Due to the unique skillset required of today’s dental assistants, trained professionals are highly sought after by dental offices. But what habits and skills make certain dental assistant shine above others?
If you are planning to pursue dental assistant training, or you have recently finished your program, you may be interested in learning what it is exactly that separates a good assistant from a great assistant. Read on for a list of some of the most valued dental assistant qualities.
Successful Dental Assistants are Always Proactive
Graduates of dental assistant schools recognize the importance of maintaining a proactive attitude at work. Dental assistants should always take control over both their career and life choices and be confident about the choices that they make. Having a proactive attitude means being devoted and passionate about helping patients improve their oral health. One way that a dental assistant might demonstrate a proactive attitude is by giving patients tips on how they can brush their teeth or floss more effectively.
Industry Professionals Boast Excellent Communication Skills
Communication skills are important in virtually any line of work, especially in a dental career. In a dental office setting, you will be required to communicate with dentists, patients and colleagues on a daily basis—and always do so in a friendly and kind manner. Written communication is also an integral skill to have, as dental assistants are responsible for gathering data from a patient’s visit to record onto the patient’s file. On top of this, it is important for dental assistants to know how to demonstrate sensitivity and confidentiality when speaking to a patient about their health.
Dental Experts Understand the Importance of Teamwork
The most successful dental assistants are team players. Individuals pursuing dental assistant trainingrecognize dentistry as a team environment; therefore, it’s important for dental assistants to maintain an amicable and professional relationship with everyone in the office. Dental professionals know that their focus and attention should always be on taking care of the patients’ needs before anything else. Remember to look for solutions and agreements if any conflicts should present themselves—whether it be between colleagues, or even a patient.
Great Dental Assistants Practice Self-Care
It is a known fact that we work much more effectively when we are healthy, fresh and energized. And of course, when you are working in a health-related industry such as dentistry, it is more important than ever to appear healthy before patients. This is important because patients depend on you to help them achieve optimal oral health. If you’re health is not up to par, it will be difficult for a patient to put their trust in you.
Practicing self-care and making healthy choices will also help you work with a clear mind and a positive attitude. Some ways of promoting physical, social and mental well-being include eating nutritious foods and exercising often.
A proper brushing and flossing routine is essential in order to maintain good oral health. There are so many products on the market, though, that it can sometimes be hard to know which options are the best. From dental floss, floss sticks, mouth wash, electric toothbrushes, and manual toothbrushes, the options are seemingly endless.
As a dental assistant, you’ll be able to help dentists educate their patients on how to maintain good oral hygiene. And while a top-of-the-line toothbrush might not always be necessary, many do provide helpful features that could help your future patients take better care of their teeth.
Which toothbrushes stand out from the rest? Read on to discover four top toothbrushes you can recommend to your patients.
1. Recommend the Oral-B Pro 1000 After Dental School
The Oral-B Pro 1000 is a great electric toothbrush which offers plenty of features you might love once you become a dental assistant. The first is a two-minute timer that helps your patients know how long to brush for. Most people brush their teeth for a much shorter period than they should. Fortunately, this toothbrush serves as a friendly reminder to keep going until the full two minutes are up.
Electric toothbrushes with timers can help your patients brush for the necessary amount of time
In addition to a helpful timer, the Oral-B Pro 1000 comes with a wide variety of replacement brush heads, making it easy for patients to choose the best one for their needs.
2. Grads of Dental School Will Love the Colgate 360 Toothbrush
There are limited studies available about the efficacy of electric toothbrushes compared to manual toothbrushes. In fact, most dental experts will agree that if a patient has good brushing technique, a manual toothbrush can be just as effective as an electric one. For your patients who are opposed to electric brushes or who don’t want to make a large investment, the manual Colgate 360 Degree Adult Full Head Toothbrush could be a great option.
With proper technique, manual brushes can be just as effective as electric ones
As professionals who attend dental school know, most of the bacteria in the mouth lives on the cheeks, gums, and tongue. That’s why the Colgate 360 is such a great option. With a tongue and cheek cleaner on the back side of the toothbrush, your patients will be able to thoroughly clean all areas of their mouth.
3. Recommend the Colgate Extra Clean Toothbrush After Dental Assistant School
Another great manual toothbrush your patients could consider is the Colgate Extra Clean Toothbrush. Its circular bristles are specifically designed to work with the proper circular brushing motion that professionals with dental assistant training advise their patients to practice. The bristles also have cleaning tips, which helps reach into the crevasses between teeth and brush out germs and debris. In addition, it comes with an easy-to-grip handle that provides precision while brushing.
4. Grads of Dental School Might Want to Try the Philips Sonicare 2 Series
The Philips Sonicare 2 Series is an electric toothbrush that is a top favourite among dental professionals. Like the Oral-B Pro 1000, it also features a two-minute timer to help patients brush for the proper amount of time. The Sonicare also offers a convenient rechargeable battery so that patients won’t have to replace the battery pack once the power is used up. One perk the Sonicare has over the Oral-B Pro 1000 is that it operates much more quietly. However, it is a little more expensive and has less replacement brush head options available. Fortunately, whichever option your patients choose, their teeth will be in good hands.
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring ion of the element fluorine and it can be found in food, water, and even soil. It is one of the most abundant elements on the planet’s crust, and, curiously, it has also become entangled in one of the most controversial public health debates in history.
If you are planning to enroll in dental assistant courses, read on to learn why fluoride has become the subject of intensive study, heated debate, and public education programs.
The Benefits of Fluoride are Discovered by Dental Experts
Because fluoride is so abundant, it sometimes occurs naturally in water sources. In the 1930s, dental experts conducted ground-breaking research on communities that drank naturally fluoridated water and found that they were up to two-thirds less likely to suffer from tooth decay.
This was a major breakthrough at the time. During the first half of the 20th century, dental health was not as critical as it is today and many people suffered from cavities and had to have their teeth extracted.
The problem was so bad that some official records noted that; “Failure to meet the minimum standard of having six opposing teeth was a leading cause of rejection from military service in both world wars.”
It’s no surprise, then, that when dental industry experts discovered the benefits of fluoride, they quickly began to extensively study which doses were safest and how to help as much of the population as possible.
How Fluoride Protects Teeth
Students completing dental assistant training are familiar with the oral health benefits of fluoride. In fact, dental assistants are sometimes required to apply fluoride varnishes, gels, and foams to patients’ teeth.
Fluoride benefits the teeth in two ways. First, it encourages remineralisation of the tooth enamel. This strengthens teeth and can even partially fix damaged enamel (but not once a cavity has already formed).
Secondly, fluoride prevents new damage known as demineralization. Demineralization happens when harmful bacteria turns sugar into acid that eats away at tooth enamel. Because fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel through remineralisation, it makes it less susceptible to future acid damage.
Controversy About Fluoride in Water
Because of the benefits of fluoride and the great public need for better oral health, many leading organizations in Canada and around the world recommend adding it to public drinking water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Canadian Dental Association (CDA), World Health Organization (WHO) as well as many others recommend fluoride as an effective preventative public health initiative.
As a result, many communities in Canada, and the rest of the world add fluoride to public drinking water.
However, some critics have pointed out that adding fluoride to water takes away a citizen’s right to choose whether they receive the treatment or not. They state that while they might opt for the professional application of fluoride from a dental schoolgraduate, the lack of choice that comes with a sweeping public policy feels like an infringement on their rights.
In response, professionals who have completed dental assistant programs state that adding fluoride to drinking water benefits those who may not be able to afford regular dental care. They also state that adding fluoride to water saves money for both governments and individuals who might otherwise have to pay for more expensive treatments later in life.
Do you think fluoride should be kept or removed from public drinking water?
Are you interested in becoming a dental assistant? Visit NAHB to learn more about our 26-week diploma program, or to speak with an advisor.
National Academy, one of Ontario’s most established career colleges since 1979, can offer assistance to any students negatively impacted by the recent closure.
National Academy will offer advanced standing and financial assistance to ensure that students can complete their education without additional delays. We have programs running and starting shortly in Healthcare, Business and Law.
