An Orthodontic Assistant is responsible for working with the orthodontist to assist with procedures related to orthodontic treatment, such as installing and adjusting braces and taking orthodontic X-rays. They also help with patient care, record-keeping, and office management tasks.
Duties and Responsibilities
- Preparing the patient for orthodontic procedures, such as seating them in the dental chair and getting their medical history.
- Assisting the orthodontist during procedures related to orthodontic treatment, such as installing and adjusting braces and taking orthodontic X-rays.
- Sterilizing dental instruments and equipment to prevent the spread of infection.
- Maintaining accurate patient records, including medical history, treatment plans, and progress notes.
- Managing office administrative tasks, such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, and managing patient files.
- Educating patients on proper oral hygiene practices and post-operative care related to orthodontic treatment.
- Ordering and maintaining orthodontic supplies and equipment inventory.
- Maintaining a clean and organized treatment room and work area.
- Providing assistance to the orthodontist and other members of the dental team as needed.
Skills and Qualifications
- High school diploma or equivalent.
- Completion of a dental assistant training program that includes orthodontic training.
- Knowledge of orthodontic procedures, instruments, and terminology.
- Proficiency in sterilization techniques and infection control procedures.
- Good communication and interpersonal skills.
- Strong attention to detail and organizational skills.
- Ability to work effectively as part of a team.
- Computer skills for managing electronic patient records and scheduling appointments.
- Certification in radiography and dental assisting may be required in some states.
Certification and Licensure
Some states may require certification or registration as a dental assistant. The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) offers certification for dental assistants who have completed an accredited program or have equivalent work experience. Additionally, some states may require licensure or registration with the state dental board.
Job Outlook and Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for dental assistants is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual salary for dental assistants was $41,180 as of May 2020. The salary for orthodontic assistants may be higher due to the specialized training and responsibilities required.