Childhood is a very important time for the health of the teeth. Not only are they developing, but it’s the prime period for establishing good dental habits. Integral to maintaining oral health during this time is making regular visits to the dentist. This can be hard for any patient, but especially hard for children, who might have strong anxiety about these appointments. Dental assistants can play a big part in easing young patients’ fears as well as educating them about their oral health.
A pediatric dental assistant must go through the same education and training as a dental assistant who works with adults. The difference is that, after certification, he or she will work with a dentist who specializes in pediatrics and, in some cases, adults with special needs.
The obvious trait that is required of a good pediatric dental assistant is to have a love for kids and a basic understanding of their development. Being compassionate and patient with young ones is key to creating a positive experience for them.
Pediatric dental assistants are responsible for handling duties such as performing x-rays, helping with procedures like fillings, and taking impressions of teeth. However, because they’re working with younger patients, they have the opportunity to get creative with making the experience fun. Dental assistants are also in charge of teaching oral hygiene strategies to children. This should be done in words and phrases that they can understand. They can be allowed to practice on a doll or a large set of false teeth.
Assisting in dental procedures for children can be more complicated than ones with adults. A dental assistant will have to be quick and precise with tools and know how to react when a child gets too fearful or anxious during a procedure. Even if they aren’t nervous, children can simply get too distracted to sit long enough for a filling to be put in. Dental assistants will have to know how to keep them occupied to get the treatment completed.
There is a growing demand for dental assistants who are comfortable working with children. If you have the qualities mentioned above, and are passionate about improving children’s oral health, pediatric dental assisting could be for you.