Call us in Toronto (416 545 0404); Hamilton (905 521 9991) or Mississauga (905 273 6656).
Alternatively, visit our website (www.NAHB.ca) and fill out a Request Info form. An experienced counselor will be in touch shortly.
Please also note that we will be holding daily information sessions for former Everest students at all our locations during the week of Monday, March 2, 2015.
Come check out our campus and course offerings. Discover why National Academy has been one of the leading career colleges since 1979.
Find out how National Academy can help ensure that you complete your education without further delay.
Discover your financial solutions.
Answers to any other questions you may have. National Academy has experience with training completion so we are well positioned to help guide you.
If any of the following time slots do not fit your schedule, please call your nearest campus to schedule a one-on-one appointment.
Monday, March 2. 2:00pm-3:00pm (Mississauga, Hamilton, Toronto)
Tuesday, March 3. 2:00pm-3:00pm (Mississauga, Hamilton, Toronto)
Wednesday, March 4. 2:00pm-3:00pm (Mississauga, Hamilton, Toronto)
Thursday, March 5. 2:00pm-3:00pm (Mississauga, Hamilton, Toronto)
Friday, March 6. 2:00pm-3:00pm (Mississauga, Hamilton, Toronto)
National Academy of Health & Business (‘NAHB’), one of Canada’s leading career colleges since 1979, would like to extend its full support to any students or staff impacted by the closure of all 14 Everest College locations in Ontario.
With locations in Mississauga, Toronto and Hamilton, National Academy will offer use of its facilities including computers, printers, and career advice to any Everest students or staff.
Inquiries or appointments can be directed to each individual campus: Mississauga: 905 273 6656; Toronto: 416 545 0404; or Hamilton: 905 521 9991.
National Academy of Health & Business is registered as a private career college under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005. The college has been providing Healthcare, Dental, Business and Law Enforcement training since 1979.
Whether you plan to enroll in a dental assistant school or have already begun your studies, you will need to know the causes of and treatments for sensitive teeth. There are many reasons why patients experience teeth sensitivity, ranging from the type of food they eat to the way they sleep. Continue reading to discover some of the most common causes of sensitivity and the latest treatment methods.
The Right Toothpaste for the Job
Dental school graduates know that there are plenty of products on the market for treating sensitive teeth – and one of the most accessible is toothpaste. Pastes that contain an active ingredient called potassium nitrate are designed to sooth and prevent tooth sensitivity. Sensitivity occurs when a tooth’s enamel has been worn down and its dentin is exposed. The dentin contains tubules that run directly from the tooth’s center (where the nerves are located), and when exposed, these tubules can be stimulated by changes in temperature or specific foods (cold, sour etc.). Potassium nitrate helps treat tooth sensitivity by blocking these tubules and reducing their exposure.
Mouth Guard Protection
Students pursuing dental assistant training learn that there are various other ways that teeth can become sensitive. Bruxism, for example, is one very common source of sensitivity. Bruxism is a condition in which individuals grind, grate or clench their teeth. This typically occurs during sleep, but may also happen unconsciously during the day. One thing that is certain about bruxism is that it usually leaves teeth feeling extremely sensitive. Dental assistants know that protecting the teeth by wearing a mouth guard is one way to prevent any pressure, damage, and jaw pain.
Fluoride can be applied to the teeth to help strengthen their enamel and dentin. As a result, some of the pain and discomfort caused by sensitivity can be reduced. Treatments that contain the highest level of fluoride (and might provide the most relief) are available at a dentist’s office. A trained dental professional might apply fluoride to a patient’s teeth as a gel, foam or even a varnish. While the varnish is painted directly onto the teeth, the foam can be put into a mouth guard that is then worn for approximately five minutes. Gel fluoride can be applied either of these ways.
Sometimes prevention is the best form of treatment – and a little prevention can actually go a long way where tooth sensitivity is concerned. Dental professionals understand the dangers of exposing teeth to copious amounts of acidic foods and beverages, like fruit juice, red wine, oranges and pickles. Since acid literally attacks the enamel, dentists and dental assistants recommend limiting the intake of these foods to avoid sensitivity. In fact, acidic foods and drinks should be consumed with caution even for those who do not suffer from sensitive teeth.
