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What Dental Assistants Do

Procedures a dental assistant may perform are regulated on a state by state basis and may not include duties assigned to dental hygienists. But the varied activities of an assistant in most states make for a challenging, interesting and responsible position whether chairside or in the business office.

In smaller practices, the assistant might work with the dentist as well as managing the business aspects of the practice such as scheduling, billing and purchasing. In larger practices, the duties may be more specialized. Many assistants are qualified to take expose radiographs. In most dental offices, the dental assistant is in charge of infection control procedures, which are closely regulated by OSHA (the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration). The complexity and importance of this task is a real challenge for any professional, requiring constant updates to remain current with regulations.

The dental assistant works in behalf of the patient as well as the dentist in helping to assure a high level of professional excellence in oral health care delivery. Helping this dental assisting professional to do a better job is the goal of the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA).