Quiz 22: Responsibilities of a Dental Assistant


The study of the teeth is known as Odontology. Teeth are auxiliary organs, which assist to masticate food. There are two arrangements of teeth. They are the deciduous (baby) or primary teeth, and the permanent teeth. At the time of birth, the baby possesses 44 tooth buds. The tooth buds start to burst forth when the baby becomes 6 months old. Based on the position, there are two types of teeth. These are anterior and posterior teeth. The following are the anterior teeth: 1. Incisors: These are situated in the very anterior of the mouth. Their thin cutting edge pierces food into pieces. They comprise of lateral and central incisors. 2. Canines/Cuspids: They are situated next to the adjacent incisors. Their sharp cusps/points cut food, which is too hard for the incisors to cut. They comprise of the lengthiest roots of all teeth. The following are the posterior teeth: 1. Premolars: They are situated next to the canines/cuspids. They are also known as bicuspids, as they possess two cusps for grinding and tearing. 2. Molars: They are situated next to the bicuspids. They are the biggest teeth in the mouth. They comprise of wide grinding surfaces, which grind down huge lumps of food.

The duty of a dental assistant is to assist the doctor and prepare rooms for the patients. They are responsible for maintaining the cleanness and the hygiene in the room. They need to prepare all the equipment and instruments that are required for the treatment. The responsibilities of the dental assistant while preparing the room for the patient coming for the routine cleaning are as follows: 1. The assistant dentist is responsible for the level of cleanliness in the room. 2. He must prepare all the instruments, check their setups and sterilize them. 3. It is the duty of the dental assistant to schedule the client's appointment with the doctor and provide the necessary oral hygiene to the patient. 4. He should process and mount the dental X-rays. After the treatment of the patient, he must clean up the working area.

Dental assistance assists doctor in oral treatments. They take care of the patient and set up dental equipment and instruments. They also take care of oral hygiene and precautions taken before an oral procedure. Oral hygiene is very important as they prevent bad breath, periodontal infection and bleeding gums. Mrs. Smith, a new client is upset by the precautions taken in the dental office. It is very important to make her aware of the precautions taken at the dental office, moreover, importance of these precautions. Some of the major precautions are as follows: 1. Doctor and dental assistance must wear gloves during any oral care procedure. Blood, saliva and mucous membrane of patient should never be touched with bare hands, as it may cause infections. 2. Surgical masks must be worn while operating the patients directly or operating on blood, mucous and saliva slides of patients. 3. Before operating on patient, laboratory coats should be used by doctors and dental assistances to prevent any blood, saliva and mucous infection. 4. Hands should be washed properly before and after operating on patients. Mrs. Smith should know the reason behind these precautions, and importance of oral hygiene. Following are some important reasons: 1. Infected blood, saliva and mucous sample of patients can be communicated if treated with bare hands. They should always be operated using gloves to prevent infection. 2. The mouth is full of bacteria, which is controlled by proper oral hygiene. However, in case of infection, some harmful bacteria grow out of control and cause gum infections. These bacteria can communicate to doctor and dental assistance from patient's mouth if they are not using proper masks to cover their nose and mouth. 3. After operating on patients, instruments should be cleaned properly to clean debris. They may be a source of infection. Cleaning should be done wearing gloves as debris may contain blood, saliva or mucous.