Do you know any other ways to treat or prevent sensitive teeth?
Most people brush their teeth at least twice a day (if not more) and they likely establish a routine, as well as certain preferences for performing the task. People will usually grow accustomed to using a specific type of toothbrush and a certain brand of toothpaste. And while toothpaste is not something that people will typically think too much about, it might surprise many to know exactly what their favourite brand contains!
If you are planning to pursue dental assistant training, you will learn that the average toothpaste contains a wide range of ingredients – and some of these might not be entirely healthy! Read on to find out what toothpaste is actually made of, and how it affects your pearly whites.
Students enrolled in dental assistant programs understand that, contrary to popular belief, fluoride does not clean your teeth – it’s actually used for strengthening and hardening the tooth enamel.
Most toothpaste brands contain abrasives. These are the ingredients responsible for actually cleaning the teeth. Some examples of abrasives include baking soda, calcium carbonate and silica. Professionals in the industry know that toothpaste containing high levels of abrasives can actually do more harm than good, since they can weaken the enamel.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is the surfactant that is used in most toothpaste. It is a detergent that’s responsible for creating foam while brushing. Though it helps break down stains and dirt, it can also be quite tough on the teeth and can be the cause of canker sores.
Individuals who have earned their dental school diploma recognize that subjecting the human body to too much triclosan – the antibacterial agent that’s most commonly used in toothpaste – can sometimes be harmful. However, studies have shown that there is too little of it in toothpaste to cause any real harm. And since trilcosan is used to fight bacteria found in plaque, the teeth and gums actually benefit from this ingredient.
Since some other ingredients may taste pretty awful, sweeteners – like stevia, xylitol or saccharin – are used to improve and balance the flavour of toothpaste. Experts in the field will normally recommend using products that contain xylitol, because it also increases the flow of saliva and can even prevent tooth decay.
If you’ve ever wondered how most toothpastes get their colouring, anyone with a career in the dental industry can confirm that there are artificial dyes (Blue #1 and Blue #2) which are used to achieve those pretty shades of blue and green. However, if these colorants are swallowed, they can irritate the respiratory system, as well as the digestive tract. This is why most dental professionals will warn patients about swallowing too much toothpaste!
The Best Way to Use Toothpaste
The secret ingredient behind any effective toothpaste is actually the person applying it to the toothbrush. Once you’ve completed your training and have entered the workforce, you will find yourself providing patients with these helpful tips on the best uses for toothpaste:
Avoid using too much toothpaste – a dollop the size of a pea is more than enough.
Take at least two minutes (or more) to perform a thorough cleaning
Pay attention to ensure that you’ve brushed all areas of the mouth
A certified dental assistant can confirm that the brushing technique is far more important than the toothpaste that’s being used – however, it is always important to look at the ingredients when selecting (or recommending) a toothpaste, because as you now know, there are some ingredients that can be somewhat harmful.
What do you like most about your go-to toothpaste brand?
Regular exercise is generally great for you – it controls weight, helps prevent disease, improves your mood, and is a real energy booster. But, did you know that exercise could actually be bad for your teeth? Studies have shown that there is a correlation between athletic activity and poor oral health – and there are several reasons for this link! Continue reading to find out how you can maintain both the health of your body, and your teeth.
A Rising Trend amongst Athletes
Though professional athletes spend a lot of time training and working on their physique (to boost their performance in competitions), they are apparently seriously lacking where good oral health is concerned. An interesting survey at the London 2012 Olympic Games showed that 18% of athletes felt that their poor oral health had a negative effect on their performance – and, a shocking 46% of the athletes had gone an entire year without seeing their dentist.
Though there is no solid evidence that pinpoints the exact cause of this pattern among athletes, they do embrace certain habits that play a part in poor dental health. Some of these include the high intake of carbohydrates – which tend to linger on teeth and can cause decay – as well as constant dehydration. Anyone who has had dental assistant training can tell you that saliva protects your teeth from decay – so it’s easy to see how athletes (who are dehydrated regularly) are prone to poor oral health.
