Dental Assistants are responsible for a wide variety of on-the-job tasks, with duties including everything from making patients as comfortable as possible in the dentist’s chair, to obtaining and maintaining patient records, and everything in between. As you begin your career in Dental Assisting, it is important to familiarize yourself with the various tools and equipment you will be using on a day-to-day basis.
As a Dental Assistant, you will be responsible for operating and sterilizing a range of sophisticated equipment and instruments. Many dental tools are used to keep the patient’s mouth dry and clear of debris to aid the dentist’s visibility and make the patient more comfortable. Most Dental Assistant responsibilities do not include using any invasive equipment, like drills. The most commonly used tools include the suction hose, high-volume evacuator, and air-water syringe.
Dental Assistants use the suction hose (also commonly referred to as a saliva ejector or spit-suction device) to help keep the patient’s mouth clean and dry. This instrument is typically white in color and consists of a flexible tube attached to a handle. The suction hose tool removes saliva and tooth particles that may be loosened by the dentist’s drill, improving the dentist’s visibility.
While the suction hose is used for saliva and small debris, the high-volume evacuator is a larger version of the suction hose and is used to vacuum away larger debris. This device looks similar to a suction hose, only wider. This tool is essential during oral surgery, root canals, and fillings, and prevents any pieces that are dislodged during a procedure from becoming a choking hazard.
The air-water syringe has a long, thin tube from which both air and water are expelled. The air-water syringe is used to inject small streams of water or air into the patient’s mouth to clean precise spots or to break free small pieces of a tooth.
To learn more about Dental Assisting and how you can get started in a career in oral health, contact Arizona College.