Summary: The Registered Dental Assistant performs the same duties and has the same responsibilities as the Dental Assistant, but with some additional responsibilities, including supervisory duties.
The Registered Dental Assistant performs such duties as preparing the patient for dental treatment, assisting the dentist at the chair in restorative dentistry or oral surgery, preparing materials and setting up the correct equipment for the dentist’s use. In addition, he/she is responsible for maintaining patient flow and supervising other dental assistants. The dental assistant sterilizes instruments. She/he also helps establish a friendly, warm atmosphere for her/his patients, keeping them calm and at ease as much as possible.
The Registered Dental Assistant is allowed to assist in the administration of certain patient treatment as outlined below.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
1. General Supervision
a. Extra-oral duties or functions specified by the supervising dentist
b. Operating of dental radiographic equipment for the purpose of oral radiography if the dental assistant has complied with the requirements of certification.
c. Mouth-mirror inspection of the oral cavity, to include charting of obvious lesions, existing restorations and missing teeth.
d. Placement and removal of temporary sedative dressings.
2. Aiding the dentist in the administration of treatment through proper chairside procedure.
a. Obtains endodontic cultures
b. Dry canals, previously opened by the supervising dentist, with absorbent points.
c. Test pulp vitality
d. Place bases and liners on sound dentin
e. Removal of cement excess from supragingival surfaces of teeth
f. Sizing of stainless steel crowns, temporary crowns and bands
g. Fabrication of temporary crowns intra-orally
h. Temporary cementation and removal of temporary crowns and removal or orthodontic bands
i. Placement of orthodontic separators
j. Placement and ligation of arch wires
k. Placement of post-extraction and periodontal dressings
l. Apply bleaching agents
m. Coronal polishing (with certification). Determination that the teeth to be polished are free of calculus or other extraneous material prior to coronal polishing
n. Removal of excess cement from coronal surfaces of teeth under orthodontic treatment by means of an ultrasonic scaler (requires certification)
o. Maintains responsibility and obligation primarily with the dental practitioner.
p. Will remain with the dentist when he is with a patient to assist with the procedure.
q. Assures that all charts are available and provides proper instruments, at the correct time in the proper sequence for any given treatment procedure.
r. Prepares dental material correctly, as needed, and in the amount of time sufficient for the procedure but not so much as to allow wasting of materials.
s. Maintains a clean working area.
t. Will pull charts ahead of each dental day, and check forms to see if they need to be updated.
u. Files charts and x-rays after each dental day.
v. Is required to take course necessary to be certified in California to take dental x-rays; if certified, takes all x-rays requested by the dentist.
3. Supervisory responsibilities
a. Trains and supervises other dental assistants
b. Anticipates the sequence of dental procedures and is prepared in advance for them so that the dentist can work as efficiently as possible (patient flow)
4. Promoting an atmosphere supportive of good dental and general health.
a. Demonstrates good personal hygiene.
b. Has clean hair and uniform.
5. Maintaining a sterile and neat working environment
a. Completes all chairside clean-up procedures before any patient is seated.
b. Disinfects any portion of the dental chair exposed to saliva or the oral cavity before any patient is seated.
c. Follows correct procedures for sterilization of instruments.
d. Sterilizes every item according to its correct sterilization procedures.
e. Changes gloves before each patient is treated.
6. Assuming the responsibilities associated with any expanded duties that may be delegated by the dentist. A dental assistant may perform such basic supportive dental procedures as the following under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist when done so pursuant to the order, control and full professional responsibility of the supervising dentist. Such procedures shall be checked and approved by the supervising dentist prior to dismissal of the patient from the office of said dentist. Basic supportive dental procedures dental assistant may do as described above are as follows:
a. Accept delegation of only those duties that lie within personal skill level.
b. Take impressions for diagnostic and opposing models, bleaching trays, temporary crowns and bridges, and sports guards
c. Apply non-aerosol and non-caustic topical agents.
d. Remove post-extraction and periodontal dressings.
e. Place elastic orthodontic separators
f. Remove orthodontic separators.
g. Assist in the administration of nitrous oxide analgesia or sedation; however, a dental assistant shall not start the administration of the gases and shall not adjust the flow of the gases unless instructed to do so by the dentist, who shall be present at the patient’s chairside at the implementation of these instructions. This regulation shall not be constructed to prevent any person from taking appropriate action in the event of a medical emergency.
h. Hold anterior matrices.
i. Remove sutures.
j. Take intra-oral measurements for orthodontic procedures
k. Seat adjusted retainers or headgear, including appropriate instructions.
l. Check for loose bands.
m. Remove arch wires.
n. Remove ligature ties.
o. Apply topical fluoride, after scaling and polishing by the supervising dentist or a registered dental hygienist.
p. Place and remove rubber dams.
q. Place, wedge and remove matrices.
r. Cure restorative or orthodontic materials in operative site with light-curing device
s. Educate any patient about his/her dental treatment according to directions from the dentist.
t. May perform many lab duties that the dentist teaches, such as making custom tray.
7. Following the directions and responsibilities associated with the dental assistant’s rotating assignments as delegated.
a. Performs assigned housekeeping and maintains duty on required data.
b. Organizes and cleans dental treatment room, lab and x-ray room as assigned.
c. Performs duties requested by dentist to whom the assistant is assigned.
8. Acquainting the patient with the aspects of their dental visit, and providing support and compassion to that patient when it is needed.
a. Patients are always treated with dignity and respect.
b. Questions are answered honestly and completely.
c. The clinic atmosphere is relaxed and friendly.
Work requires quick mental acuity, memory, judgment and decision-making. Hands must be steady. Requires active monitoring of status of presenting patients. Keen listening skills. Good personnel management. Work is at times sedentary as well, requiring reaching and handling to process various types of forms. Also requires fingering keyboards. Talking and hearing are required to handle patient inquiries and the appointment process. Near visual acuity. Some lifting required.