How Does The Dental Assistant Help The Dentist?How Does The Dental Assistant Help The Dentist?

Dental assistants are a huge asset to dentists and they occupy an important place in the dental profession, performing essential tasks in a vital role within the dental health industry. The ways in which they assist dentists are numerous and varied, but they are essentially the "go-to" person for the dentist - before, during, and after the dentist performs his or her procedures.

In many ways the dental assistant becomes an extra set of hands and eyes for the dentist. Before the patient undergoes a procedure performed by the dentist, for example, the assistant will prepare the area, find the proper dental tools and instruments, and lay out a tray so that these sterilized instruments are close at hand and carefully organized. The dental assistant is the one responsible for keeping the patient's mouth clean - so while the dentist is doing such things as drilling, filling, or repairing teeth the dental assistant will hold a suction tube in the patient's mouth and move it around to drain saliva and other fluid.

But the dental assistant will also use an air and water tool to inject a stream or spray of water into the mouth, for the purpose of cleaning and rinsing. So while the dentist is working the assistant is constantly responsible for rinsing and washing and then drying the area where the efforts of the dentist are focused. Throughout the whole time that the dentist is examining the patient or performing some kind of dental procedure or surgery, the dental assistant is there to offer feedback, look after the patient, and make sure that whatever the dentist may need is quickly handed to him or her. Thanks to the help of the assistant the dentist can work much faster and be more effective, and that not only saves time and helps to ensure more successful procedures and results, but it also saves can save the patient money. Rather than having to pay the dentist to perform every procedure, in other worlds, the patient receives help from a dental assistant - and that makes it more affordable for dentists to provide extensive menus of dental care and dentistry services.

Dental assistants also help in other ways. When you first get to the dentist's office, for instance, the assistant will get you situated in the chair; begin doing a careful examination of your teeth, and take notes regarding the condition of your teeth, your fillings, and your gums. The assistant will advise the dentist of any problem areas and help to explain procedures to the patient. The dental assistant will also usually be in charge of giving the patient's teeth a thorough and professional cleaning and polishing, all the while taking care to ensure the comfort of the patient.

Assistants will also perform educational functions in the dentist office. They will teach patients how to properly care for their teeth with the right brushing and flossing techniques or help by showing them how to care for themselves during dental surgery recovery periods. Sometimes it is the dental assistant who has more face to face interaction with the patient than the dentist actually does, so their role in the dentist office is one of increasing importance and professional responsibility.
by Dr. Kevin Kelaher
References and Bibliography
Dr. Kevin Kelaher has been helping patients achieve healthy teeth and gums for over 30 years. Dr. Kelaher has been selected as one of "America's Top Dentists" by the Consumer Research Council of America. Visit his site at to find out more about his Salem MA practice
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