Things I Learned from Being a Dental Assistant
Some of the most important lessons a new dental assistant will learn may come from veterans in the field. But much is learned on your own. In dental assisting understanding office procedures, adapting to fit the dentist’s work style and needs, and adjusting to the demands of each patient is often a bit of a struggle. Aspiring young dental professionals often have a hard time knowing how to make the most of those adjustments to achieve maximum success in the early years. To help you prepare for the real world of dentistry, here are some shocking revelations that all dental assistants encounter:
- Some patients never brush their teeth.
- People assume that if their parents have poor oral health or bad teeth they will automatically inherit that trait. This is not necessarily true.
- Dental hygienists are also dental assistants but with additional training.
- Tartar develops within 24 hours. Proper brushing and flossing just once during a 24-hour period will prevent tartar formation,
- Flossing is no big deal and should not be painful if you do it daily. You will experience a lot more pain if you develop gum disease from lack of proper oral care.
- Dentists do great things, but they are not miracle workers. You still must do your part to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
- You know that unamusing tale your dentist told you while examining your teeth? Your hygienist heard the same story about a million times.
- If your teeth are misaligned or crooked, you will have oral health problems. Seek orthodontic treatment. It is well worth the investment.
- Many patients have terrible gag reflexes.
- The minimal amount of radiation exposure you receive through a dental x-ray will never give you cancer.
- People tend to wait until their dental problem is at its worse before they seek help.
- Since so many people are afraid of the dentist, being a dental assistant can be challenging work. It can be hard going to work every day, facing patients who fear you and your boss.
- The needles we use are some of the thinnest gauges out there. Dental injections will not hurt if you don’t get yourself worked up.
- Small amalgam fillings will not hurt you. If there is nothing wrong with an existing metal filling, leave it alone. There is no need to replace it, the level of mercury is insignificant.
- Silver amalgam fillings last about a decade, while tooth-colored composite fillings last about five years.
- Kids should be seen by pediatric dentists. Not all general dentists are skilled and trained to treat children.
- Always follow post-surgery instructions after a tooth extraction. Too many patients do not and end up in a lot of pain they could have avoided.