What to Expect as an Extern: Dental Assistant

January 31, 2019

The thought of starting an externship can be intimidating. As students near the end of their program, they begin celebrating their release into the world of healthcare. But they soon realize how intimidating that world can be. The healthcare field is not for the faint of heart. While our students are well trained, certain procedures can prove to be more challenging when dealing with real patients.

Know What’s Ahead

Some students handle the stresses of seeing blood, managing patient fear, and quick problem solving better than others. This will all come in time with practice. Knowing what is expected of them in an externship can help students be more prepared for their role as an extern. So, here are the top 12 duties dental assistant externs will be asked to assist in at their site.

12 Duties of a Dental Assistant

  1. Assist the dentist during a variety of treatment procedures.

  2. Take and develop dental radiographs (x-rays).

  3. Inquire about the patient’s medical history.

  4. Take blood pressure and pulse.

  5. Serve as an infection control officer, developing infection control protocol.

  6. Prepare and sterilize instruments and equipment.

  7. Help patients feel comfortable before, during, and after dental treatment.

  8. Provide patients with instructions for oral care following surgery or other dental treatment procedures.

  9. Teach patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health.

  10. Counsel patients on tooth brushing, flossing, and nutrition.

  11. Take impressions of patients’ teeth for study casts (models of teeth).

  12. Perform office management tasks.

Interested in Becoming a Dental Assistant?

Community Care College has day and evening classes available for students interested in the Dental Assistant program. This program covers proper oral hygiene instruction, chair-side manner, patient care, dental software, and instrumentation. Because of our thorough curriculum, our students are well prepared for a strong career after graduation.

Click here to learn more!

From the desk of Janet Coon RDH, Community Care College Dental Assistant Department Head/Instructor