What functions should a dental clinic assistant perform?
What functions a dental clinic assistant should perform
The dental assistant is an essential part of any dental clinic. Without this person, the dentist’s job would be much slower, uncomfortable and heavy, something that would undoubtedly affect the patient’s satisfaction. In this article we tell you what are the functions of a dental clinic assistant and some practical tips to improve patient care:
What is a dental assistant?
A dental assistant is a professional within the health sector that deals with assisting the dentist, managing both materials and patients and customer service. To become a dental clinic assistant you need official studies to practice the profession. There are different training cycles or careers that contemplate it, although the most usual is usually a specialized course as Dental Assistant or Dental Hygienist.
What are the functions of a dental assistant?
The functions of a dental assistant vary, they go from patient care to everything related to the instruments and the dental treatment. These are some of the functions that every dental assistant fulfils:
● Patient care when you arrive at the clinic and organization of the agenda
● Organization of all the dental instruments necessary to carry out the consultation. Prepare the necessary materials for the treatment.
● Help the dentist throughout the consultation and provide the material needed by the dentist at all times.
● Cleaning and sterilization of the material and instruments used during the intervention
● Administrative management of clients and of the consultation
The number of these functions can depend on the clinic, for example, if it is a more familiar dental clinic, the assistant will be in charge from the first contact until everything related to the assistance to the dentist. On the other hand, if it is a larger and larger company, there may be other professionals in charge of customer service and the management of visits and the assistant will be responsible for only the most technical work.
The origin of dental hygienists: Irene Newman
Irene Newman is considered to be the first dental hygienist in the world, who carried out her first prophylaxis in 1907. It was her cousin, Dr. Alfred Fones who spoke for the first time about the figure of a dental assistant, who was in charge of helping him in the dental interventions he was doing. Fones was the first to speak of ‘dental hygienist’ or ‘dental assistant’ as the person who was dedicated to health and prevention of the oral cavity. The presence of this professional figure was so important to him that, years later, in 1913 he founded the first School of Dental Hygiene to which 34 women signed up and were instructed on the anatomy of the teeth, clinical practice and histology.
One year later, 27 of them received their title of Dental Hygienist, among which Irene Newman, who officially became the first dental hygienist in the world.
Tips to improve patient care
Some basic tips to improve patient care go through such simple things as practicing empathy, listening, explaining procedures in a way that calms the patient and provide solutions that the client is looking for. This will make the patient feel heard and end up trusting the work done by both the dental assistant and the dentist.
Some of the basic recommendations to have a correct patient care would be:
● Inform of everything the patient needs to know before his intervention. Explaining every step will reduce anxiety.
● Maintain a cordial and professional attitude
● If the patient is nervous, try to reassure him or distract him to relax
● Listen to the patient, be interested in what happens to him
● Maintain good communication with the patient so there is no confusion or possible discussion
In addition to all this, it is essential to give a good service to the patient, demonstrating our quality as professionals and as a clinic. This means that we will need to adapt our dental equipment to the latest developments, especially in terms of improvements in ergonomics. A comfortable dental treatment unit in which the patient feels comfortable and relaxed can help to have a more pleasant client session, leaving nerves and stress behind.
For this reason, the Ancar S3 with knee-break chair or S5 are ideal for better ergonomics. The patient’s natural sitting position helps him to relax. It also gives more freedom of movement and accessibility to the dental professional.