Chairside Skills

Chairside duties and skills to master

Are you wondering what duties and chair side skills you will need to be a successful dental assistant? The duty of a dental assistant requires a set of chair side skills that helps both the dentist and the patient. It is their duty to ensure the patient is comfortable, calm and well informed about the procedure. It is also the dental assistant’s duty to assist the dentist in performing vital. Depending on where the dental assistant chooses to work, they could be working with adults and the elderly or children as young as one or two years old. Because of this, it is important that they have the proper chairside skills to ensure the comfort of all of the patients they see during a typical workday.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Dental assistants perform a wide range of duties and are often considered the back bone of the dental office. Most dental assistants will greet the patient and bring them to the exam room. The dental assistant is the first person that the patient will see when going for the actual procedure and before sitting in the chair. Most dental assistants are also responsible for taking x-rays of patients’ teeth. Dental assistants are required to help prepare the exam room for treatment and to assist the dentist chairside while the procedure is being performed. Lastly, the dental assistant is required to clean the operatories and sterilize all equipment prior to the next usage. .

Chairside Skills Required to Master Your Career

Because a dental assistant will see many patients on any given day, they will need to have the necessary set of chairside skills for the optimal comfort of their patient.

Some of these chairside skills include:

Skill #1: Compassion – Studies have shown that more than half of the population is afraid to go to the dentist. An even smaller portion of individuals have a condition known as dentophobia, where they have an intense fear and worry about going to the dentist. The dental assistant needs to show compassion to these patients and to let them know that they are available if and when the patient needs them. A caring smile and compassionate tone can be all that is needed to calm the worries of a patient who is terrified to sit in a dental chair.

Skill #2: Patience – Many dental procedures take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to complete. The dental assistant is usually beside the dentist during the entire appointment. The dental assistant will need to have the patience required to sit for a relatively long period of time. This is especially vital if the dental assistant works in a dental surgeon’s office where longer and more in-depth procedures are being performed.

Skill #3: Knowledge of Procedures – It is the dental assistant’s duty to have the room set up prior to procedures and to know what supplies are needed during each part of the procedure. This is where it is important for the dental assistant to have a clear understanding of all the dental tools, procedures, duties and materials that are needed along the way.

Skill #4: Calm Demeanor – Many patients are nervous prior to and during their appointment, even if they are an adult and have been to the dentist hundreds of times. This is where a calm demeanor comes in handy. The soothing presence of a composed dental assistant allows the patient to calm down. Composure comes with a working knowledge of the dental procedures to be performed, as well as a good working relationship with the dentist. These elements improve a dental assistant’s chairside skills.

Skill #5: Foresight – The dental assistant needs to have the foresight to know what the dentist or patient is going to need before it is needed. For example, for a simple filling procedure, the dental assistant needs to know the specific steps of the procedure to ensure that it goes smoothly and without interruption. Attending a good school to become a dental assistant is of the utmost importance because that is where a dental assistant will learn about all of the various dental procedures and what is expected to work with the dentist chairside.

Skill #6: Accuracy – Most people think that dental procedures are solely performed by the dentist, but actually there aremany duties that the dental assistant performs that are crucial to the patient’s oral and dental health. For example, when the dental assistant takes an x-ray of a patient’s mouth, the x-rays need to be accurate in order to be read correctly to detect underlying problems. Accuracy comes with both education and practice. Learning dental assisting from a book is ideal to get started, but the real skills begin with hands-on experience working with patients.

Skill #7: Understanding – Patients may come into the dental office afraid, nervous and even angry. Having a good understanding about people and being able to put oneself into the patient’s shoes will assist greatly in connecting with the patient and ensuring a successful appointment.

Skill #8: Helpfulness – A dental assistant needs to be as helpful as possible to both the dentist and the patient. They need to be able to discuss various aspects of the procedure and the patients’ needs with the dentist. When speaking with patients, the dental assistant must also be helpful in educating them about what to expect prior to, during and after their procedure.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a dental assistant is a wonderful career choice that can lead to a variety of opportunities within the dental field. Some dental assistants go on to become RDAs (registered assistants) while others become hygienists or even dentists! By possessing the proper chairside manner, the dental assistant can ensure the comfort and safety of both the patients and the dentist.

