Dental assistants are primarily responsible for providing services related to patient care and must first sterilize and disinfect instruments and equipment to be used by the dentist. After obtaining and updating the patient’s dental records, it is the dental assistant’s duty to make sure the patient is comfortable for the procedure. Many dental assistants are also responsible for preparing materials for dental impressions and restorations, applying topical anesthetics on the gums and placing dental dams in the mouth before procedures, removing excess cement and surgery sutures from the mouth after procedures, placing and removing periodontal dressings, polishing the teeth to remove stains, and any other duty directed by a dentist or legally authorized in their state.
Secondary Duties and Responsibilities
Many dental assistants are also hired to perform secondary duties in the laboratory and office in addition to patient care duties. In the office, secondary responsibilities may include scheduling and confirming appointments, receiving and seating patients in the treatment area, keeping treatment records, managing that dental assistants working in the laboratory may be responsible for include making stone and plaster teeth and mouth casts, fabricating temporary crowns, bridges and mouth guards, fabricating orthodontic retainers and exposing and developing X-rays.
Special Duties and Responsibilities
Some dental assistants may also be called on to provide patient and community education.