Dental Assistants Provide Care to Low Income Families

Dental Assistants take pride in providing quality care to patients. They assist Dentists with procedures and Dental Hygienists with assistance during preventative cleanings. However, many Dental Assistants understand there is a population of individuals who do not receive the dental care they should because they have no insurance and they can’t afford to pay for it out of pocket. The result of not obtaining proper dental care is ongoing health and dental issues that spiral out of control.

Many low income families are not receiving dental care. Often, dental programs are available through a variety of programs including Child Development Services, Migrant Services, and Head Start. All of these programs are conducted throughout the United States. These programs provide schooling for children and parenting skills for parents. The programs often include programs of budgeting, meal planning, family activities, and dental care. These programs are Federally funded.

In these programs, children and their families receive dental care for free. This requires qualified Dental Assistants to assist Dentists and Dental Hygienists in their work of providing procedures and dental cleanings to patients in these programs. Since their dental care is limited, it is very important for them to become educated about oral hygiene. Education becomes a key for them to work hard to maintain quality dental hygiene on their own as much as they can.

Dental Assistants often conduct training workshops for these types of programs, stressing the importance oral hygiene. The programs include information on brushing twice a day, the proper way to brush, the importance of flossing, and the proper way to floss. Family members are generally given handouts as well as toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and pills that will show the plaque you missed on your teeth by turning the areas a bright color. These educational workshops are very helpful to the families involved in these programs.

For children and adults who have severe dental needs, this many be the only way they will ever be able to have those needs addressed. Dental Assistants who work with low income families often earn less than Dental Assistants in other dental fields of employment. However, they find a strong satisfaction in helping families obtain dental care. To them, it is more rewarding than any increase in pay.

The lack of programs to help with those who can’t afford adequate dental care is a huge concern for Dental Assistants all across the Nation. It is an issue that needs to be addressed locally, statewide, and on a Federal level. Many Dental professionals agree to assist with education and providing services to low income populations because they understand the dire need of such care.

While Medicare and Medicaid programs under Federal guidelines offer some relief for families, many don’t qualify for the programs, yet still don’t earn enough money to pay for the care on their own. In addition, most dental facilities don’t accept the Federal programs or they only accept a limited number of participants at a time.
The Surgeon General has only yet begun to conduct studies on the effects of low income families not receiving the dental care they need. However, they do agree that the issue needs to be addressed. They have implemented some strategies to improve the situation.

They would like to see the expansion of mobile dental clinics, public dental clinics, and school based dental clinics. They would also like to see schools and other educational programs focusing more on oral hygiene. Possibility adding toothbrushes and areas to each classroom for students to use after breakfast and lunch on a daily basis.

The Surgeon General is also looking into developing programs for dental staff, including Dental Assistants to receive assistance with tuition if they agree to work in low income dental facilities for a specified period of time. It is their hope that the staff will choose to remain their after that time period has ended because they see how beneficial their services are to the patients they are serving.

The Demand for Dental Assistants

Dental Assistants are essential to the field of dentistry. They work hard to make sure all the dental tools are cleaned properly, patients feel comfortable, and they assist Dentists and Hygienists with dental procedures. In addition, they help with lab work and are trained in medical emergency procedures. Combined, these duties require individuals who are energized and ready to help others. Dental assistants much be effective communicators and fast learners.

The demand for dental assistants continues to grow. Many people are taking more of an interest in their oral hygiene now than ever before. Since people are living longer, their teeth are requiring more preventative care as well as dental procedures. Dental technology has also made procedures less painful. As a result more people are willing to go in for dental services. Another area is the market for cosmetic dentistry. People are going to dental facilities to get their teeth whitened and to improve the shape of their teeth.

There are over 280,000 Dental Assistants currently employed Nationwide. Most of these Dental Assistants are working in dental offices. A small portion work in government agencies, prisons facilities, and physician offices. Many Dental Assistants are working in more than one dental office due to the demand for more Dental Assistants. The potential for this occupation is better than most other medical fields. It is anticipated that it will be one of the top contenders in growth through 2012.