Did learning about dental assistant chairside duties and skills interest you? Ready to learn more about a program that will help you become a dental assistant? The Dental Assistant Program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Dental Assistant, Dental Receptionist, Office Manager or Dental Hygienist Assistant in a dental office, specialty practice, or dental clinic. PCI Health Training Center Richardson, TX Campus offers the Dental Assistant Program. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a dental assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information. Dental Assistant Program offered at our Richardson Campus.

Communication Skills for Dental Assistants

Dental Assistant with Dentist

Communication skills are critical in any aspect of health care. In the course a day, a dental assistant might need to communicate effectively with dentists, dental hygienists, other dental assistants, patients, family members, insurance company workers, sales representatives or other dental offices. Ineffective communication increases the risk of misunderstandings and the potential for poor patient outcomes. Effective communication helps ensure the transfer of correct information, promotes better working relationships and soothes patient or family anxiety.

What is Good Communication?

Several skills are necessary for good communication. One of the most important is the ability to listen carefully and comprehend what is being said. In some cases, what is not being said is equally important, so the dental assistant must be able to “hear” beneath the surface to pick up on an unvoiced anxiety or fear. Empathy is the ability to see things from another’s point of view, while sympathy is the ability to feel sorry for another’s misfortunes. A dental assistant must be able to use both facilities to communicate effectively.

Nonverbal communication skills, such as focusing on the speaker, smiling when appropriate and nodding to convey agreement, are as important as what one says. If a dental assistant crosses their arms, taps their fingers impatiently or roll their eyes, the other person will often react defensively and stop communicating. Good communication skills take practice and awareness, and the ability to learn from one’s mistakes.

Communication Skills in the Front Office

In many dental offices, the dental assistant wears multiple hats. They may answer phones, schedule appointments, work chair-side with the dentist, order supplies and manage billing. This brings the dental assistant into contact with a wide range of people of different ages, educational backgrounds and cultures. For example, they must have the ability to communicate with a frightened child or an elderly woman who has diminished hearing. Interruptions are the norm and the front office position can be stressful. However, allowing stress to take over can impede communication, so stress management becomes an important aspect of communication in this role.

Communication Skills with the Dentist

Dental assistants provide hands-on support to the dentist during the care of patients. A good dental assistant learns to anticipate what the dentist will need next. It’s important to stay focused on the task and listen to the dentist’s requests to help ensure an efficient work process. Working efficiently also helps make patients feel more secure. At the same time, the dental assistant must stay aware of the patient’s responses and emotions. A frightened patient may pull away at the wrong moment. The dental assistant can help soothe and comfort the patient with words or a gentle touch.

Communication Skills with Hygienists

In most offices, hygienists work alone. However, the dental assistant may assist with stocking rooms or escorting patients to their room for an appointment. It’s important to set the patient at ease. If it’s a new patient, the dental assistant may perform an introduction. In some offices with multiple hygienists, the dental assistant may act as a “runner.” In this situation, it’s important to convey messages clearly and concisely and to listen carefully to ensure the right supplies are obtained.

Educating Patients

Dental assistants may also perform some basic patient education. One of the most important aspects of patient education is to maintain awareness of the patient’s comprehension of the material. Research indicates that as many as 1 in 7 adult patients may be functionally illiterate, according to Intellectual Takeout from The Charlemagne Institute. Yet most educational materials come in printed form. The dental assistant must remain sensitive to the fact that the patient may be embarrassed to admit he or she cannot read. Reviewing the material together rather than just providing handouts is the safest course. Patients are more likely to ask questions in this sort of one-on-one session.

Culture & Communication Skills

Culture has a big impact on communication. For example, in some cultures, it is considered disrespectful to meet another person’s eyes for any length of time. This can make it seem as though the individual is not listening. Words may have different connotations in different languages. When it comes to patient education, the patient may not have a written language or may be unable to read English. The dental assistant must be sensitive to verbal and non-verbal cues to assure the patient or family member understands what is being said. If an interpreter is necessary, the dental assistant must be able to have a three-way conversation in order to convey the necessary information.

Telephone Communication Skills

One of the great disadvantages of telephone communication is that a dental assistant cannot see the person on the other end. Since we often depend on body language cues to determine if another person understands what is being said it is critical to listen to the other person’s tone of voice and to pay attention to pauses, sighs, volume, pace or other indicators of a communication problem. Always clarify misunderstandings immediately.

