While an orthodontist solves the oral issues of the patients, the assistant handles all the necessary tasks like preparing the patients for the procedure, presenting the respective case files etc. This article talks about the educational requirements, pay package and the job description of an orthodontist assistant.
An orthodontist assistant acts as an aide who helps the orthodontist with complex procedures of teeth alignment and treating the various disorders of the tooth enamel. The assistant also assists patients who need help with their dental issues such as orthodontic braces, retainers or mouth guards. They help the orthodontist perform a number of medical and laboratory duties. In simple words you can call the assistants a primary help to the orthodontist.
For an attractive pay package, it is essential that the assistants know their job well. This includes technical, organizational and medical knowledge. The assistant is also one of the most important members of the orthodontists clinic and they should know the quality of multitasking. They have to make sure that the operating equipment is clean, sterile and functional. The assistants also keep a note of all the medications being used by the orthodontist. In a week an orthodontist assistant works around 40 hours however, in busy times they also have to do weekend shifts.
A certified orthodontist assistant’s pay package would be higher than its non certified counterpart. To become a successful certified assistant, an Associate’s Degree in Nursing is required. This degree is a 2 year program which should be completed from an accredited medical school, college or university. These programs give you a detail study of the theory as well as the practical experience on various procedures. The main certification body is the Dental Assistant National Board (DANB). There are many other educational institutions which do have the right to certify candidates as legit dental assistants, but the DANB is the most popular one. The certification ensures that the candidate possess complete knowledge of dental procedures.
After students complete their courses, they have to appear for a COA exam which if cleared successfully makes the candidate a legit orthodontist assistant. The certification also depends on which state is the educational body situated. It is recommended that interested candidates should first get in touch with the Local Sate Board of Dentistry in order to find out which type of certification is valid in their state.
This job pays well as more and more people are becoming health conscious and have started to take good care of their teeth. Factors such as location, education and experience do influence the salary package. Candidates which are just out of training will receive lesser salary in comparison to experienced people. The annual orthodontist assistant salary starts from $33,000 but with experience it can increase to $48,560. The salary structure would differ for candidates who have certification from accredited colleges and universities. Here is the pay package offered according to different locations.
After looking at the required educational requirements, let’s have a look at some more additional duties.
- Orthodontist assistants perform a variety of duties which include cleaning laboratory equipment and maintaining medical records.
- They also sterilize instruments and keep them ready for different orthodontic procedures.
- They make patients comfortable in dental chair and explain them different procedures before treatment.
- During various dental procedures, they assist the orthodontist with all the necessary things.
- They instruct patients on various precautions to be taken before and after dental procedures.
- They process and prepare X-Ray reports as directed by dentists.
- They also help the orthodontists in removing sutures, topical anesthetics to gums and remove excess cement used in the filling process.
- Dental assistants who also perform laboratory duties make casts of teeth and also clean and service appliances.
Many schools and colleges conduct workshops for students so that they can have a better understanding of the various aspects of the job. Students participating in this workshop get a chance to work with successful orthodontists and some of them do secure employment through these workshops.