Orthodontic assistants work in dental offices where they are required to provide chair-side assistance to Orthodontists by preparing patients, ensuring that they are comfortable and offering assistance for complex oral surgery procedures.
Orthodontic assistants perform many tasks such as preparing the patient by taking x-rays and impressions, performing preliminary examinations and collecting diagnostic data. They prepare appointment rooms, sterilize orthodontic tools, record-keeping, sterilization of equipment and adjust patients’ braces as directed by the resident Orthodontist.
To work as an Orthodontic assistant, one should have good knowledge of orthodontics along with skills like customer service, dexterity, ability to follow instructions, attention to details, effective communication, and infection control.
Educational requirement to become an Orthodontic Assistants includes a high school diploma, or its equivalent, and on-the-job training or an associate’s degree or certificate in dental assisting, along with license in certain states.
Following is a list of duties for an Orthodontic assistant:
Orthodontic Assistant Duties
• Take intra-oral X-rays of patients’ mouths.
• Take photographs of patients’ teeth to help the Orthodontist in developing treatment plans.
• Ensure that patients are comfortable in the dental chair
• Keep patients’ mouths dry during orthodontic procedures by using a suction hose as needed.
• Take patient’s tooth impressions for the fabrication of customized mouth-guards and retainers.
• Prepare materials for dental impressions.
• Remove and replace wires, coil springs, donuts, and elastic bands.
• Prepare and polish a patient’s teeth before they have braces installed.
• Help the orthodontist in applying the braces and in performing other clinical procedures.
• Make sure that all orthodontic instruments and equipment are properly sterilized before each use.
• Hand the necessary tools to the orthodontist at the appropriate time during the examination and treatment.
• Instruct patients in proper oral hygiene
• Document patient medical and oral health histories and notated charts appropriately as directed.
• Schedule patient appointments.
• Generate bills and take payment.
• Maintain dental supplies inventory by checking stock to determine inventory level, anticipating needed supplies, placing and expediting orders for supplies, and verifying receipt of supplies.
• Maintain a safe and clean working environment by complying with procedures, rules, and regulations.