Dental Assistant Specialized Fields: Cosmetic Dentistry

The field of cosmetic dentistry has grown immensely due to the advances in dentistry technology and the longer age and changing needs of individuals in today’s society. More and more individuals are looking to enhance the look and feel of their gums and teeth, making this a exciting career choice. If you are interested in beginning cosmetic dental assistant training, here is some information that you may want.

The Job Duties of a Cosmetic Dental Assistant

Cosmetic dental assistants work with dentists in a variety of ways. Many of the tasks that are performed by cosmetic dental assistants are the same as regular dental assistant activities. These may include:

  • Setting appointments
  • Greeting patients and preparing them for the dentist
  • Handing the dentist instruments during surgery
  • Filing and supply ordering
  • Scheduling and billing

Dental-Degree1-300x199These assistants may also be engaged in specialized duties, directly related to the cosmetic niche. Although they will not be able to perform most of these responsibilities by themselves, they may assist dentists with the following procedures.

  • Enamel Shaping- Involves improving the shape and contour of a patient’s enamel or removing it altogether
  • Bonding- With bonding, a material that is matched to the color of a patient’s teeth is used to fix problem like cracks, chips, and broken teeth
  • Whitening- Improves the color of patient’s teeth
  • Veneers- This material is placed on teeth to help fix cracks, spaces, and damaged teeth

Educational Requirements To Become a Cosmetic Dental Assistant

While some cosmetic dental assistants may have the opportunity to learn their job duties while on the job, most attend some form of dental assistant training prior to working in this field. Many educational programs are available, and most of the time, assistants choose to either earn a diploma or an associate’s degree in this field.

Classes at a formal dental assistant training program generally include both studying inside of the classroom and laboratory work. This type of education prepares students for work in a real dental office.

After formal dental assistant training, most states, although not all, require cosmetic dental assistant to obtain certification and licensure before they can perform most of the job duties that are required in this field. Even those assistants who do not take any type of dental assistant training can take the test for certification once they have completed at least two years of on-the-job training. In order for dental assistants to renew their certification, they will have to continue their education and earn a certain number of credits every year, though.

Average Pay for Cosmetic Dental Assistants reports that hourly paid cosmetic dental assistants earn about $14.62 to start. The actual pay rate will vary, depending on the location of the work, the required job duties, and the education and experience of the assistant.

When you complete dental assistant training for cosmetic dentistry, you will have the opportunity to improve the smiles of others while earning a decent living in the health care field.

For more information on career opportunities and education for dental assistants, please follow our website.

Has Your Dental Assistant Training Prepared You for Emergencies?

Dental assistant training can teach you the ins and outs of this detail oriented job but it can’t prepare you for possible emergencies. The number one step is to use preventative measures that will help to avoid a great deal of careless problems. Avoid taking short cuts for any procedure and be completely aware of the patient’s needs at all times. This is no time to be checking your text messages or fantasizing about the latest Grey’s Anatomy episode.

IMG_0606-300x231If you’ve never been in an emergency situation then you may be thinking “What’s the worst that could happen in a dentist’s office?” Just like in a hospital or doctor’s office, there are always things that could go awry, some of which are life-threatening. Again, pay attention to the patient because if medical professionals are called in you will be required to inform them of the events leading up to the crisis. This will help them to evaluate the situation quickly and accurately.

Has Your Dental Assistant Training Prepared You for Emergencies?

  • Allergic Reactions: People have been known to react severely to certain medications used during dental procedures. These are often a result of unknown allergies. Knowing how to perform CPR is vital if the patient stops breathing. You may be required to monitor vital signs for some offices.
  • Choking: Yes people do choke on extracted teeth, dental instruments, or any number of items being used. Because they are under anesthesia they are not conscious enough to move something from their airway and it is up to you to know how to properly remove it. Quite honestly this should be mandatory for dental assistant training.
  • Fainting: While this may not seem to be a life-threatening situation it is important to do one thing first. If they are standing when they faint then try to catch them. Evaluate the reason behind the fainting. If it’s because of anxiety then all that is required is making them comfortable. Low blood sugar or high blood pressure is a medical emergency that needs to be addressed and a physician contacted.
  • Anxiety Attacks: These often occur in any patient that has an overwhelming fear of the dentist or doctor’s offices. You can aid a patient by getting them to focus on the fact that they are in a safe and secure environment in which they are in control. If they are beginning to hyperventilate then help them practice diaphragm breathing where they inhale and exhale slowly filling their entire lungs.
  • Eye Damage: Your dental assistant training probably didn’t cover how to work the eye wash station in your dental office. Become acquainted with it because you never know when a fluid, solution, extraction, or dental tool may be dropped or ricochet into the patient’s eyes.
  • Existing Health Issues: Not every emergency is directly related to the dental procedure being performed. Patients sometimes have a stroke, blood clot, or heart attack when in the chair. You need to know basic medical emergency care.
  • Any medical emergency: You may not be the one assisting with the patient experiencing the emergency, but you still have a responsibility. Your job is to keep the remaining patients calm and informed of what specifics, if any, that they need to know. Consult the office list of emergency medical numbers and procedures and make any necessary phone calls.

A quality dental assistant training program will prepare you for certain emergencies, but you’ll have to be constantly aware once you enter into your new career. No dental assistant training program can fully prepare you for every situation, and anyone working in the dental or medical field should know that anything can happen.