Conflict Resolution Skills

Conflict is a normal occurrence in any kind of human interaction. A patient wants an appointment at a time that is unavailable or a dental assistant has a misunderstanding with a co-worker. The ability to communicate effectively can result in a resolution, while poor communication skills can make things worse. In conflict resolution, a dental assistant will use the facilities of empathy, careful listening, and nonverbal communication. However, a dental assistant must also manage their own emotions and stress. If they practice good communication skills, conflict resolution becomes much easier. Restate the other person’s words. This makes it clear a dental assistant is listening and will clear up miscommunication. Focus on a solution rather than who is right.

Good communication skills are not hard to learn. However, they do take practice. Once a dental assistant uses these skills consistently, they will find many benefits in their work as a dental assistant. In addition, good communication skills are useful in one’s personal life as well. Always remember the basics: listening carefully, awareness of non-verbal communication, respect for cultural differences, reiterating back what you hear and being empathetic.

Did learning about dental assistant communication skills interest you? Still deciding whether you want to become a dental assistant? Ready to learn more about a program that will help you become a dental assistant? The Dental Assistant Program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Dental Assistant, Dental Receptionist, Office Manager or Dental Hygienist Assistant in a dental office, specialty practice, or dental clinic.? PCI Health Training Center Richardson, TX Campus offers the dental assistant program. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a dental assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information. Dental Assistant program offered at our Richardson Campus.

Helping Patients Through Dental Treatments

Dental Treatment

Research shows that preventive dentistry is a critical component in overall health, but dental phobia is real, and unless patients feel comfortable when they visit their dentist, they are unlikely to return. Dental assistants manage a wide range of clinical and administrative tasks in a dental office, but none is as essential as making patients feel comfortable and relaxed. For patients, it’s the key to a lifetime of good oral care.

Why Dental Patients Need to Feel Comfortable

A large percentage of adults in the U.S. skip dental appointments because of anxiety, rating it as stressful as a divorce or changing jobs. Patients need to have confidence in their dentist to overcome their fear, and that is where dental assistants fit in. As ambassadors for good oral health, a dental assistant’s mission is to make patients feel comfortable before, during and after dental treatments. This makes all the difference in helping patients feel safe and secure.

Before Dental Treatment

Dental assistants set the stage for a positive treatment experience by educating patients, answering questions, and setting expectations.

Educating Patients
Most dental treatments require patient cooperation, so it’s critical to explain procedures before they begin. From the type of anesthetic to be used to how long the process will take, an informed patient is more comfortable and cooperative when they know exactly what to expect.

Answering Questions
Anxious patients are less apt to communicate with their dental team, they have tunnel vision, but a dental assistant’s warm smile and approachable demeanor open the door for communication.

Asking open-ended questions that encourage patients to explore their feeling about their dental health is useful and makes it more likely they’ll share negative emotions. Dental assistants can then address specific concerns and help patients be better informed about their treatment options. When dentistry is less mysterious, it’s less stressful.

Setting Expectations
While most patients know what to expect from routine dental cleanings, outcomes for other dental treatments may not be as clear. Tooth whitening, for example, may not give patients the perfect Hollywood smile they expect. Dental assistants should encourage patients to be realistic about results while remembering that it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver than to set unrealistic expectations.

During Dental Treatment

Dental assistants are the calming voice of comfort during dental procedures. They sit chairside, connecting with patients as dental treatments are performed by keeping patients informed, offering feedback, and maintaining physical comfort.

Keeping Patients Informed
Explaining a dental treatment before it begins is essential, but anxious patients may miss details. Dental assistants can avoid uncomfortable surprises by keeping patients informed about the progress of their procedure as it happens. By describing each step before it occurs, a dental assistant reinforces that the treatment process is going as planned.

Since the patient won’t be able to talk once their jaw is open, agreeing on a stop signal before beginning is reassuring. Patients who know they can stop drilling simply by raising their hands feel a much-needed measure of control.

For some patients, demonstrating how equipment is used may help overcome fear. Patients who’ve never seen a dental drill are often surprised to see how much smaller and less intimidating it is than a drill used for wood.

Offering Feedback
Letting patients know they’re doing a great job by staying still or keeping their mouth open reassures them that they’re being helpful and makes them feel like full partners in their dental care. The more involved patients are, the more emotionally invested they feel in their oral health, and the more likely they’ll view recommendations for future visits positively.

Maintaining Physical Comfort
Pain is among dental patients’ greatest fears. While modern dentistry makes most procedures virtually painless, popular perceptions are tough to overcome.

