Dental office jobs
In addition to the dental team that takes direct care of the patient, dental office jobs are also required to help keep the dentist's office running smoothly. For example, a dentist may have an office manager to keep track of patient records and billing, schedule and keep track of patient appointments, managing insurance related tasks, and perform general typing and clerical work. In some cases, a receptionist or secretary performs clerical duties separate from records and billing, or the dental assistant may fulfill these duties, too.
Jobs for dental assistant
The dental assistant works directly with the dentist, helping him or her perform procedures by handing instruments and materials to the dentist upon direction. In addition, dental assistants sterilize and layout equipment, and make sure materials and instruments are properly laid out whenever procedures have to be performed. They also try to make patients as comfortable as possible in the dentist's chair and help get them ready for any treatment they're going to undergo. They may help during patient procedures by suctioning a patient's mouth and keeping the area dry and clear so that the dentist and work. When procedures are complete, they may go over instructions with the patient on postoperative or post procedure oral hygiene, and good oral hygiene practices in general.
Dental assistants may also take dental x-rays and process film under the direction of a dentist. They can remove searchers once properly trained, and can apply topical anesthetics to the mouth, or put cavity preventive substances on the teeth. They may also remove any excess filling material from the teeth once fillings are done, and can prepare teeth for individual treatment by placing rubber dams in the mouth.
States regulate what specific duties dental assistants can perform, but in many states, dental assistants can also perform laboratory duties such as making casts of the mouth and teeth impressions. They can also make temporary crowns or clean appliances that can be removed. They may also function as an office assistant, whereby they schedule and confirm patient appointments, act as receptionist for patients when they come in, keep track of treatment records, handle billing and payment, and order any supplies and materials the dentist office needs.
Payment for dental assistance is quite low, about $14 an hour on average. In many cases, dental assistants work part-time hours and may work several different jobs as dental assistants, scheduling different employers on different days. In a large percentage of cases, dentists will offer reimbursement to assistants who take continuing education courses.
Dental hygienist jobs
Dental hygienist jobs require more training than do dental assistant jobs. To become a dental hygienist, one must attend an accredited dental hygiene school and receive a degree. In addition, a state license is also required.
Dental hygienist jobs are more involved than those of the dental assistant. They can perform teeth cleaning on patients, and remove hard deposits such as tartar and soft deposits such as plaque from teeth. They give patients information on good oral hygiene and instruct on other preventive dental care. They also thoroughly examine gums and teeth, and report anything abnormal that they find.
In addition to teeth cleaning, they may also x-ray teeth and develop film. They may also apply cavity prevention substances to the teeth such as sealants or fluoride. In some states, dental hygienists can administer anesthetics; they may be allowed to give anesthetic shots, for example, with surges. They may also be able to construct temporary fillings and periodontal dressings, if you have an estate therein.
They and dental assistants both, along with the dentist, must wear protective gear such as surgical mask, safety glasses and gloves to protect themselves and their patients from infectious disease. As with dental assistants, dental hygienists may only work two or three days a week for a given dentist, and work for more than one employer. Many dental hygienists work part-time.
To enter a dental hygiene program, prospective hygienists must have graduated from high school and receive adequate college entrance test scores. In some cases, dental hygiene programs require that applicants have completed at least one year of college before they can enter dental hygiene school.
Earnings and outlook
Dental hygienists earn significantly better hourly wages than do dental assistants, usually averaging about $30 an hour. However, job prospects for both dental assistants and dental hygienists looked excellent, as more people understand and practice preventive care and as older people increasingly keep their teeth instead of losing them to periodontal disease and decay, as has been true in previous years.
Dental jobs of various types are considered to be within one of the fastest growing sectors of the job market. Both dental hygienists and dental assistants have excellent job prospects and relatively decent pay; dental hygienists make significantly more than do dental assistants, though.
Both dental assistants and dental hygienists must be good at working with people and be good at calming nervous patients in addition to the other talents they must possess. They also have to have good manual coordination so as to be able to perform the tasks required in the job.