dental assistant


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

assistant

 [ah-sis´tant]
one who aids or helps another; an auxiliary.
dental assistant see dental assistant.
first assistant a physician, physician's assistant, nurse practitioner, surgical technologist, or specially trained registered professional nurse who directly assists the surgeon by handling tissue, providing exposure, using surgical instruments and equipment, suturing, and providing hemostasis.
occupational therapy assistant see occupational therapy assistant.
personal digital assistant (PDA) a small computer used to organize and easily access information; for example, clinical guidelines can be downloaded to this device.
physician assistant see physician assistant.
second assistant an individual who assists the surgeon or first assistant during an operative procedure by carrying out technical tasks such as holding retractors; this individual does not cut, clamp, or suture tissue. This role may be performed at the same time as the scrub role.
surgeon assistant (SA) see surgeon assistant.

dental

 [den´t'l]
pertaining to the teeth.
dental assistant a specially trained health care worker who provides direct support to the dentist. An educationally qualified dental assistant may be delegated to do intraoral procedures that do not require the professional skill and judgment of a dentist. Although not all states require formal education for dental assistants, minimum educational standards include a program of approximately one academic year. Dental assistants may take the Certification Examination administered by the Dental Assisting National Board and earn the title of a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). Some state boards of dentistry register dental assistants (RDA) after completion of a state-administered examination. Dental assistants may be members of their professional organization, the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), whose address is American Dental Assistants Association, 203 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60601.
dental caries a process of demineralization of tooth enamel, leading to destruction of enamel and dentin, with cavitation of the tooth. Decayed and infected teeth can be the source of other infections throughout the body, and decayed or missing teeth can interfere with proper chewing of food, leading to nutritional deficiencies or disorders of digestion. Called also tooth decay.
Causes. The causes are not completely understood, but certain facts are known. Tooth decay seems to be a disease of civilization, possibly associated with refined foods. Lack of dental cleanliness is also closely associated. Decay occurs where food and bacteria such as Lactobacillus species and Streptococcus mutans adhere to the surface of the teeth, especially in pits or crevices, and form dental plaque. It is believed that the action of the bacteria on sugars and starches creates lactic acid, which can quickly and permanently dissolve tooth enamel. The acid produced in just 20 minutes after sugar comes into contact with plaque is enough to begin this process. In most people this occurs whenever sweet foods are eaten; thus, eating of sweet or starchy foods between meals or at bedtime can be harmful to the teeth unless they are thoroughly brushed and rinsed immediately afterward. Decay that is not treated will progress through the enamel and dentin into the pulp, which contains the nerves. When it reaches the pulp, it can cause intense pain. There is no relief until the pulp dies or is removed or the tooth is extracted.
Treatment. The treatment for tooth decay consists of elimination of the pathogenic microorganisms that cause it, along with regular dental care. Enamel that has been destroyed does not grow back. The decay must be removed and the cavity filled. fillings (or restorations) may be of gold foil, baked porcelain, synthetic cements, silver amalgam, or cast gold inlays. When decay has reached the pulp, formerly extraction was usually necessary. Whenever possible, however, the exposed pulp is re-covered, or capped, and the tooth is then filled. New techniques of root canal therapy are saving many teeth that would formerly have been lost.
Prevention.
Flossing and Brushing the Teeth. Cleanliness is the best weapon against caries and periodontitis. Bacteria and food particles must be removed before the enamel is penetrated. This means thorough brushing regularly each day, preferably after every meal. If it is impossible to brush after every meal, it is helpful to rinse the mouth by swishing water vigorously back and forth between and around the teeth. When the teeth are brushed, food particles that lodge between the teeth should also be removed with dental floss.

The dental floss should be strung tightly between the two index fingers or between the bows of a floss holder. Flossing and brushing should be done in an orderly sequence so that no area is neglected. The usual pattern is beginning at the upper right, progressing to the upper left, and then from the lower left to the lower right. The floss is gently inserted between the teeth and pulled against the surface of one tooth to a point slightly under the tissue of the gum. It is then moved up and down for several strokes. The adjacent tooth is cleaned in the same manner.

The “sulcular” technique for brushing the teeth is so called because the bristles of the brush are worked beneath the free gingival margin and into the space between the tooth and the gum (the sulcus). To accomplish this the bristles are placed at a 45 degree angle to the gum line. Pressure is then used to move the brush back and forth in a circular motion. The brushing is continued around the mouth in the same pattern as the flossing.

A disclosing dye may be used to determine the presence of plaque on the teeth. Flavored mouthwash does not reduce plaque formation and is useful only to moisturize the tissues and improve mouth taste. (See also mouth care.)
Proper Diet. In order to help maintain healthy teeth, the diet should include all the essential elements of good nutrition. Tooth decay can be reduced by limiting the intake of certain forms of sugar, especially the rich or highly concentrated ones such as in candy or rich desserts.
fluoridation is another important means of preventing caries. Many communities whose water is lacking in an adequate natural supply of fluoride add the chemical to their water supply. In communities that do not have fluoridation, dental professionals may add a fluoride solution directly to the teeth or may suggest other means of obtaining fluoride protection.
Correction of Malocclusion. Another factor leading to tooth decay is malocclusion (poor position of the teeth), which results in faulty closure of the jaws and uneven meeting of the teeth. This should be corrected early because it also can lead to inadequate nutrition because of difficulty in chewing, and if it is severe enough to distort the face, it may have psychologic effects.

dental assistant

a person who aids a dentist in the performance of generalized tasks, including chairside aid, clerical work, reception, and some radiography, dental imaging, and dental laboratory work. See also certified dental assistant, expanded function dental assistant

den·tal as·sis·tant

(den'tăl ă-sis'tănt)
A person trained to provide support to a dentist with general tasks ranging from clerical work and assistance at chairside to laboratory, infection control, dental laboratory, and exposure of radiographic images.

den·tal as·sis·tant

(den'tăl ă-sis'tănt)
A person trained to provide support to a dentist with general tasks ranging from clerical work and assistance at chairside to laboratory, infection control, dental laboratory, and exposure of radiographic images.
References in periodicals archive ?
It has become evident to the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) that due to the threat of emerging communicable diseases that are potentially fatal, dental assistants, who are the infection control specialists in the oral health care setting, must have advanced knowledge of the disease process and in the prevention of disease transmission in the oral care environment.
Some dental assistants may have office duties such as scheduling appointments, handling billing and payments or ordering supplies.
The role of the dental assistant holds limitless potential with the introduction of digital technologies into the practice.
The American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) has proudly been the recognized voice of dental assisting for 90 years.
Classes at the Pediatric Dental Assistant School are taught in her state of the art pediatric dental office and the curriculum is a mixture of home study, didactic course work, with an extensive focus on clinical experience and training.
Where in the wellness center model does the Dental Assistant fit?
This above average growth rate was a major factor in the decision to bring the Dental Assistant Training program to American Career Institute's Silver Spring location.
Career Centers of Texas - Corpus Christi currently offers six diploma programs including medical assistant, medical office specialist, dental assistant, computer business systems, insurance processing and patient care assistant technician.
What Has the TDAA Done to Promote a Dental Assistant be Appointed to the State Dental Board?
DANB, which is recognized by the American Dental Association as the national certification board for dental assistants, offers not only the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) national certification exam but also the Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA) and Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA) exams.
Kaplan College - Milwaukee currently offers four allied health diploma programs including pharmacy technician, dental assistant, medical assistant and medical office management.
She too emphasized the need to be a member of the American Dental Assistants Association, of being certified and how a dentist with a highly educated dental assistant can improve the patient's experience while in the office.