What Is an Orthodontic Assistant?
An orthodontist assistant is a type of dental assistant who specializes in helping licensed orthodontists provide care and treatment to patients. The duties of an orthodontic assistant can vary depending on the specific needs of the practice, but may include taking X-rays, preparing patients for procedures, sterilizing equipment, and providing post-operative care.
Many orthodontic assistants also serve as patient educators, providing information on proper dental hygiene and care. In some cases, orthodontic assistants may also be responsible for taking impressions or other types of diagnostic records. Some orthodontic assistants are certified dental assistants or dental hygienists with special training in orthodontics; others may have completed a specialized training program offered by an orthodontic practice.
Orthodontic Assistant Education
To start dental assisting, you will need to complete a formal education program and obtain certification from the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The ADA offers several different types of programs that can lead to certification, including certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs.
Programs that lead to certification as an orthodontic assistant typically take between one and two years to complete and include coursework in topics such as dental anatomy, physiology, and materials science. Many programs also include hands-on clinical training, which gives students the opportunity to gain real-world experience working with patients.
Top Skills for an Orthodontic Assistant
Orthodontist assistants need to have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. They must be able to effectively interact with patients, orthodontists, and other members of the dental team. They should also be detail-oriented and able to work well under pressure. Strong organizational skills are also important, as orthodontic assistants are often responsible for managing patients’ schedules and keeping track of their treatment progress.
Orthodontic Assistant Jobs and Employment Outlook
The job outlook for orthodontic assistants is positive, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting employment in this field to grow by 18 percent from 2016 to 2026. This growth is attributed to an aging population and an increased demand for dental care services. As the baby boomer generation continues to age, there will be an increasing need for dental services, including orthodontic treatment. In addition, more people are now insured under the Affordable Care Act, which is projected to increase demand for all types of dental services.
How Do Top Orthodontic Assistants Rate Their Jobs?
The best orthodontist assistants are those who have a strong passion for working with patients and providing excellent customer service. They should also be detail-oriented and able to follow instructions carefully. In addition, top orthodontic assistants should be able to work well under pressure and multitask effectively.
As orthodontic assistants are often the first point of contact for patients, it is important that they be personable and upbeat. They should also be able to offer support and guidance to patients throughout their treatment. Orthodontic assistants who excel in their roles often have a deep commitment to making a difference in the lives of their patients.
Average Orthodontist Assistant Salary
The average salary for orthodontic assistants in the United States is $50,030. However, experience and education can play a significant role in earnings. Orthodontist assistants with more than five years of experience tend to earn higher salaries than those with less experience. In addition, those who have completed formal training programs or received certification from the American Dental Association (ADA) typically earn higher salaries than those who have not. The most experienced and educated orthodontic assistants can earn salaries of $60,000 or more per year.
What Is a Hygiene Assistant?
A hygiene assistant is a dental professional who helps patients maintain good oral health. These individuals typically work with dentists and hygienists to provide cleanings, x-rays, and other preventive care services.
Hygiene assistants must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. They should be able to effectively interact with patients, dentists, and other members of the dental team. They should also be detail-oriented and able to work well under pressure. Strong organizational skills are also important in this role, as hygiene assistants are often responsible for managing patients’ schedules and keeping track of their treatment progress.
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