Dental Assisting Background and Basics

The first dental assistant dates back to 1885 when Dr. C. Edmund Kells asked his wife to assist in his practice mixing dental materials and cleaning up the operatory following procedures. Realizing the benefit of having his wife’s help, Dr. Kells hired Malvina Cueria who is considered the first dental assistant. In these early years, dental assistants were referred to as Ladies in Attendance. By the early 1900s, the title dental assistant was used to describe these dental practitioners, and the first dental assisting professional association started in Nebraska in 1917. Through the years, dental assistants have increased in knowledge, skill, and training, and continue to be the backbone of dental practices. Dentist offices frequently reflect Dr. Kells’ early model by hiring two dental assistants to provide unparalleled patient care.

What is a Dental Assistant?

A dental assistant is a valuable member of any dentistry team. Assistants partner with the dentist in order to provide the most efficient, effective oral health care improving quality of dental treatments for patients. Modern dental assistants understand all aspects of oral health care from greeting patients, to assisting during complicated procedures, and answering questions about scheduling and insurance, assistants need to master a wide variety of skills to offer the highest quality services and assist dentists and patients.

Dental Assistant Job Duties

While the functions of dental assistants vary based on state regulations, type of dental practice, and individual practice preferences, some of the most common dental assisting responsibilities include:

  • Assisting the dentist during various procedures
  • Taking x-rays, photos, and impressions of teeth
  • Patient medical history and vitals screenings
  • Infection control (sterilizing and preparing instruments and operatories)
  • Patient care (helping patients feel comfortable, giving pre and post-operative instructions, and offering patient education)

At A-Z School of Dental Assisting & Front Office, we offer educational courses and hands on training in all of these areas and many more. Our courses prepare assistants to perform at the highest level from their first day on the job. Some of our courses include:

  • Dental anatomy
  • Treatment room care & sterilization
  • Radiography
  • 4 handed dentistry (placing and removing dams, mouth rinses, and more)
  • Expanded functions (training in sealants, restorative dentistry assisting, and placement of fillings and temporary restorations)
  • Pain and anxiety control for nervous patients
  • Surgery and prosthodontics assisting
  • Diagnostics including training in creating custom night guards or bleaching trays

We also train assistants in front office administration, high quality patient services, scheduling, insurance, and other ways to improve patient experience. Our goal is to offer dental assistants the information they need to provide amazing care for patients from day one. That’s why our program has dental office observation and hands on training built into the curriculum.

Contact A-Z School of Dental Assisting & Front Office at (480) 457-8330

If you’re interested in a dental assisting career, contact A-Z School of Dental Assisting & Front Office today. We know how important well trained, knowledgeable dental assistants are for any practice, and as the field continues to grow each year, their skill will only become more important. Enter this challenging, growing profession in just twelve short weeks with the program at A-Z School of Dental Assisting & Front Office.