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Dental Assistant and Oral Hygienist PDF Print E-mail

Jobs overview
Dental assistants help dentists to perform various procedures speedily, efficiently and with minimum discomfort to the patient.

They work alongside the dentist in his/her surgery.

Oral hygienists are professional oral health educators, who assist individuals towards optimum oral health.

They have their own consulting room within the dentist's practice.

What do people do in these jobs?
Dental assistants:- are trained in dentistry techniques and may also perform other general duties.

They meet patients, put them at ease and prepare them for examinations, treatments or surgical procedures.

Dental assistants should have a thorough knowledge of the instruments required for every dental procedure, as well as the steps in the procedure so that they can pass instruments to the dentist in the correct order.

They prepare dental materials and injections and rinse and clean the patient's mouth.

Sometimes they adjust the light above the patient to ensure proper vision for the dentist.

Dental assistants also assist with taking and developing X-rays and are responsible for sterilising instruments and maintaining dental equipment.

Oral hygienists:- often have patients referred to them by the dentist, but sometimes assist during dental operations.

They give oral health education, either to individuals or to groups. ?They do scaling, root cleaning, polishing teeth and polishing restorations.

They take intra and extra-oral X-rays.

They may also administer fluoride treatment, apply fissure sealant, and examine for early signs of tooth and gum diseases. ?They also desensitise sensitive teeth.

What kinds of people are suitable for these careers?
Both dental assistants and oral hygienists must have the ability to work with people.

They should display a professional, but sympathetic, attitude towards the public, especially children.

They should be patient, polite, tactful, helpful confident and should themselves inspire confidence by a neat, efficient appearance.

What qualifications are needed?
For both jobs good school-leaving results in mainly science subjects are best.

Oral hygienists will in addition need specific qualifications in oral hygiene obtainable by further studies.