Having a career as a dental assistant is a great career opportunity. You will have the ability to work in the dental profession and observe many types of dental procedures taking place. In addition to assisting dentists and hygienists with the procedures, you will have the opportunity to get to know patients as well as help them to feel comfortable before, during, and after procedures.
However, in this type of career, it is important that you are completely aware of the risks and take all necessary precautions to protect yourself. While it is very rare, some patients become upset and irate as a result of dental work. They may be afraid of the processes or not happy with the work. This can result in verbal or physical abuse taking place.
How dental offices contribute to protect the dental assistant?
Most dental offices understand the importance of a good working relationship with all individuals. They work together to make the office environment fun, relaxing, a learning experience, and a place everyone looks forward to working at. Milton Central is a great example of a comprehensive dental service provider in Halton Region, Since they spend so many hours at work in the presence of co-workers, it is important to establish quality relationships.
Dental Assistants Matter
Unfortunately, in some dental offices, Dental Assistants are treated poorly. Other staff does not show them respect or include them in things that take place both in the office and get-togethers outside of it. There are reports of Dental Assistants who claim they were sent to get coffee for the other staff and other such tasks rather than being able to participate in the dental procedures. Other Dental Assistants have reported verbal and physical abuse at the hands of the other staff. They have been ridiculed for having less knowledge and even kicked for handing staff the wrong instrument.
It is important that you do not allow yourself to continue being the victim of such abuse as a Dental Assistant. If you are having problems with other staff, let the dentist know immediately. If the issue involves the dentist, immediately remove yourself from the dental facility. You should also report the incident to the State Dental Board for further investigation.
The possibility of being infected with a communicable disease is the biggest risk Dental Assistants face. Since most communicable diseases are transmitted via saliva and blood, it is obvious why it can be such an issue. All dental offices should follow proper procedures including always wearing sterile gloves during all procedures. Dental Assistants should always wear gloves if they are in the area of a procedure. Emergencies can happen fast where you have to reach into a patient’s mouth.
Protect yourself as a dental assistant
To protect yourself, make sure you are aware of the proper policies and procedures of the dental office you work in and follow them completely. Generally, the police will be called to take a report. Since most dental offices are very small, your communication skills are very important. Your efforts to de-escalate a situation can make the difference of how it plays out.
You should always be prepared to help as well as have yourself protected:
- If you believe you have punctured your sterile gloves, immediately change them no matter how small of a hole you believe you have made. This will help protect you against communicable diseases.
- If you come into contact with saliva, blood, or other bodily fluids, immediately wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
Most dental offices have patients fill out a questionnaire asking about communicable diseases. However, since the information isn’t verified, it is unknown if it accurate. Therefore, treat every patient respectfully, but always be prepared for the risk of infection from a communicable disease.
The Demand for Dental Assistants
Dental Assistants are essential to the field of dentistry. They work hard to make sure all the dental tools are cleaned properly, patients feel comfortable, and they 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 much are effective communicators and fast learners.
The demand for dental assistants continues to grow. 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.
There are over 280,000 Dental Assistants currently employed Nationwide. Most of these Dental Assistants are working in dental offices. A small portion work in government agencies, prisons facilities, and physician offices. Many Dental Assistants are working in more than one dental office due to the demand for more Dental Assistants. The potential for this occupation is better than most other medical fields. It is anticipated that it will be one of the top contenders in growth through 2012.
There are many job opportunities for Dental Assistants in the market already. This means almost all Dental Assistants who complete a training program will secure employment immediately. This job market is Nationwide, so relocation for employment is a great possibility for those who are interested. In some instances, the employer will assist you with relocation costs.
Many individuals choose to enter the field of Dental Assistant because of the job market outlook and the rate of pay. On average, Dental Assistants earn $13.62 per hour as a new employee without any job experience. The highest noted starting rate Nationwide is in New York at $19.97 per hour. Considering the minimum wage in most states, the starting pay for Dental Assistants is at least double. That is a great incentive to pursue a career as a Dental Assistant.
Pursuing a career as a Dental Assistant can be a perfect career move. It will provide you with the opportunity to work with people, allow you to explore the dental profession, you will have not to trouble to secure employment, and the pay is great. You will also have standard working hours with paid Holidays. Most dental assistants receive discounted or free dental care for themselves and their families. Keeping all this in perspective, the demand for Dental Assistants is a great motivation to take a look into the career options.
To find out more about Dental Assistant programs in your area, contact you State Dental Board or your local colleges. You can also find great information on such programs via the internet. It is very important that you make sure any program you are considering is accredited in your state. Most programs can be completed in 12 to 24 months. Tuition assistance and scholarship programs are available. Most Human Services programs will assist with the cost of programs that can be completed within 2 years and that there is a job market for.
Areas of Employment for Dental Assistants
A career as a Dental Assistant will open many doors of opportunity. Dental Assistants will be among the highest growing occupations from now until 2012. This is because people are starting to take a better interest in their oral health. Technological advances have led many individuals to the dentist office for cosmetic dental procedures rather than just cleanings and major dental work. Also, people are living longer, so their teeth need more care to stay healthy throughout their life.
The most common place of employment to find Dental Assistants is in the dental office. Here they provide a variety of services. They often help to comfort scared patients prior to procedures as well as give them follow up care at the end of the appointment. Dental Assistants clean the tools used as well as make sure each work unit has the necessary tools and equipment ready for the next patient’s procedures.
Dental Assistants in the dental office work very closely with Dentists and Hygienists. They often sit in on all procedures, handling staff the necessary tools. Dentist offices are generally small so Dental Assistants often help with lab work. This includes making moulds of teeth for caps, bridges, and other dental work. They may also be required to assist with the taking of X-rays.
A common place for Dental Assistants to be employed is in prisons. With more and more prisons being built all over the Nation, Dental Assistants are in great demand for Federal, State, and privately owned prisons. Working as a dental assistant in a prison setting requires more caution that in a regular dental office.
All Nursing Assistants need to be aware of the risk of communicable diseases that are transmitted via saliva and blood. However, the rate of these diseases, especially HIV, is much higher with a prison population than the general public. Also, some inmates might try to attack by biting.
Nursing Assistants in a prison setting need to be alert, and never let down their guard. Inmates often look for any opportunity to escape or obtain weapons. They can use a dental tool as a weapon against you, other staff, or other inmates. It is very important that you keep very close track of all dental tools in a prison setting. Never leave a tool in the reach of an inmate for even a moment. If you discover a tool is missing, immediately notify your supervisor and follow the procedures outlined in the prison policy.
For those Dental Assistants wanting to help the lower income populations, securing employment in a Child Development Center, Head Start, or Migrant program is an excellent way of giving back to the community. Often, these populations can’t afford dental care and would go without it if the services weren’t offered as part of a government program. Employment in these types of agencies as a Dental Assistant often pays less than other employment opportunities in the field. However, many Dental Assistants make the choice to help those in need rather than earn more money.
There are many opportunities to work as a Dental Assistant for agencies who serve the disabled. Often, Dental Assistants are afraid to work with such a population. However, once you feel comfortable with disabled people and their disabilities, you will be able to provide proper care to those who are in need, regardless of their mental capacity or physical appearance.
A career as a Dental Assistant offers you many areas of employment including dental offices, prisons, low-income programs, and for facilities who serve the disabled. The ability to choose the type of environment you want to use your Dental Assistant skills in makes the field even more inviting. If you are not sure if a particular type of agency is a good fit for you, talk to them. Ask if you can shadow another Dental Assistant who works there for a few days. This should give you plenty of exposure to the activities that take place in that agency.