When you walk into a dental office – potentially with all kinds of anxieties, apprehensions and even pain – a dental assistant may be the first person you interact with. At CHP, dental assistants offer to stay with patients throughout their appointments. They’re a consistent, friendly face to offer support, education and explanation every step of the way.
Ashley Johnson, a Certified Dental Assistant and Dental Coordinator at CHP, knows how important this role is to a dental office.
“People who come from the restaurant industry make great dental assistants because it requires a ton of multitasking,” Ashley said. “You’re the hostess, the busser, the waitress and the prep cook of the dental office – all at once.”
Dental assistants do a lot for patients, dentists and hygienists. For dental assistants, the work is fast-paced and requires dedication, but it’s also incredibly important for patients’ health. Here’s why.
For some, dental phobia is very real. Dental assistants help patients understand what’s happening at every step and help to ease their fears. Having that person to communicate with throughout your visit can help reduce stress and make it easier on you.
They room patients and often take vital signs before any dental work, which is becoming more common. At CHP, if a patient were to have high blood pressure before a dental visit, dental assistants can walk the patient to the medical clinic in the building for an appointment to address the blood pressure. Numbing solutions can raise blood pressure higher, so high blood pressure can sometimes prevent dental work and help push patients to address their broader health issue.
“At CHP, we offer blood pressure referral cards,” Ashley said. “If a patient’s blood pressure is high, they can see a provider for free to get their blood pressure checked out and open that door to potential treatment.”
At some CHP clinics, like the Bozeman clinic, dental care is offered in the same building as the pharmacy, medical clinic and behavioral health services. Patients who express concerns about their behavioral health can chat with a behavioral health consultant, without having to go far.
If swelling becomes an issue, patients can prevent a potential emergency room visit by visiting a nurse in the medical clinic who can administer medication to stop the swelling. The medical floor can fit dental patients in when time is available.
Dental assistants also keep appointments moving quickly, so the patient isn’t waiting for long periods of time. And when you need to get back to work or family, that time saved can make a big difference.
They act as a liaison between the dentist and the patient, collecting information about why the patient came in and what their concerns are. That communication helps the dentist be more efficient in their exam or procedure.
They take x-rays, prep rooms and equipment, and make sure things are moving along smoothly. And a smooth visit makes for happy and healthy patients.
Take care of your whole body at CHP clinics. To make an appointment for affordable dental care, contact the Bozeman or Livingston clinic. You’ll find caring dental assistants, and other health professionals, to help you on the road to holistic health.