Dental assistants promote comfort by giving patients choices whenever possible, such as how their chair is positioned or what type of music they listen to. A dental assistant should assure patients that they will remain at chairside to meet their needs until the dental treatment is complete. Knowing the dental assistant will maintain suction and monitor their discomfort is reassuring.

After Dental Treatment

After dental treatments, patients may experience a rush of relief and want to head for the door, but dental assistants can enhance long-term satisfaction by explaining aftercare, reviewing treatment plans, and promoting regular care.

Explaining Aftercare
It’s common for patients to see their dentist, only to realize when they get home that they forgot to ask important questions. Dental assistants eliminate that mistake by carefully reviewing what patients need to know after a dental treatment, predicting what questions they may have.

Aftercare instructions should include:

  • What to expect physically, such as how much discomfort or bleeding is normal
  • How to manage pain and care for treatment sites at home
  • How to take prescribed medications
  • Symptoms to watch for and report
  • Emergency contact information

Asking patients to return-verbalize instructions ensures they understand what they’ve been told and helps them feel more comfortable in their ability to take care of themselves.

Reviewing Treatment Plans
Some dental procedures, such as fillings or extractions, may not require a follow-up appointment, but other treatments, such as braces or implants, may require multiple visits over a long period.

For continuity of care, dental assistants should review the dentist’s treatment plan with patients before they leave the practice, answering any questions they have and scheduling the next appointment.

Promoting Regular Care
Almost all people believe annual physicals help them stay healthy, but fewer than half say the same about regular dental exams. Despite the growing role of oral care in overall health, the public is largely unaware of its importance.

Dental assistants can change that by educating patients about timely topics such as:

  • Choosing the right toothbrush
  • Brushing and flossing techniques
  • Preventing gingivitis
  • Eating for dental health
  • The importance of regular cleanings
  • Taking care of dentures and orthodontic appliances
  • Understanding restoration procedures

The more patients know about dentistry in general, the more comfortable they’ll feel with treatments.

Final Thoughts

Patient satisfaction surveys repeatedly show, patients who are comfortable visiting their dentist are more likely to get regular dental care. Dental assistants, as a representative for the entire professional team, hold the power of comfort in their hands. It’s a responsible but rewarding role.

Did learning about how to help patients feel comfortable before, during and after dental treatment interest you? Still deciding whether you want to become a dental assistant? Ready to learn more about a program that will help you become a dental assistant? The Dental Assistant Program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Dental Assistant, Dental Receptionist, Office Manager or Dental Hygienist Assistant in a dental office, specialty practice, or dental clinic. PCI Health Training Center Richardson, TX Campus offers a dental assistant program. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a dental assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information. The Dental Assistant Program is offered at our Richardson Campus.

Preparing Kids for a Dental Procedure: A Dental Assistant’s Guide

The dental office can be a scary place for a kid. The noises, the prodding of teeth, and the dentist’s drill are all things that a kid waiting in the dental office will be wary of and the reason they are reluctant to be examined.

Dental assistants have a major role in helping kids who are having dental treatment by:

  • Creating a child friendly environment
  • Thinking safety and security
  • Explaining the procedures so that the child can understand and pay attention
  • Using distraction as a calming tool
  • Asking the kid what they would do to make the dental office child friendly
  • Helping the children and their parents deal with the fear
  • Educating the kids to prevent cavities in the first place.
  • Helping kids understand who people are thereby creating a friendlier environment.
  • Having an atmosphere that looks welcoming and friendly

Explaining the Procedures

If kids know what is happening and the rationale for doing things, they are likely to be more cooperative. A dental assistant can explain procedures in a child friendly way, using simple descriptions and ensuring things are clear. Using a doll or teddy as role playing model is another technique that works with small kids. Another way to get messages across clearly is to use animation that can be shown on a TV screen. The dentist assistant needs to identify a way to explain the procedure so that children will not only understand but will be attentive to the message.

Distraction

No one likes the sound of the drill, especially kids who are about to have a treatment. One way to help kids in the treatment room is to distract them. Music is one way of providing a distraction. A ceiling mural is an alternative for kids to

look at as they get examined in the dental chair. Talking to the kid and maintaining eye contact is calming which something a dental assistant can do as they are helping the dentist. Sometimes, having a parent in the room can help a child receiving treatment.

