged to write the Certified Dental Assistants examination through the Ontario Dental Nurses and Dental Assistants Association in order to become a certified Dental Assistant. Graduates will also have the opportunity to complete a “Healing Arts Radiation Protection Act” module and become H.A.R.P. certified.
Prospective students should have excellent interpersonal skills and good customer service skills, as a majority of the work in the dental field requires communicating with patients and helping them feel comfortable during a variety of procedures and treatments.
Dental chairside assistants regularly work weeks of 40 hours of more, assisting dentists and dental hygienists with a variety of procedures. A Dental Chairside Assistant diploma can also lead to a career as a preventative dental assistant, an intra-oral dental assistant or a dental hygienist.
Demand for dental assistants is increasing as demand for more frequent and more intensified dental care increases – mostly due to the aging population and advancements in dental care. The demand for dental assistants is expected to rise as much as 30% over the next few years, meaning a career as a dental assistant is not only lucrative and rewarding, but stable.
Typical Job Duties
Without certification, dental assistants see to matters like the hygiene of the examination area, whether the dentist has the necessary tools laid out the way they prefer, and the sterilization of their equipment. Additionally they can take care of tasks like processing x-rays, clerical work including documenting dental procedures, and educating patients on proper dental self-care. With Level 2 certification, assistants will help the dentist perform various procedures and will perform procedures themselves, such as polishing teeth and applying fluoride.
A dental clinic or practice generally has a lot of administrative tasks, so assistants may need to order supplies, register patient arrivals or book appointments as well. Regardless of the exact job they do, their assistance allows everything to run more smoothly and gives patients the care they need.