Before your dentist takes a look in your mouth, is he suited up like he’s ready for surgery? Most dentists wear masks, gloves and protective eyewear –and they should! The precautions they take to prevent infection are vital for your safety and theirs.
Sound sterilization practices in dentistry protect patients, dentists and the whole dental team. They prevent the growth of bacteria on instruments and surfaces throughout the dental practice. They ensure that the germs in your mouth don’t make it into anyone else's and that no one who’s been in the chair before you has passed along anything to you.
Microorganisms in blood and saliva can carry bacteria and diseases like hepatitis, herpes, tuberculosis, staph and strep. When proper sterilization procedures aren’t used they can pass from one patient to another. Improper sterilization practices can make you really sick, and they can also create serious complications if you have any preexisting conditions. Good sterilization practices could actually save your life!
That’s why dentists and dental assistants take so many precautions. The next time you visit your dentist, notice how clean everything is. Does the dental assistant unwrap sterilized instruments to give to the dentist? Do they prepare all patient surface areas so the only germs on them will be yours? Do they make certain that everything used during an examination is disposed of properly in biohazard bins? Does everyone wash their hands before and between seeing patients?
Dental assistants are vital members of the modern dental team and one of their most important jobs is battling bacteria and other germs . They need to understand and carry out proper instrument sterilization and prepare a safe and sterile area for the dental exam. Dental assistants also make certain everything used is disposed of properly.
Keeping things clean is hardly the only task busy dental assistants have. They help dentists before, during and after the exam. They take patient histories and instruct them on proper oral care. They take impressions, construct temporary crowns, use sealants and bleaching trays and develop digital and analog x-rays.
They’re so busy because dentists are, too! Did you know that there were almost 100,000 dentists working in the U.S. in 2013? That’s probably why the demand for dental assistants has grown so much. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for the profession is expected to be much faster than average through 2022.
Do you want a career where what you do really matters? Dental assisting might be right for you! At Porter and Chester Institute, we offer our dental assisting program at all nine of our locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts.