It's all in a day's work! 

Description of Dental Assisting Duties

The Dental assistant is one of the first faces seen by the patient. The assistant’s friendly, expert mannerism sets the stage and prefaces everything else that will happen during their appointment time at the dental office.  The dental assistant can often make or break the patient's view of the dentist. An assistant strives to be informative, unhurried and attentive.


Dental Assistants make the patients feel welcome. They help reduce anxiety as they situate the patient as comfortably as possible in the dental chair and prepare them for treatment.


Prior to seating the patient, the dental assistant practices good infection control. The assistant must sterilize/disinfect the instruments to be used as well as the equipment in the operatory. Instruments are laid out for each procedure and the patient record is brought up on the computer or the file brought into the room.


Assistants work alongside the dentist exchanging instruments and materials. They must anticipate what the dentist will need. The assistant uses suction and other devices to keep the patient’s mouth dry and the work area clear.


Dental assistants work under the direction of the dentist to do the following:    take x-rays and process the film; isolate the tooth and work area by placing a rubber dam when necessary; apply topical anesthetic; prepare impression materials, cements and restorative materials; remove excess cement and adhesives; remove sutures; and instruct patients on postoperative and general oral health care.  Proper record entries are often made by the dental assistant.


The dental assistant’s job can be wide ranging.  Keeping track of supplies, ordering supplies and interacting with the suppliers is vital. Other facets of this exciting job can also include tacking lab cases confirming appointments, scheduling appointments and re-care, and other basic office duties.


Experienced dental assistants are also hired by many other disciplines.  Some work outside a standard office and assist traveling dentist and hygienists. Dental assistants are hired by supply companies to promote their products to dentists.  Insurance companies, dental laboratories, and software manufacturers also employ dental assistants. 


 One thing for certain, Dental Assisting is rarely boring!