At most dental appointments, you will obtain care from both a dental hygienist and a dental assistant as well as your regular dentist.
Unless you are having a complex dental procedure performed, you will likely spend more of your appointment time with your dental hygienist and a dental assistant than your dentist. These two professionals provide the support dentists need to ensure each scheduled patient receives care in a timely manner. Dental hygienists and dental assistants are two very different types of caregivers with varying tasks during your appointment. In most offices, you will usually interact with both throughout your appointment with a Little Rock dentist. Understanding the tasks they each perform will help you see how your dental visit is comprehensively handled by a caring team of professionals.
Dental Assistant Preparation
If you are getting a tooth pulled or undergoing a cosmetic dental procedure, your dental assistant will usually come get you from the waiting room and set you up in the exam room by adjusting the chair and clipping on your dental bib. The dental assistant may talk to you about the reason for your visit and update your medical record with pertinent information. If required at your appointment, dental assistants will take X-rays and set up the tools for the upcoming procedure. Once your dentist enters the room to perform an exam or procedure, the assistant will remain nearby to provide tools from the tray or lend a hand when needed. After your appointment, your dental assistant may discuss oral hygiene strategies or set up follow up appointments.
Dental Hygienist Tasks
Dental hygienists perform simple exams and procedures, like regular teeth cleanings, as required to maintain your oral health. Your hygienist may check your neck for lumps, chart your dental condition, and take an X-ray at the beginning of your appointment. Hygienists perform the cleaning process by removing plaque deposits on your teeth, flossing your teeth, checking for cavities and gum disease, and applying dental sealants to your molars, if necessary. While performing these procedures, the dentist may discuss oral health care techniques you can use to reverse or prevent problematic conditions, including gum disease, cavities, and sensitivity. If you are getting a retainer or another oral device, your dental hygienist will make impressions of your teeth to send to the lab.
Throughout your appointment, your Little Rock dentist will oversee the care process and come in to check on your progress and well-being. Toward the end of your appointment, your dentist performs a thorough examination to identify problem areas and discuss your treatment options. If your hygienist needs to repeat the cleaning or scaling process on a particularly difficult to reach tooth, the dentist will notify them to come back in and finish the task at hand. Your dentist will also come in to perform fillings, root canals, and other complex procedures as needed with the help of one or more dental assistants.
Scheduling Your Dental Appointment
The tasks performed by each individual in the dentist office may overlap sometimes to ensure you always receive quality care in a timely manner. Make sure to notify the clinic if you are suffering with a toothache or other painful condition to see if any emergency appointment slots are available. The most important thing you need to do as a patient is follow your daily oral care routine and visit your Little Rock dentist for cleanings twice a year.
Do you need to schedule an appointment for a new dental treatment? Contact the best Little Rock dentists at Arkansas Family Dental by calling 501.683.8886 today.
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