Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What Is The Difference Between Dental Assistant And Dental Hygienist?

Many people are not very clear on what is the difference between a dental assistant and a dental hygienist. Although depending on the specific work place there can be some overlap between the duties of the two, these are completely different career paths.

Typical Day Of A Dental Hygienist 

A dental hygienist is responsible for hygiene, as the name suggests. This means (s)he pays attention to the teeth, gums and mouth overall in therms of health and cleanliness.

The dental hygienist typical day includes mouth condition assessments, taking x-rays and reading them, finding signs of decay in teeth and also checking for signs of oral cancer. They clean teeth, remove tartar and plaque, apply fluoride. Dental assistants play an important role in patient oral care education and they record the health history of the patient. 

In principle, the dental hygienist job has less duties variety than the one of dental assistant.

A Day In The Life Of A Dental Assistant

As a dental assistant you act as the 'right hand' of the dentist basically. 

You will start the day by getting everything ready for use. This means that the instruments are sterile, dental appliances turned-on and functioning properly and so on.

Then you will review the files of the patients for the day and assess if additional preparation is needed. Certain health conditions require special measures. For example, organ transplant recipients need to take large doses of antibiotics prior to dental procedures.

Dental assistants play an important role in managing the patients. This means they are also responsible for understanding if patients are in a state of anxiety and for providing support. You will update their files and most probably be their point of contact.

To note, as a dental assistant you can go for specialization if this is something that you pursue in your career. In this way you get access to employment in cosmetic dentistry, in a dental lab and so on. The dental assistant career path offers many opportunities in terms of diversity.


Jim Tracy said...

I think that there are a lot of good jobs in dental assisting. It can be good for someone who wants a job like that. It's something I would like to look into.

George Nichols said...

Just correct me if I'm wrong, but I know some basic informations about the difference of Dental Assistants and Dental Hygienists. Dental Assistants are typically responsible for taking the developing x-rays, assisting the dentist during a variety of treatment procedures, preparing ad sterilizing instruments and equipments and etc. Whille Dental Hygienists are responsible for collecting patient's information, oral and medical health history, making molds of patients' teeth used for evaluating treatment, applying flourides and decay preventatives and etc. Anyways, I know a job site whose currently looking for Dental Assistant Jobs in Frenchs Forest NSW. I hope these informations help you out. Thanks!

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