Ask the Child

When creating a child friendly space in a dentist’s office one of the best ways to get some creative ideas and insights into what is needed is to ask a child or parent. This is an easy task for a dental assistant who can gather opinion in a dental exam room or support managerial staff with focus groups and questionnaires. By listening to the people who visit the dentist’s office, issues that are problematic can be easily addressed. Kids observe things that are overlooked by an adult, and yet these are really important issues.

Dealing with Fear

A dental assistant can be proactive by helping kids who are afraid of dental treatments. In working with the dentist dental assistants can help calm children by using local anesthetics along with well-honed techniques. The dental team can work to get procedures done fast and efficiently on children by operating in a confident and seamless way. Dental assistants can also work with parents to calm and reassure the kid having treatment. The goal of a dental assistant is to gain the confidence of frightened kids rapidly, so they cooperate to complete the dental treatments. They must also calm anxious parents, so they do not exacerbate the situation with a frightened kid.

Education

One of the best ways of avoiding problems with frightened kids in the dental office is to do as much health promotion and education as possible to prevent tooth decay. A dental assistant has a vital role of teaching kids how to brush and floss their teeth. This includes reducing sugar consumption and avoiding too much candy. By using child friendly teaching methods, a dental assistant plays a huge role in helping kids stay healthy, so they avoid dental treatment in the first place.

Child friendly areas in dentist’s offices are vital and a dental assistant is ideally placed to maintain them and to work with the dental team to deliver care in an appropriate setting. Having space that is bright and welcoming, calm and full of games and toys, is an excellent way to care for kids during a dental procedure. Dental assistants are vital in ensuring the department is a proactive and attractive environment for any kid.

Still deciding whether you want to become a dental assistant? Ready to learn more about a program that will help you become a dental assistant? The Dental Assistant Program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Dental Assistant, Dental Receptionist, Office Manager or Dental Hygienist Assistant in a dental office, specialty practice, or dental clinic.? PCI Health Training Center Richardson, TX Campus offers the dental assistant program. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a dental assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-informationDental Assistant program offered at our Richardson Campus.

Educating Preventive Dentistry

Tooth decay is the number one chronic health problem of children, according to the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry. Dental assistants should strive to help our youth develop good dental habits thorough preventive dentistry. The dental assistant can be a powerful motivator for children to take care of their teeth and empower their parents to lead by example. Most children trust authority figures like dentists and dental assistants, so they can have an influence on the child’s dental habits.

The dental assistant and parent should complement the child on their good dental hygiene. By building the child’s trust, the dental assistant can help motivate the child to practice good dental hygiene.

Preventive dentistry should have a goal of helping patients of all ages to practice good dental hygiene throughout their lives. The parent and dental assistant must work together as a team to prevent dental disease. The dental assistant is responsible for educating the kids and their parents about dental disease and how to prevent it.

Parents Role in Preventive Dentistry

Parents are a motivating force for their children to practice good dental hygiene. This can include proper brushing techniques, use of fluoride, application of dental sealants, proper nutrition and plaque control. Learning proper dental hygiene starts at birth. As soon as the first tooth appears, the parent should start teaching their child about proper dental hygiene. The parent should also take their child into the dentist office every six months or no later than the child’s first birthday.

Dental disease can affect infants, toddlers, and children. It is important for the parent to take their children for regular check-ups at the dentist office to identify dental disease before it becomes an issue. Dental disease can become irreversible and may cause adverse long-term effects or dental anxiety.

Teeth Evolve & So Does the Preventive Strategy

As a child ages, not only do their baby teeth fall out and permanent teeth grow in, but their teeth evolve. The teeth go through changes in the enamel cementation, dentin and pulp. The dental assistant is responsible for educating children and their parents about proper dental hygiene based on the stage of their teeth.

Are Dental Sealants Good for My Child’s Teeth?

A dental sealant can help protect a child’s teeth with a coating that covers pits and grooves in baby teeth. Dental sealants can be used to protect hard to clean surfaces of the teeth from bacteria that causes decay. Dental sealants have been proven to be safe by the American Dental Association (ADA).

Is Fluoride Ok for My Child?

Systemic fluoride is ingested in the food we eat and water we drink. Topical fluoride is applied to the teeth with the help of toothpaste and mouth wash. To protect children from receiving too much fluoride, the dental assistant should educate parents about fluoride and its uses. The dental assistant should advise parents to not allow young children to swallow fluoridated toothpaste. The parents should also supervise younger children while learning to brush their teeth, so they learn proper dental hygiene from the beginning.

