Dental Assistant Skill: Operatory Light

Dental assistants have many skills they need to learn during their training. They learn very important skills such as taking x-rays and passing instruments. But they also have one other important dental assistant skill. Often ignored, the operatory light is a key part of the dental office.

The Importance of the Operatory Light

The operatory light is one of the most important tasks a dental assistant needs to master. They need to be able to control the light throughout the entire treatment. It can be compared to the lighting director during a play. Without proper lighting, no one would be able to see!

Dental Assistant Skill in Action

dental assistant skill
Controlling the operatory light is an important dental assistant skill

As the doctor uses different instruments and drills during a procedure they will need an extra set of hands. A dental assistant that is well-trained will be able to control the light for the dentists every move. They will respond by immediately reaching up to adjust the light above for the best view of the patients mouth.

The lighting must be adjusted through the entire procedure. If the patient’s head is moved slightly the light will also need to be move. A well trained assistant will use their dental assistant skill to follow the doctors actions. They will be ready to make any adjustments to the light or instruments as needed.

Advise for Dental Assistants

Dr. Hastings gives his advise to students who are working on this dental assistant skill. He advises:

“The operatory light is under your direct control and your doctor shouldn’t have to ask to make adjustments. Take charge of the light and the quality of the treatment will improve and your boss will be quite happy! Just remember to keep the bright pattern centered over the tooth or quadrant being treated, pay attention to the specific procedural steps and always try to think what might need to be done next to ensure a quick and successful treatment for the patient. And remember NEVER LET THE LIGHT SHINE IN THE PATIENT’S EYES.”

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