A common misconception about dental assistants is that they are not as important as other dental professionals like dentists or dental hygienists. Another common misconception is that they are not bring as beneficial to the dental industry. These unfortunate myths have been proven to be simply not be true. In a survey of dental professionals, over 99% of those surveyed report that dental assistants are valuable in the office. Dental assistants are beneficial to the overall profitability and productivity of the dental practice. They also are highly influential on patient satisfaction and patient safety. Here, we will discuss in greater detail the four ways that dental assistants bring value to dental practices.
Dental Assistants Contribute to Productivity
Dental assistants have many duties in the dental practice. They are responsible for assisting in procedures, performing X-rays, collecting patient information, providing patient health education, performing office management tasks and many other tasks throughout the day. It is no surprise that it is reported that 99% of dentists and dental office managers report that dental assistants are beneficial to office productivity.
Without the dental assistants to help perform these duties, the burden would be placed on dentists and other staff members, causing time strains and patient dissatisfaction due to increased wait times and disorganized workflow. Dental assistants must be highly organized and experienced at optimizing workflow for members of office staff, including dentists, hygienists and clerical staff. A productive dental practice is a successful dental practice. And I think we can contribute the success in part to the productivity of dental assistants.
In some practices, tasks are assigned to different members of the dental office team. For example, a hygienist may apply treatments to a patient’s teeth for a dentist. But sometimes, tasks can be delegated to a dental assistant, if he or she is properly trained. Dental assistants can increase the profits of your dental practice by expanding their range of expertise.
Dental assistants have standard responsibilities such as assisting in procedures, providing education to patients and collecting patient’s health history. But they can also obtain additional training in procedures like taking radiographs, applying dental treatments and performing other duties not typical for dental assistants. This will save an office money by allowing the dental assistant to perform multiple duties that a different professional would otherwise need to perform. Different states have different requirements for dental assistants to expand their scope of practice. Different titles for dental assistants may be obtained. These include Expanded Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA), Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) and Registered Dental Assistant with Expanded Functions (RDAEF).
Dental Assistants Improve Patient Safety
Infection prevention is extremely important in dentistry, especially when it affects patient safety. It is also important for the safety of the dental care provider. Patients rely on front-line dental caregivers to maintain a clean or sterilized environment when providing quality care. Dental assistants are among the front-line care team that is responsible for maintaining a safe and germ-free environment for dental procedures. In fact, 99% of dentists and dental assistants report that sterilization and disinfection duties are delegated to dental assistants. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, sterilization of workspaces has been especially important. The American Dental Association reported that the rate of coronavirus infections related to dentistry remained at 0.5%, which is extremely low compared to the general health care field’s infection rates. This success can certainly be contributed partially to dental assistants, as they are the primary intervention when it comes to disinfection and infection prevention in dentistry.
Impact Patient Satisfaction
It is common knowledge that patient satisfaction equals a thriving business. Dental practices are no exception to the rule. Dental assistants are oftentimes one of first smiling faces that a patient will see when coming in for dental care, so it is no surprise that their impact on patient satisfaction is so high.
Dental assistants possess important qualities for patient interactions, including compassion, active listening skills and being an eloquent communicator. Dental assistants are so influential on their patients, that 97% of dentists report that patient retention is directly related to dental assistant’s impact on patients. With nearly 60% of people reporting anxietyrelating to dental visits, being a compassionate dental assistant with good bedside manner is extremely important. Dental assistants bring value to dental practices by providing compassionate care to patients.
Are you interested in becoming a dental assistant and bringing substantial value to a dental practice by helping dentists and other dental providers be more successful? Strategic Practice Solutions Dental Academy may be right for you! With quality learning at an affordable price, SPS Dental Academy is committed to your satisfaction and to meeting the needs of the dental community. Call or click today for more information!