How to Choose a Toothbrush for My Kid

There are different sizes for children of all ages. Dentists typically recommend soft-bristled brushes for children since the bristles are gentler on the child’s gums. The toothbrush should remove plaque without causing any tissue damage in the mouth.

Proper Toothbrush Usage by Children

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that a child brush their teeth two minutes twice a day with a toothbrush that has soft bristles. It is recommended to replace toothbrushes every three to four months.  Toothbrushes should not be shared between siblings or with parents. The toothbrush should be thoroughly rinsed after each use. The toothbrush should be stored in an upright position after use to allow the toothbrush to air dry. Overbrushing by the child should be cautioned to not cause excessive wear to the teeth, recession of the gums or exposure of the roots.

Which Toothpaste should My Child Use?

There are different options for toothpaste depending on the child’s needs. All toothpastes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance must contain fluoride to strengthen teeth and ingredients to remove food residue. There are many different choices for dental assistant to recommend and should be matched based on the child’s needs.

Did learning about helping our youth with proper dental hygiene interest you? Ready to take a program to become a dental assistant? The Dental Assistant Program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Dental Assistant, Dental Receptionist, Office Manager or Dental Hygienist Assistant in a dental office, specialty practice, or dental clinic.? PCI Health Training Center Richardson, TX Campus offers the dental assistant program. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a dental assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information. Dental Assistant program offered at our Richardson Campus.

Regulatory and Advisory Agencies

Are you interested in becoming a dental assistant? Want to learn more about the different organizations, associations and agencies that offer additional knowledge for dental assistants? It is important for dental assistants to become familiar with a common list of government agencies and dental assisting organizations that regulate and advise the practice of dentistry. Penalties for non-compliance with regulations may include fines, imprisonment, suspension or revocation of licenses. Other agencies only advise with no penalties for non-compliance. Both agencies are good resources for dental assistants and are easily accessible on the Internet. Here is a list of advisory associations, organizations, governmental regulatory and advisor agencies. Visit them on the Internet to learn more about dental assisting and how you can become a part of the dental community.

Advisory Associations and Organizations List

A few advisory associations and organizations support dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists and other dental professionals with research, information and standards to keep patients safe and healthy. These advisory associations and organizations include the American Dental Association (ADA), American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), American Dental Hygienist’s Association (ADHA), Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), and National Dental Assistants Association (NDAA).

American Dental Association (ADA) – the national professional organization of dentists with more than 150,000 members. The ADA offers a Seal of Acceptance for over 300 oral health products including toothpaste, dental floss, toothbrushes, mouth rinses, denture adherents and chewing gum.

American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) – represents dental assistants with members that include clinical dental assistants, receptionists, dental office managers, and other administrative dental professionals. The goal of the ADAA is education, registration and certification for dental assisting professionals.

American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) – the national professional organization for dental hygienists. The goal of the ADHA is to provide members with the highest standards of professional support and educational programs.

Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) – the national certification board for dental assistants. With more than 37,000 members in the United States, the DANB offers certification programs that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

National Dental Assistants Association (NDAA) – members include dental office managers, dental assistants, receptionists in dental offices, treatment coordinators, clinical coordinators, finance specialist and other office personal in a dental office, excluding the Dentist and Hygienist. The goal of the NDAA is to provide an opportunity for intellectual growth and development through certified continuing education programs.

Governmental Regulatory and Advisory Agency List

A few regulatory and advisory agencies run by the Federal government to help educate, monitor and regulate the dental industry. These governmental regulatory and advisory agency list include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Institute of Health (NIH), National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that protects the health and safety of Americans. The infection control procedures for dentistry are based on the Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Healthcare Settings issued by the CDC in 2003.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – a regulatory agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA regulates the manufacturing and labeling of medical devices used in dentistry. The FDA must approve sterilizers, biologic and chemical indicators, ultrasonic cleaners and cleaning solutions, liquid sterilant, gloves, masks, protective eyewear, dental handpieces and instruments, dental chairs, dental unit lights, antimicrobial handwashing products and mouth rinses.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – a regulatory agency that ensures the safety and effectiveness of disinfectants. The EPA is also involved in regulating waste materials and chemicals that are disposed of by the dental office.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) a deferral regulatory agency responsible for ensuring the safety and health of dental professionals. OSHA sets and enforces protective standards that dental employers must follow to provide a safe workplace for employees. OSHA set the Blood-Borne Pathogens Standards and the Hazard Communication Standard.

