A dental assistant is a dental health professional who works closely with and under the supervision of a dentist.
They work with patients by performing tasks before and after the dentist meets with the patient as well as assist the dentist during certain dental procedures.
A Level I dental assistant is classified as a “chair side” assistant, which means they prepare and seat patients. Other duties they may perform include: charting patient information, sterilizing instruments and the clinical area, preparing dental materials and cements, assisting in dental procedures, processing and mounting radiographs, pouring and trimming cast models, providing patient education and post-operative instructions as well as maintaining and ordering dental supplies.
Level II dental assistants obtain additional training in intra-oral duties, which means they are able to do everything a Level I dental assistant can do along with; dental radiography, mechanical polishing of the coronal portion of the teeth, placement and removal of rubber dams, taking of preliminary impressions of teeth for study models, topical application of anti-cariogenic agents, oral hygiene instruction with an intra-oral component, dietary counseling relative to dentistry, application of materials topically to prepare the surface of the teeth for pit and fissure sealants, application of pit and fissure sealants, application of topical anesthetics, desensitizing agents and whitening of the coronal portion of the teeth. There are also option Level II duties, which include polishing restorations and oral irrigation.
Dental Assistants across Canada are governed by different rules and regulations, which are established by the Health Professions Act and their provincial dental assisting regulatory authorities. Education and training coupled with provincial registration and licensing make dental assistants qualified to perform their trained skills.