There are many job opportunities for Dental Assistants in the market already. This means almost all Dental Assistants who complete a training program will secure employment immediately. This job market is Nationwide, so relocation for employment is a great possibility for those who are interested. In some instances, the employer will assist you with relocation costs.

Many individuals choose to enter the field of Dental Assistant because of the job market outlook and the rate of pay. On average, Dental Assistants earn $13.62 per hour as a new employee without any job experience. The highest noted starting rate Nationwide is in New York at $19.97 per hour. Considering the minimum wage in most states, the starting pay for Dental Assistants is at least double. That is a great incentive to pursue a career as a Dental Assistant.

Pursuing a career as a Dental Assistant can be a perfect career move. It will provide you with the opportunity to work with people, allow you to explore the dental profession, you will have not trouble securing employment, and the pay is great. You will also have standard working hours with paid Holidays. Most dental assistants receive discounted or free dental care for themselves and their families. Keeping all this in perspective, the demand for Dental Assistants is a great motivation to take a look into the career options.

To find out more about Dental Assistant programs in your area, contact you State Dental Board or your local colleges. You can also find great information on such programs via the internet. It is very important that you make sure any program you are considering is accredited in your state. Most programs can be completed in 12 to 24 months. Tuition assistance and scholarship programs are available. Most Human Services programs will assist with the cost of programs that can be completed within 2 years and that there is a job market for.

Dental Assistants in Orthodontics

Dental Assistants are becoming more and more popular in the area of orthodontics. This is due to new technology for orthodontics as well as the increase in the number of children and adults seeking orthodontic care. Dental Assistants normally complete a variety of duties including sterilizing dental tools and assisting both Dentists and Hygienist with procedures. This generally entails sitting in on such procedures, handing the staff the necessary tools and equipment as the procedure it taking place. Dental Assistants may also find themselves assisting with lab work.

The role of Dental Assistant in the area of Orthodontics is different. They will generally still be responsible for sterilizing all dental tools. However, they will have more hands on work inside the mouth of the patient. These tasks include fixing loose brackets, changing rubber bands, and tightening wires. Many Dental Assistants love working in orthodontics because of the hands on work they get to do with the patient. They also enjoy getting to see the patient every few weeks from the beginning of the process until the end. Generally individuals wear braces for two years or longer.

Being a Dental Assistant in an orthodontic setting is not something that is commonly taught in a Dental Assistant program. It is a specific area of specialization, and most Dental Assistant programs are designed to give you an understanding of the basic elements of dentistry only.

Most training for Dental Assistants in the area of orthodontics takes place on the job. Generally, by having another Dental Assistant walk you through the process, then watching you perform it on actual patients. This can be intimidating for some Dental Assistants as they are used to learning by observing in the dental field rather than taking on the task at hand. Other Dental Assistants thrive in this type of learning environment, enabling them to really excel in the orthodontic field.

With the use of Dental Assistants, many orthodontic offices are meeting the demand for treatment in a very unique way. Dental Assistants are set up to specialize in a particular area of the orthodontic process. Many patients are scheduled for the same appointment time, and then dispersed to various dental assistants depending on their needs.

For example, one such dental facility has all patients sign in to see the Orthodontist first. He quickly reviews their progress, documents the chart, and puts the chart into a file on the wall. Dental Assistants come here to pull the charts of those in their slot on the wall. There are Dental Assistants to take X-Rays and to make adjustments. These adjustments include adjusting wires and changing rubber bands. Other Dental Assistants perform repairs including changing brackets and removing excess cement on the teeth. There are also Dental Assistants to remove the braces and others to take the molds for retainers.

Once the patient has seen the necessary Dental Assistant based on the needs that should be addressed during that visit, the patient is taken back to the area where they first signed in. They again see the dentist who reviews the work completed by the Dental Assistant. The Dentist will record necessary notes on the chart including when the patient should be seen again. The patient then takes their chart to the reception area, schedules an appointment, and they are on their way. This method has proven to be fast and effective. It is well organized, like worker ants doing their part to make it all flow well.