National Institute of Health (NIH) – a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that conducts and supports medical research. NIH scientists conduct research to identify the causes, treatments, and cures for common and rate diseases. The NIH also supports researchers with leadership and financial support throughout the world.

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) – the dental research institute of the NIH that promotes the general health of Americans by improving their oral, dental and craniofacial health. Through research, the NIDCR promotes health, prevents disease and develops new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) part of the CDC that does not have regulatory authority and is responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related disease and injury.

Want to learn more about the list of dental regulatory and advisory agencies? Ready to take a program to become a dental assistant? The Dental Assistant Program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Dental Assistant, Dental Receptionist, Office Manager or Dental Hygienist Assistant in a dental office, specialty practice, or dental clinic.? PCI Health Training Center Richardson, TX Campus offers the dental assistant program. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a dental assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information. Dental Assistant program offered at our Richardson Campus.

Basic Charting Terminology of the Dental Assistant

Ready for a career as a dental assistant? Before you begin you must learn the terminology used to do basic charting as a dental assistant. This dental assistant terminology includes parts of the teeth and mouth, dental procedures and billing terms. You will be able to master these while attending a dental assistant program at a vocational school in your area.

Primary Types of Teeth in the Mouth

A dental assistant must be able to identify the different types of teeth in the mouth:

Incisors – single-rooted teeth located at the front of the mouth.
Canines – cuspids, located at the corner of the arch.
Premolars – bicuspids, a cross between canines and molars
Molars – 4 or more cusps used for grinding food.

Parts of the Teeth & Mouth

Here is some terminology for the other parts of the teeth and mouth that a dental assistant should know about:

Anatomic Crown – part of the tooth that is covered with enamel.
Clinical Crown – part of the tooth that is visible in the oral cavity.
Cervix – the place in the mouth where the crown of a tooth and its roots meet.
Enamel – the hardest substance in the human body and covers the outer layer of each tooth.
Dentin – hard part of the root surrounding the pulp and covered by enamel on the crown and by cementum on the root.
Cementum – calcified connective tissue that covers the anatomic root of a tooth.
Palate – the roof of the mouth, in between the nose and mouth.
Apex – tapered end of each root tip

Dental Procedures and Mouth Issues

Many dental procedures and mouth issues are discussed during the course of treatment in the dentist office. Here are a few of the dental procedures and mouth issue terms a dental assistant should know:

Impacted Tooth – a tooth that remains unerupted in the jaw.
Gingivitis – inflammation and bleeding of the gums
Cavity – a small hole or fissure in the tooth that may be due to decay, erosion or abrasion
Root Canal – treatment for diseases or abscessed teeth by cleaning and disinfecting the tooth, then filling and sealing it.
Crown – an artificial replacement that restores a missing tooth’s structure
Dental Implant – a device specially designed to be placed surgically within the mouth to replace missing teeth.
Dry Socket – inflammation of the tooth socket after extraction from infection or loss of blood clot.

Dentist Office Insurance Terminology

A dental assistant performs many clerical duties that involve insurance claims and coding of patient records. Here are some insurance terms a dental assistant should know before working in a dentist’s office:

Co-Payment – the amount owed, by a patient, after the benefit plan has paid the dentist’s fee
Deductible – the amount of money that the patient must pay for dental services before the insurance company pays benefits.
Out-of-Pocket Costs – the amount the patient is responsible for paying above the annual maximum.
Coverage – dental benefits covered under a dental benefit plan.
Flexible Spending Account – employee reimbursement account used to pay for dental work pre-tax.
HIPPA Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996;
a federal law that includes Administrative Simplification Provisions that require all health plans to use a standard format for electronic exchange, privacy and security of health information.

Once you master the dental assistant terminology and graduate from a vocational college you will be well on your way to a rewarding career, helping others, in the dental assisting field.

The Dental Assistant Program at PCI Health Training Center prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Dental Assistant, Dental Receptionist, Office Manager or Dental Hygienist Assistant in a dental office, specialty practice, or dental clinic. The Dental Assistant program also includes preparation for the Dental Assistant Examination to become a Registered Dental Assistant in the State of Texas.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information. Dental Assistant program offered at our Richardson Campus.

