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***New To Assisting***

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by vista909, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. vista909

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    Hello, I'm a new member and I was just wondering what assisting involves. I have a dentist and he said I don't need to be certified or whatever. But asides from that, what exactly do you DO when you assist a general dentist (assuming you don't get X-ray license or anything). Help me out.
     
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  3. rewJW

    rewJW surviving
    5+ Year Member

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    You should probably shadow/observe or work in sterilization before you jump into chairside assisting. Chairside assisting involves quite a lot - not just suctioning, but also setting up for each procedure (so you have to know what the next procedure is going to be, and know everything that will be needed for that procedure), passing instruments (so you have to know the order s/he needs instruments in for each procedure), mixing cements (which, for certain kinds of cement, isn't as easy as just mixing the catalyst and base together all willy nilly), retracting tongue and/or cheek, and quite a bit more. I don't think it's a good idea to jump straight into chairside assisting without at the most basic, knowing the names of some of the instruments and when they are used.
     
  4. 206127

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    couldn't agree with this post more...
     
  5. Ranelar

    7+ Year Member

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    Shrug, if the dentist wants to take him on and teach him first hand, then what does it matter? It might be a clumsy/slow time, but it gets him right into the fray instead of spending time shadowing. If his being new appears unprofessional to the patient, or if his untrained work creates a problem in the procedure, then that's the doctor's concern, not vista's. If the doctor is willing to take on a newbie assistant with no shadowing experience, then I'm willing to bet that he is willing to overlook the break-in pains.
     
  6. vista909

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    Well my dentist I talked to mentioned suctioning as the only real assisting I could do. I'm not familiar at all with the instruments but eh, we don't all get good dentist. Anyway, what other assisting can one do up in the front office?
     
  7. Kach1713

    2+ Year Member

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    +1 I was a dental assistant last summer. I had shadowed at another dentist before this for about 25 hours and even that did not prepare me for this. The dentists just threw me in there and I learned as I went. I gotta admit it was REAL hard. You get into the flow though after a few weeks. But it takes a lot of hard work and tons of memorizing. I would def take the opportunity if you are given one. While it will be challenging at first, it will help out a lot in the long run.
     
  8. 206127

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    No one said he shouldn't take advantage of this opportunity, the OP should 100% take advantage of this. I think what we are saying is that it isn't going to be a walk on the park... he has to learn quite a bit...
     
  9. Ranelar

    7+ Year Member

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    I took rewJW's response to mean that because it's going to be a lot of work, he should shadow first. I was asking what does it matter if he shadowed first, considering the situation? Now, according to Kach1713 it's hard anyway, so I feel like that's even more of a reason not to spend time shadowing because you're going to feel overwhelmed no matter what. May as well save 70 hours :p
     
  10. vista909

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    Okay and so, in California, do you have to be certified to hold suction, saliva ejector, and things like that that don't involve X-ray or anything that really involves certification.
     
  11. amalgamgrillz

    Removed 2+ Year Member

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    if you dentist is willing to stick you right in the assisting chair, he/she must be expecting to go slow/be patient with you. i definitely agree with rewJW, at least know the names of all the instruments..because if you can't assume which instrument the doctor will want, no biggy- they'll just ask you for it. here's nothing more frustrating that having to wait for someone to pass you the correct one.

    But even more than that, you need to shadow other CDAs assisting the doctor and have them show you what to do - what to pass, when to pass, HOW to pass. Ask questions.

    A lot of procedures are routine, and by watching them you can get a handle for which instruments are used for what, and predicting which instrument the doctor will want/need will soon become second nature.

    good luck.
     
  12. 206127

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    Most dentists in California do not want a dental assistant that can't take x-rays, but it is possible to land a dental assisting job without any certification. What the job entails is always different, it all depends on what the dentists trusts you to do.
    There are a handful of people who just go to a dental office with no experience and get trained on the spot. At my dental office if someone comes in with no experience they start by doing sterilization and get to do more things as they prove their competence. After working in several dental offices this seems to be common practice. Below is the order of things you get to do at my dental office as you prove competence...
    1. cleaning operatories/stocking rooms/shadowing other assistants
    2. sterilization
    3. suctioning/assist dentist for simple procedures
    4. mixing cements/impression materials
    5. set up rooms pre op
    6. develop and mount x-rays
    7. assist the dentist in ALL procedures
    8. teach them how to take x-rays so they can get certified
    9. teach them more extended functions so they can become an RDA

    I'd say most people are able to do 1-7 within 2-4 weeks. To get to 8-9 you have to work at least 1 year.
     
  13. vista909

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    I think I'll be doing a whole lot of suctioning and passing the instruments. I'm just worried how all of this will look when application time comes around in a few years. I mean, I figured I could assisting during the summer while shadow during my school year. Hopefully, I can have well over 1500 documented hours. I hope this actually SHOWS my dedication to the dentistry field.
     
  14. 206127

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    1500 hours... yeah that will for sure show your dedication, honestly I think 250 hours would do the trick. Many people on here do less then 100 hours but hey if you want to do the 1500 do it! It will be a great experience, just make sure you find the right dentist to work for. The part where you wrote assist in summer and shadow during the school year, why not just assist year round. Go to the clinic less during the school year but still assist (you get a better view and you get paid).
     
  15. gomisweird

    Removed 5+ Year Member

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    Well to be honest, people can get paid but not want to list it because they have to file a separate tax form...maybe that'll screw up their financial aid or something.
     
  16. condoleezarice

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    My buddy who applied to dental school last cycle also had around that many hours. He said interviewers absolutely LOVED it. So, I think it does give a big boost. I wish I had shown that much dedication.
     
  17. GonnaDoIt

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    LLU D1 here. To the OP, I would strongly recommend NOT volunteering at all during the school year if you are not getting straight A's. I worked as a dental assistant for 3+ years, most of it during school, but I was paid and needed money to live. Adcoms I interviewed with made it clear that they look more at your GPA than how many hours experience you have. THEY DO CARE ABOUT EXPERIENCE, but after a certain number of hours (like however many you can get during a summer), they get the point that you are interested in dentistry, but they want to see a good GPA. I would say that pursuing experience gives the least return for the time you put in, unless it is spent on dental mission trips. Those are gold to adcoms. I would recommend looking for an opportunity to go on one of those. Good luck with your endeavors.
     
  18. BraceCrazy

    BraceCrazy Clinical Coordinator, RDA

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    In california, most likely you won't be able to do very much without any 1) experience, 2) certification. And, let's all be truthful, just standing and watching a dentist can be pretty boring, unless you get lucky and get a super cool dentist. You LEGALLY (although some dentists don't care) can't do anything in a patients mouth except suction. Anything else requires certification. If you want some really good dental experience, try looking for Ortho practices and specialities, these dentists usually** enjoy helping students learn. Heck, my orthodontist recuited me to work front office, then realized I'm a back office people and now for the last 4 years, I've gotten my RDA (got license at 19) and I'm Clinical Coordinator.

    If you're in the Chino Hills, Diamond Bar, Chino, Brea, Fullerton, North Orange County or South LA/San Bernandino County, I'd love to try and help you out getting soe experience, my dentist is an amazing person who loves to teach pre-dents.

    If you're in California and looking for Certifications, www.dpocservices.com offers many classes to help you out.

    I'm always open in helping ppl out.. good luck!:thumbup:
     

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