The advantage to this type of system is that more patients can be seen on a daily basis. Therefore, the cost of treatment is often reduced. However, patients will find themselves seen by numerous Dental Assistants over the course of their treatment. Many Dental Assistants enjoy working in the area of orthodontics. They like the hands on interaction with the patients as well as providing quality care to those in need of orthodontic procedures.

You Should Become a Dental Assistant

Becoming a Dental Assistant offers you a great career working with people. You will generally be working under one or more dentists. This type of career will allow you to interact with many people as well as get to see various dental procedures take place first hand. This profession allows you the opportunity to participate in providing dental care as well as comfort to patients.

Dental Assistants are often confused with Dental Hygienist. They perform different dental procedures. Dental Assistants help both dentists and hygienist. A Dental Hygienist cleans patient’s teeth while the dentist performs procedures including fillings and bridges.

Dental Assistants are in huge demand all over the Nation. It is anticipated that Dental Assistants will be among the fastest growing occupations between now and 2012. This means you will have job opportunities available most anywhere you choose to live. The pay for Dental Assistants varies by region, but is generally several dollars above minimum wage. Being a Dental Assistant will allow you to decide if you want to pursue a career as a tech, dental hygienist, or a dentist. You will get to see first hand just what such jobs entail.

Employment as a Dental Assistant will help guarantee you job with normal hours of operation. This is very important, especially if you have a family you want to be spending your evenings and weekends with. In addition, you will generally have paid Holidays off as well. Most Dental Assistants receive a large discount on dental care for themselves, their spouse, and their children. This can be a great perk of the job that saves you a large sum of money in the end.

Some of the duties Dental Assistants will perform include assisting with dental procedures, setting up dental rooms, performing X-rays, and completing lab work. The exact procedures you will be able to perform will depend on the licensing requirements in your state as well as the needs of the dental office you choose to work in. It is important to ask what procedures you will be performing during a job interview if a complete job description is not provided for you.

If you enjoy working with people, having a daily routine that varies, and have excellent communication skills, then a career as a Dental Assistant might be right for you. Since you will be dealing with the public and other dental professionals throughout your day, the ability to communicate is going to make a big impact on how successful you will be as a Dental Assistant.

Generally, the certification program for Dental Assistant is 1 year. The exact length of the program depends on your state requirements and the program you are enrolling in. In some states, you can be trained on the job in as little as three months. Most states require you to pass a Dental Assistant Exam for certification.

Since technology and dental procedures continually improve, you will need to keep up with these changes as a Dental Assistant. Generally, such educational needs and trainings will be set up by your employer for you to attend at no charge.

Becoming a Dental Assistant can be a fun and rewarding career for individuals with a desire to help others, provide comfort, and who has excellent communication skills. The amount of employment opportunities in the field are numerous, with the numbers continuing to climb as more and more people focus on the importance of good oral hygiene.

Dental Assistants working with Drug Users

Dental Assistants are used to working with patients who are suffering from poor dental hygiene. Statistics show more than 10.5 million people in the United States are affected by drug and alcohol use. Substance abuse is easily recognizable by Dental Assistants. Many parents are left completely dumbfounded when the Dental Assistant has to inform them that their child appears to have a drug dependency and it is affecting their oral health. Types of drug abuse Dental Assistants encounter include sedatives, barbiturates, and narcotics.

The effects of drug use in relation to oral health care include missing dental appointments, fear, anxiety, cravings for sweets, the risk of infection from Hepatitis B and HIV, oral neglect, periodontal disease, gingivitis, and painful gums. It is easy to see from this list how taking drugs can lead to ongoing oral health issues. If the drug use continues tooth lose and inflamed gum areas may increase.

Dental Assistants are often consulted when individuals call the dental office or come in complaining of severe tooth pain. This can be a ploy on the patient’s behalf to obtain drugs from the dental facility, either in the office or in the form of a prescription. Dental Assistants need to watch for such scenarios and listen to their gut reaction in such cases. Often, these individuals will come in at closing time, get a prescription and an appointment to return the next morning. They get the prescription filled, but never show up for the appointment.