The Life Cycle of Teeth

Did you know that your teeth go through a lifecycle, starting only six weeks after conception? At three to four months, newborns will go through a time of teething when their teeth are erupting out of their gums. Children should have all their baby teeth by the age of 6 and these teeth will create space for the adult teeth that come later. Take care of your permanent teeth so they can last you a lifetime. If issues do arise, you can get implanted teeth, partials or bridges to replace teeth that have fallen out.

Newborn’s Teeth

Teeth have already been created in newborns, even though you can only see pink gums in a crying baby. The teeth start forming six weeks after conception, 10 on top and 10 on bottom. Newborn’s teeth begin to erupt at two to three months after they are born and several teeth will be in place after four months. Newborn’s teeth may have a bluish hue as the nerves and blood vessels are a little bigger and the dentin and enamel is thinner. The babies’ teeth will hold a space for the adult teeth so the teeth need to be taken care of throughout the teeth’s life cycle.

Children’s Teeth

At the age of approximately six, children will start developing permanent teeth. These permanent teeth will start to put pressure on the roots of the baby teeth. The roots are reabsorbed into the gums over time and will cause baby teeth to get loose. The permanent tooth can take around six months to erupt and find its place in the mouth.

Molars come in three sets and fill out the empty space in the back of the jaw. The first two sets of molars will be completely intact by the age of 12. The last set of molars are the wisdom teeth. Problems with the placement of wisdom teeth are usually passed down generation to generation. If you had a problem when your wisdom teeth came in as a child, and they were not accommodated by your jaw, your children will may have the same issue. Millions of people have their teeth extracted every year in the US.

Permanent Teeth

The teeth are the hardest substance in the human body. The permanent teeth play an important role in chewing and speech. If permanent teeth do not set properly in the jaw, braces or other tooth correcting systems can be used to straighten the permanent teeth. Cavities become more common in permanent teeth as the dentin is exposed over the teeth’s life cycle while the chewing of food wears down the enamel.  The parts of the teeth include:

Enamel – the outer part of the tooth mostly made of calcium phosphate.
Dentin – is underneath the enamel made up of living cells that secrete hard mineral substances.
Pulp – the softer inner structure of teeth that has both blood vessels and nerves running through it.
Cementum – connective tissue that binds the root of the tooth to the gums and jawbone.
Periodontal ligament – the tissue that holds the tooth against the jaw.

Each tooth in the mouth has a specific shape that work together to chew food properly. Standard tooth numbering for dental assistants includes the numbering of 32 permanent teeth in the upper and lower anterior and posterior of the mouth. The teeth have a specific naming system as well, they include:

Central Incisor – a single rooted tooth located at the front of the jaw.
Lateral Incisor – a single rooted tooth that sits just behind the central incisor.
Cuspid – a single rooted tooth, also called the canine, that sits third in the jaw behind the incisors.
1st Bicuspid – a bi-rooted tooth also called premolars.
2nd Bicuspid – a single rooted tooth also that sits just behind the 1st
1st Molar – a tri-rooted tooth that is flat and good for grinding food.
2nd Molar – a tri-rooted tooth just behind the 1st
3rd Molar – a tri-rooted tooth, also called the wisdom teeth, they are the furthest back set of teeth in the jaw.

Why Permanent Teeth Fall Out

As a person gets older the teeth are subjected to years of chewing, plaque build-up, hard foods that can chip teeth, and bacteria that can cause gum disease. As the bacteria eats away at the enamel, the tooth can create a cavity that needs to be drilled and capped so additional decay doesn’t happen. If severe, the tooth will need a root canal or be removed completely. Adults also loose teeth from gum disease that can weaken the tissues supporting the teeth and make them loose or even fall out.

Fortunately, there are many different options for those that have lost teeth. A tooth can be implanted into your gums, teeth can be replaced by a fixed bridge or you can use removable dentures. However, it is important for patients to take care of their teeth, throughout their teeth’s life cycle.

Does the life cycle of teeth interest you? Want to become a dental assistant? The Dental Assistant Program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Dental Assistant, Dental Receptionist, Office Manager or Dental Hygienist Assistant in a dental office, specialty practice, or dental clinic.? PCI Health Training Center Richardson, TX Campus offers the dental assistant program. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a dental assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information. Dental Assistant program offered at our Richardson Campus.