What Does an Orthodontic Assistant Do? A Day in The Life

Young man at the orthodontist

Orthodontic assistants play an important role in the field of dentistry, specifically in orthodontics. These are skilled professionals who provide support to the orthodontist during procedures and administrative tasks.

Some orthodontist assistant duties can include maintaining records, helping with procedures, and taking X-rays. In this we’ll answer the question, “what does an orthodontic assistant do” and why does it matter to you?

What is an Orthodontic Assistant?

An orthodontic assistant is a dental professional who works alongside orthodontists to provide assistance with a variety of tasks. They have an important role in supporting the orthodontist to ensure a smooth experience for the patient.

Generally, orthodontic assistants are dental assistants that receive a certification in orthodontics so they typically have a combination of clinical experience and education.

What Do Orthodontic Assistants Do?

The responsibilities of an orthodontic assistant can be divided into several key areas:

Perform Basic Orthodontic Procedures

One of the primary responsibilities of an orthodontic assistant is to assist orthodontists during procedures. They prepare the treatment area, ensuring it is clean and sterile. They also help with the application and removal of orthodontic appliances such as braces, retainers, and aligners.

Additionally, orthodontic assistants may take impressions of patients’ teeth and assist in the placement of separators or orthodontic bands.

Pass and Clean Dental Instruments

When a patient is in the chair, it’s the assistant’s job to make sure they’re comfortable and that the procedure is running smoothly. This is made possible by handling and passing the instruments to the orthodontist to ensure that everything is readily available when it’s needed.

After each procedure, they clean and disinfect instruments, maintaining a sterile environment to prevent the risk of infection and ensure patient safety.

Maintain Patient Records

Accurate record-keeping is crucial in orthodontic practices. Orthodontic assistants maintain and update patient records, documenting treatment plans, progress, and any relevant information.

They may also schedule appointments, answer phone calls, and assist with patient inquiries. Organizational skills and attention to detail are essential in this aspect of their role.

Perform Impressions and X-Rays

Orthodontic assistants often take impressions of patients’ teeth using dental putty or digital scanners. These impressions help orthodontists create molds and models for treatment planning.

Additionally, they may assist in taking dental X-rays, ensuring proper positioning and patient comfort while following safety protocols.

Do Orthodontic Assistants Put Braces On?

Orthodontic assistants may play a vital role in the operation of an office as a whole but they are not responsible for the actual placement of braces. Orthodontic assistants will assist in the process of preparing the patient’s teeth, providing the necessary tools, and helping the patient through the process.

Can a Dental Assistant Work in Orthodontics?

Yes, a dental assistant can work in orthodontics by receiving specialized training available through Howard Health Academy. We can help you become certified in orthodontics with the specific knowledge necessary to expand your career and command a higher salary.

How to Become an Orthodontic Assistant?

To become an orthodontic assistant, aspiring individuals typically need to complete a dental assisting program that offers specialized training in orthodontics. These programs are often available at vocational schools, community colleges, or dental assistant training institutes. The duration of the program may vary, but it generally ranges from several months to a year.

As mentioned, we offer this type of training through Howard Academy as well as continuing education for current dental assistants who would like to get certified in orthodontics.

Job Outlook for Orthodontic Assistants

The average salary for an orthodontic assistant is $45,800 per year with the salary varying based on your location. The number of people expected to work as an assistant is expected to increase over the next 10 years so there is great opportunity for professionals looking to enter this field.

Final Thoughts

Orthodontic assistants play a vital role in the successful operation of orthodontic practices. Their expertise and support contribute to providing quality care to orthodontic patients.

From assisting with procedures to maintaining patient records, orthodontic assistants handle diverse responsibilities with efficiency and professionalism. If you have a passion for oral health, enjoy working in a team, and have an eye for detail, a career as an orthodontic assistant may be a fulfilling choice.

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