Like dentists, who are responsible for the overall health of their patients’ mouths, orthodontists are crucial to the dentistry industry. Dealing with the alignment of a person’s jaw and teeth, orthodontists perform crucial procedures that correct their bite and general dental comfort. Due to the demand within this area of the industry, orthodontists require assistants to care for their patients and ensure that they’re getting the best treatment possible. Take some time to learn the role of orthodontic assistants and how essential they are to a successful procedure.
Maintaining Individual Patient Records
One of the primary roles of an orthodontic assistant is tracking, updating, and maintaining all current and past patient records. After all, this information keeps the orthodontist informed on each individual’s needs and course of treatment. This process involves getting the most relevant information from the patients themselves, documenting it, and clearly notice what stage each of them are at in the corrective procedure. While obtaining this information, orthodontic assistants also care for the patient’s needs and ensure that they’re comfortable.
Taking Dental Impressions and X-Rays
The role of orthodontic assistants also involves obtaining essential dental information that the orthodontist can use to determine the best course of treatment. This process primarily includes getting x-rays of the patient’s mouth and taking dental impressions. Not only do these tasks require a strong knowledge of how the equipment works, but the assistant also needs to know how to take useful shots. Otherwise, the results of these steps may not help the orthodontist.
Perform Basic Orthodontic Procedures
Once a patient is outfitted with corrective instruments such as aligners, braces, or expanders, it’s the orthodontic assistant’s job to perform any minor adjustments. These often include the replacement or cutting of wires, refitting of bands on braces, and the tightening of corrective coils. While doing these things, assistants are also tasked with explaining to their patients how to properly care for the equipment and what to do should they break.
Passing and Cleaning Dental Instruments
Lastly, like most other dental assistant positions, orthodontic assistants are also responsible for cleaning and passing the necessary dental instruments during procedures. This means they need to have a solid knowledge of the equipment they’re handling as well as a basic understanding of the performed treatment. They also need to be available to lend the orthodontist a hand when certain tasks require instruments to be held in place or mixed—such as the adhesive for braces.
At the American Institute of Dental Assisting, we can help get you on track to the dental industry career you’re after. With our dental assistant weekend classes, you can quickly become certified in this field on your own schedule and make strides toward whatever catches your interest.