Since drug use is so common, Dental Assistants and other dental staff should be properly trained in the areas of drug use, drug interactions, and promoting drug treatment. If your employer does not offer such training, it is important that you bring it to their attention. In the mean time, it is your responsibility to train yourself by educating yourself in these areas. You can do so with textbooks or online materials.

Dental Assistants can provide patients with education, early intervention, and motivation to seek treatment for drug use. Often Dental Assistants can help the patient find a treatment program to look into. It is important for the Dental Assistant to treat the patient with respect, but fully disclose the risks involved in continued drug use as well as they affects to their dental health. This is where those valuable communication skills come in to play.

Dental Assistants need to be very careful when providing dental care to drug users. Since the types of drugs they use generally aren’t disclosed, it is unknown what types of behaviors they will display. They may become violent or experience a chemical reaction when treated with a local anesthetic.

Treating patients who use drugs also raises the risk of being exposed to communicable diseases. All precautions need to be taken to protect yourself. Most dental facilities have policies and procedures in place for dealing with individuals who come in for appointments under the influence of drugs and other substances. However, for ongoing drug users, you might not even know they have been using anything prior to treating them.

As a Dental Assistant, if you suspect a patient has been using drugs, approach the situation confidentially and carefully. Your main goal is to make sure other patients and staff members are not at risk of being harmed. You have the right as a Dental Assistant to refuse treatment to anyone for any reason. While most Dental Assistants don’t exercise this right often, there is not reason to put yourself or others at risk.

Drug use can adversely affect an individual’s oral health. Dental Assistants can offer then assistance with getting treatment for drug use. They can also educate the patient on the effects of drug use. However, this is a gray area where Dental Assistants need to procedure based on the observations of the patient and the policies and procedures in place for the dental facility they work for.

Dental Assistant Skills to Become a Dentist or Hygienist

You can complete your Dental Assistant training in about 12 to 24 months. This will provide you with the necessary skills to work in a dental facility. If you are interested in becoming a Dentist or Dental Hygienist, then it is a good idea to train as a Dental Assistant first. This will provide you with the opportunity to explore the dental field and know exactly what you are getting involved in before spending four or more years on an education in a field you are not going to enjoy.

Dental assistants help with a variety of needs in dental offices. They sterilize tools and get items ready for procedures for both Dentists and Hygienists. They assist during the actual procedures, handing necessary tool and equipment. In some states, they are even allowed to administer local anesthetics.

Dental Assistants have a front row seat for all the dental procedures as they take place. Careful observation of techniques will be a great learning experience for them. While Dental Assistants aren’t allowed to perform the procedures they are watching due to licensing issues, they definitely come to learn the process for each procedure.

Once a Dental Assistant decides to continue their education and pursue a career as a Dentist or Hygienist, they knowledge they gained in the dental office will be very valuable. Since the Dental Assistant has watched procedures take place many times, they are more likely to complete the procedures accurately themselves during the learning process of their continued dental education program.

Many Dentists want to keep the qualified staff they have. They are often willing to work your schedule around your classes. Some in larger dental offices might offer to assist you with the cost of attending the classes or reimburse you for your education upon completion if you agree to work for them.

Working as a Dental Assistant prior to becoming a Hygienist or Dentist gives you an edge on the competition. You will have work experience and education to market versus only education. Many employers want both when they hire dental Hygienists and Dentists. You will also have very sharp skills in the areas of communication and understanding fears patients may have when they enter the dentist office.

A certificate as a Dental Assistant can be a mere stepping stone for some who have greater ambitions in the dental field. However, the experience is one you will find educational and full of opportunity. You will also be more likely to treat new Dental Assistants with compassion and take them under your wing as they enter the dental field in the future.

All fields of dentistry continue to grow because people are taking better care of their teeth then ever before. New technology has lead to procedures that are not as painful as in the past, encouraging patients to come in for dental care. People are also living longer, so their teeth need to last longer.

If you are a Dental Assistant with an interest in pursuing a career as a Dentist or Hygienist, look into various programs in your area. Some with give you credit for the work you are doing at your position in the dental office. It will depend on the program and what types of tasks you are performing. However, many people find out they have less courses to take, saving them both time and money if they look into this prior to enrolling in a dental program.