Dental assistants are essential to the field of dentistry. They work hard to make sure all the dental tools are cleaned properly, that the dental suites are set up properly and that patients feel comfortable. Of course, dental assistants assist dentists and hygienists with dental procedures. In addition, they help with lab work and are trained in medical emergency procedures. Combined, these duties require individuals who are energized and ready to help others. Dental assistants must be effective communicators and fast learners. At SeaCliff Dental we have hired some of the best dental assistants in the field.
The demand for dental assistants continues to grow because many people are taking more of an interest in their oral hygiene now than ever before. Since people are living longer, their teeth are requiring more preventative care as well as dental procedures. Dental technology has also made procedures less painful. As a result more people are willing to go in for dental services. Another area is the market for cosmetic dentistry. People are going to dental facilities to get their teeth whitened and to improve the shape of their teeth.
According the the American Dental Association, dental assistants perform a wide range of duties including:
- assisting the dentist during a variety of treatment procedures
- taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays)
- asking about the patient’s medical history and taking blood pressure and pulse
- serving as an infection control officer, developing infection control protocol and preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment
- helping patients feel comfortable before, during and after dental treatment
- providing patients with instructions for oral care following surgery or other dental treatment procedures, such as the placement of a restoration (filling)
- teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health; (e.g., tooth brushing, flossing and nutritional counseling)
- taking impressions of patients’ teeth for study casts (models of teeth)
- performing office management tasks that often require the use of a personal computer
- communicating with patients and suppliers (e.g., scheduling appointments, answering the telephone, billing and ordering supplies)
- helping to provide direct patient care in all dental specialties, including orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and oral surgery
In the state of California Registered Dental Assistants must meet rigorous standards. To qualify for Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) examinations, candidates must:
- Graduate from a Board-approved RDA educational program; or
- Complete at least 15 months (1,280 hours) of satisfactory work experience as a dental assistant with a dentist licensed in one of the states in the United States; or
- Complete a California Department of Education-approved 4-month educational program and 11 months of work experience with a dentist(s) licensed in one of the states of the United States.
- Complete Board-approved courses in coronal polishing and radiation safety.
- Complete and show proof of completion of a Board-approved course in the Dental Practice Act completed within five (5) years of application.
- Complete and show proof of completion of an eight (8)-hour Board-approved course in infection control completed within five (5) years of application.
- Complete and show proof of completion of a basic life support course offered by an instructor approved by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association.
- Submit fingerprint clearances from both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). This process can take 60 days or more. If a candidate has a criminal history, the arrest report and court records must be obtained and investigated before a decision is made to issue or deny the license.
To obtain a California registered dental assistant (RDA) license from the Dental Board of California (Board), candidates must:
- Pass a hands-on practical examination performed on a typodont.
- Pass a State computerized written general knowledge examination.
- Pass a State computerized law and ethics written examination.
Most Dental Assistants report long-term job satisfaction which translates into excellent care for you as a dental patient.