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Dental Assistant vs Dental Hygienist - Difference and Comparison | Diffen

Dental Nurse vs Dental Assistant

In all the operations and aspects of patients, a dental nurse helps a doctor (dentist).

Working Life of a Dental Nurse:

A dental nurse can help others with work at reception and they can help every member of the dental team like dentists, dental technologists or technicians, therapists, and hygienists treating patients of almost all ages.

Some patients come for a routine check-up while some of them may require complicated treatments. The duty of a dental nurse is to reassure them and put them at ease. During dental practice, a dental nurse usually welcomes patients in the clinic and usually provides them support with their treatment by:

  • Taking responsibility for the decontamination of the dentistry instruments.
  • Maintaining the operating equipment of the dentist.
  • Ensuring that the necessary tools, equipment, supplies, and other materials are available and in place.
  • Looking closely with the dentist, responding quickly to the orders of the dentist, and normally keeping the surgery operation ready to use.
  • Looking after the records of the patients and making short notes of the patient record for the dentist and thus helping the doctors in examining the patients.

A dental nurse is also responsible for maintaining high standards of cleanliness and usually the control of infections.

Entry Requirements of Dental Nurse:

Usually, a dental nurse can work as a dental trainee nurse in clinics. These trainees usually do not need to have any medical qualifications. But, if you want to become a qualified dental nurse, then you should enroll yourself in any course related to dental nursing. You can study either part-time or full time and your degree or course must be approved by the general dental council. The exact requirements of the course may vary from provider to provider but at least two GCSEs are required in English and maths or a subject in science is mostly required for a part-time course.

A full-time course or degree level usually requires A-levels and 3 qualifications of equivalent level. To gain the necessary dental nursing qualifications, a three-level apprenticeship in the course of dental nursing is mostly required.

Skills possessed by a Dental Nurse:

The most important skills that a dental nurse must have include discretion and tact. A dental nurse is usually associated with the handling of confidential information of the patients and caring for those people who are very anxious. A dental nurse usually works with a team. They are willing to understand and learn the logic behind dentistry. Mostly, dental nurses deal with various individuals, each having its concerns and fears. So, dental nurses need to be friendly and tactful and are able to educate or offer their advice to them. They also need to follow the instructions and advice of the doctor.

Dental Assistant:

A dental assistant is a qualified individual who contributes a lot to a dental team. They are usually associated with various tasks. These tasks usually range from the care of the patients to several laboratory and office duties. The exact responsibilities of a dental assistant will depend upon the credentials and background of the dental assistant and the state laws in force at that time and most probably the doctor for which the assistant is working.

A dental assistant can advance to many other careers as well. They can become research associates, office managers, dental sale representative, dental hygienists, educators, dental laboratory technologists, and dentists even.

Skills of a Dental Assistant:

If you are interested and you want to become a dental assistant, you should have the following abilities and skills:

  • Interest in science subjects
  • A proper understanding of the complete body of humans
  • Ability to talk and communicate effectively with others
  • A desire for deep and continual learning
  • Manual dexterity
  • Concern and care of others
  • An ability to utilize the problem-solving skills
  • Your willingness to work as a member of a team.

Task performed by a dental Assistant:

A dental assistant can perform a variety of tasks. Some of these tasks are:

  1. Assisting the dental surgeon mostly in all the phases of treatment.
  2. Sterilizing the instruments of the dentist.
  3. Preparing the treatment rooms.
  4. Providing nutritional counseling and education to the patients.
  5. Preparing the dental insurance claims.
  6. Confirming and arranging appointments with a dentist.
  7. Processing, mounting, and exposing radiographs.
  8. Performing a wide range of functions related to tantra-oral expansion.
  9. Fabricating of the mouth guards.
  10. Working as a member of a dental team.
  11. Performing many procedures of the laboratory.
  12. Transferring and selecting instruments for the dentist.
  13. Performing a temporary sedative restoration.
  14. Removing and placing retraction cord.
  15. Removing sutures.
  16. Placing sealants.
  17. Taking impressions
  18. Removing and placing surgical and periodontal dressings.
  19. Placing and fabricating provisional restorations.
  20. Removing ligatures and archwires.
  21. Recording and taking some vital signs.
  22. Assisting patients in medical emergency conditions and providing them with care by first aid, CPR, and other adjunctive services.
  23. Placing some permanent restorations.
  24. Assisting and helping with the care and administration of some local anesthesia.
  25. Placing topical anesthesia.
  26. Assist in monitoring oxygen and nitrous oxide sedation.
  27. Applying fluoride.
  28. Preparation of teeth for bonding purposes.
  29. Collection of patient data.
  30. Performing extra or intra-oral examinations.
  31. Performing some coronal polish
  32. Entering data utilizing computer programs.

Academic Requirements:

A dental assistant is required/to enroll in a post-high school program. These programs are available at vocational schools, community colleges, technical institutes dental schools, or universities. After graduation, graduates usually receive certificates.

Some of the courses that are usually taken by dental Assistants include:

  • Physiology and anatomy
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • Microbiology
  • Psychology
  • Dental head and neck anatomy
  • Communication skills
  • Intro to the dental profession
  • Dental specialties
  • Dental materials
  • Medical emergency
  • Data science
  • Practice management
  • Dental health education
  • Dental radiology
  • Clinical assisting

Those dental assistants who want to become nationally certified, need to take a test of DANB (Dental Assisting National Board). The name of the test is CDA ( Certified Dental Assistant) examinations. Some education opportunities are also available for those medical assistants who might want to obtain a degree beyond their certificates.

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