The Value of Dental Assistants 

Dental Assistants play a crucial role in the field of Dentistry as integral members of the Interprofessional Health Care team. With a defined scope of practice, Dental Assistants provide essential support not only to the dental team but, most importantly, to the patients or clients they serve.

Who are Dental Assistants?

Certified Dental Assistants are highly trained oral health care professionals and vital assets in dental offices, often described as the backbone of the practice. Their extensive education enables them to deliver enhanced care while ensuring a safe environment for patients. As a result, there is a high demand for Certified Dental Assistants, making Dental Assisting a rewarding and dynamic career with abundant opportunities for growth.

Dental Assistants facilitate the work of dentists and hygienists, relying on their broad dental education, up-to-date knowledge of oral health trends through continuing education, and unique skills acquired through collaboration and experience. Membership and Certification with the ODAA (Ontario Dental Assistants Association) provide a trusted lens to practice, valued by team members and patients alike. Dental Assistants often serve as the initial point of contact, establishing the foundation of trust in the patient-provider relationship. They play a vital role in building trust, educating patients throughout their appointments, and providing comfort, compassion, and clinical excellence.

As members of the Interprofessional team, Dental Assistants collaborate closely with dentists and hygienists in developing individualized treatment plans for patients or clients. By leveraging the expertise of each team member, a dental practice can adopt best practices in oral health care, leading to optimal patient outcomes.

Dental Assisting Skills

Apart from technical skills, Dental Assistants excel in interpersonal communication. They are essential for patient communication, maintaining office organization, adhering to schedules, and implementing effective infection control guidelines to ensure patient and public safety. Dental Assistants contribute to creating a working environment that prioritizes patient care, acting as valuable members of the oral health team, ensuring cohesion, consistency, and reliability in the dental office. Moreover, by utilizing the skills of a level II Dental Assistant, dental practices can save costs.

Furthermore, Dental Assisting is a growing field with strong job security and opportunities for advancement. Continuing Membership and Certification with the ODAA provide Dental Assistants with ongoing education opportunities, leading to improved efficiencies in the workplace and personal growth.

Dental Assisting education and experience can also open doors to various career paths. Certified Dental Assistants acquire transferable knowledge and skills that enable employment opportunities in areas such as chairside assisting, public health, treatment coordination, administrative roles, clinical education, sales, insurance advising, and more.

A dental office operates most efficiently when it includes Certified Dental Assistants. They provide competent and effective assistance to dentists throughout the entire patient journey. Formally trained Dental Assistants are invaluable assets to the dental team, ensuring patient safety and contributing to the overall success of the practice. 

The Importance of Certification

In the realm of health care, it is crucial to deliver safe, competent, and evidence-based care to the public. Certified Dental Assistants with formal education and certification are essential to meeting this mandate and are a necessary requirement in all practice environments. Adopting the Interprofessional team approach to patient care, any practice that includes Certified Dental Assistants will greatly benefit from their knowledge and application of the profession's scope of practice.

The ODAA serves as the Membership and Certifying body for Dental Assistants in Ontario. To obtain the CDA II credential, Dental Assistants must graduate from an approved Dental Assisting program in Ontario, fulfill all NDAEB examination requirements, maintain ODAA membership in good standing, adhere to the ODAA Code of Ethics, and commit to ongoing continuing education. The RCDSO (Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario) recognizes a Level II Dental Assistant as someone who holds the NDAEB certificate. A Level II Dental Assistant can be directed by a dentist to perform approved intra-oral skills outlined in the Standards, Guidelines, and Resources available on the RCDSO website under Level II Intra Oral Procedures.