Sports Drinks: High in Energy and inSugar
Sports drinks are great for providing that thirst-quenching boost of energy you need to get through an athletic test of endurance. However, as students in dental assistant school know, these drinks are also extremely high in sugar, which makes them great at something else: tooth decay. While not consuming energy drinks altogether is probably an unrealistic solution for an athlete (who needs a lot of energy), opting for water instead can give teeth a much needed break. You might also try using toothpastes that are high in fluoride, and of course, brushing more often!
The Trouble with “Swimmer’s Tooth”
Some swimmers might notice that after spending a lot of time in a pool (likely filled with a wide range of chemicals) their teeth may start to discolour or stain. “Swimmers’ Calculus” refers to the reaction between the chemicals in pool water and the proteins that are found in saliva. If you swim regularly, you’ll notice that your teeth may turn slightly brown after being exposed to over six hours of chlorinated water. Of course, there is a way to keep your teeth white and continue swimming – you can try visiting your dentist at least three times a year for cleanings (or, perhaps befriend someone who has graduated from dental school).
Save a Tooth, Wear a Mouthguard
Depending on your athletic activity of preference, there is sometimes a possibility of getting hit in the face with a flying object (ball, racket, birdie etc.). So, you’ll have to find ways of taking care of those pearly whites! How? Well, simply ducking when a ball is headed towards your face is one way – however, you might not always “have your eye on the ball” so to speak, so it’s best to play it safe by wearing a mouthguard when you partake in any sport.
How do you keep your teeth in top shape when exercising?
It may be because you have an entrepreneurial spirit, or perhaps you simply want to be your own boss. Maybe the thought of using your own hands to create something that makes money is what drives you. Whatever the reason, starting your own business can be an intensely liberating experience, where you will have complete control over what happens to your own product. However, starting a business can also be very costly. That’s why it’s important to keep track of the businesses that are doing well, and learn from their success!
Online Baby Products
Many may not know that Jessica Alba is in fact the CEO of her own company. In 2012, the actress began her own line of non-toxic baby products. The company, The Honest Co., is now worth $1 billion. It seems like many others are jumping on the baby bandwagon as well, and with good reason – the products sell! Her online store even offers a monthly delivery service with packages containing diapers, and other products that busy mothers often do not have time to pick up from a store. Given that the baby product industry has had low levels of innovation historically, it is the perfect platform on which entrepreneurial business administration students could build their first start-up.
Did you know that NASA gave 22% of its federal contracts to small businesses in 2013? By definition, an independent contractor is someone who provides their goods and services under a contract. The term is normally applied to professionals who boast skills in fields like plumbing, architecture and home construction. However, graduates of dental school – as well as other medical professionals – can also become independent contractors. If you are a professional with personal support worker training, you too may decide to provide personal care under contract one day, serving individuals or working in a healthcare facility.
Health and Wellness
It was only a few years ago that yoga studios seemed to be popping up everywhere. Now companies like Lululemon Athletica have hit it big, ensuring that the yoga industry is here to stay. Today’s studios offer prenatal yoga classes, hot yoga classes and a large variety of other health and wellness options. With the “natural” health craze that has recently begun, there is no better time to start a business that offers specialized wellness products and services. This is a commercial trend that is sure to continue gaining traction over the next several years.
With all of the development going on in Canada’s major cities, there is a growing need for professionals who understand the logistics of disposing discarded materials from old homes and buildings. That’s why junk removal businesses have been cropping up left and right, and they are certainly making money. The best thing about this venture is that it has very minimal start-up costs. Really, all that is necessary is a large truck and a few strong hands – and of course excellent accounting, organizational and communications skills with which to attract clients and maintain efficient operations (something all business graduates possess). What is also great about junk removal businesses is that they almost all have a recycling mandate, which means they are environmentally friendly too – another powerful trend that is sure to dominate many industries in the years to come.
If you were to start your own business, what product or service would you focus on?